New year, big changes for ASBPE

As 2014 draws to a close, I wanted to let you know about some exciting changes to ASBPE for 2015.

Mark Schlack
Mark Schlack

The biggest news is that the board of ASBPE has decided to eliminate membership dues. We felt that it’s vital more editors be able to join and participate, and so we’re making membership free. As a member, you’ll still be eligible for discounts at events and for entering awards. You’ll still be able to access all the members-only content on You just won’t have to pay a membership fee.

We’re able to do this because in recent years we’ve been able to stabilize ASBPE’s finances. Where once we were not doing well, now we are financially healthy, thanks to your participation as members, awards submitters, conference attendees, and webcast watchers. Financial stability is a good thing, but our membership has also plateaued and we want to change that.

We will continue developing new benefits and programs for members:

  • We are going to be expanding our offerings for freelancers. So many B2B editors now work on contract or are full-time freelancers, and we need to reflect that in our programming. So we will be improving the freelance directory on our website, working to add a “freelancers needed” section so staff editors can find freelancers, and exploring events like local “meet the editors” fairs to bring together staff editors looking for talent with freelancers looking for work.
  • We also will be strengthening the webcast program and working to build an archive/library of skills-oriented programming on the website. We know that many of you can’t always make it to local events and want to be able to learn online.
  • We’re working to make a B2B site for you – in other words, a site to help you do your job better, with more and easier-to-find tutorial content, as well as lively discussions of ethics and blog posts covering a wider variety of topics and perspectives.

Of course, there’s always work to be done and now is a good time to volunteer and get involved. Whatever skills and experience you bring, there are places to put them to work. Feel free to email me at if you are interested.

Another exciting announcement is that the national conference will be returning to the East Coast for the first time in several years. We are actively looking in New York City for a venue. New York and Boston are among our more active chapters, with both metro-area members urban and extending into neighboring states. We have a growing chapter in D.C. as well. Add to that active members in Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and elsewhere on the East Coast, and you can see why it makes sense for us to change up from Chicago this summer.

I also want to highlight some leadership changes in ASBPE. Tina Grady Barbaccia, who has been a very active board member and contributor to the Chicago chapter, is stepping down as vice president in favor of having a baby. I want to thank Tina for all that she’s done and wish her all the best on the family front. Stepping into the fray will be Jessica Zemler, who has been a major contributor as head of the communications committee and president of the Kansas City chapter. Carolyn Gibney has taken over her role in communications. Larissa Newton and Sam Oches, 2014 Young Leader Scholar winners, have joined the board.

Lastly, a reminder that the AZBEE Awards will open up next month – enter early and often!

Holiday wishes to everyone, and let’s make 2015 a year when we move forward together as professional editors, writers and designers.

Mark Schlack

President, ASBPE

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