Inside: Unique Association Pros, A New Perspective on Media

Associations Now editors share behind-the-scenes perspectives on the work that went into bringing you this month's issue.

One of the pleasures of working at Associations Now is the opportunity to "meet" people in our stories that I otherwise probably never would have known. This month, we have some fascinating association professionals to introduce you to.

You'll meet Virginia Jacko, CEO of the Miami Lighthouse. Virginia is actually one of the very few blind CEOs in the United States, but she came to her role at the Lighthouse after a career with many twists and turns. As a stay-at-home mother, she took a part-time job at Purdue University, eventually rising through the ranks to a high-level position in the university's finance department. It was only then that she began to lose her sight.

After several years, she decided to take a three-month course at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind to help her learn how to manage her vision loss; eventually she left Purdue altogether, becoming a Lighthouse board member, then its treasurer, and then president and CEO. You can learn more about Virginia's journey and the leadership lessons it's taught her in "Transformative Leadership at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind."

Would you give out your personal cell phone number to your entire membership? If members started calling at 5 a.m., would you answer? Holly Carson at the Community Associations Institute has, and she thinks her constant availability benefits both her and her members. You can hear more about Holly and how she builds relationships with her members in "Powerful Service, One Customer at a Time."

And don't miss our February cover story, which will introduce you to a whole group of interesting people at the ABA Journal. Their team of editors went on a road trip to interview "legal rebels" around the country and documented the entire experience in real time through video and social media channels. In the end, they served their association's mission—and helped the bottom line as well. For the full scoop, read "Build Multimedia Into Your Publication's Strategy."

—Lisa Junker, CAE, editor-in-chief, [email protected]

When I started working on my story on ABA Journal's efforts to build multimedia into nearly everything it produced for its Legal Rebels project, I could tell how hard the staff was working just by looking at the website. Old-fashioned written and reported articles were the core of Legal Rebels, but those pieces were boosted by judicious use of podcasts, video, chats—even a road-trip-themed soundtrack streaming on the tour site.

But I didn't really get a sense of how much these efforts had become a reflex among the staff until I started doing phone interviews. I'd start with my usual brief patter about the story I was working on and what I hoped to cover in the interview, and then ask for permission to record our conversation. More than one ABA Journal staffer immediately asked how I intended to use the recording. They weren't being defensive or legalistic (despite the nature of their employer)—they just wanted to know if I would be using the recording for a podcast on our site.

I came to admire that instinct among the staff, which now thinks of every photo as slideshow fodder and every conversation as a potential podcast, video, or Twitter chat. As Rachel Zahorsky put it to me: "Once you get past that first learning curve hump it gets much easier, and now it just comes naturally. You know, a story that's just a story—that's copy. I'm already thinking, 'Really? Is that it? Can we do more?'"

—Mark Athitakis, senior editor, [email protected]