Ensuring the Continuation of CAA Programming and Advocacy

24 Feb 2017 3:38 PM | Gretchen Neidhardt

In an ongoing series during CAA Steering Committee Election time, we hear from longtime Steering Committee member Andy Steadham.

When I joined the Steering Committee in 2011, Chicago Area Archivists was re-emerging from a lull in CAA activity. The year before, most Steering members had been involved with planning, hosting, and otherwise supporting the Midwest Archives Conference annual meeting – which didn't leave much time for planning CAA programs. This new Steering was committed to resuscitating CAA by bringing in additional help in the form of subcommittees to organize social events, program professional development opportunities, and develop news ways to reach out to members, potential members, and the general public.

Today, as we look forward to bringing the Midwest Archives Conference back to Chicago in 2018, CAA remains as active as ever. There will be no lull this time.

That's what serving on the Steering Committee is about: ensuring the sustainability of an organization by creating systems to keep it moving forward. In my three terms on Steering, the committee has worked on lots of projects like this, including:

  • establishing online member voting
  • publishing a manual for subcommittees
  • creating written procedures outlining the responsibilities of Steering Officers (Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer)
  • migrating the CAA website to a more robust system for tracking membership and receiving online payments
  • creating a Communication Manager role overseeing both internal and external communications channels
  • establishing a records management policy and stewarding the Chicago Area Archivists Records (because if we can't organize our archives, who can?)

All of that sounds like a lot of work, but keep in mind this happened over six years! Steering terms are only two years, so you can decide for yourself how much time to commit.

Working with my peers on Steering has been a great opportunity for me to learn about what keeps an organization like this going. It's also been a great way to meet and work alongside other fantastic Chicago archives professionals.

Maybe it's time for you to step up and think about how you can keep this organization you value sustainable. I hope you'll consider volunteering to serve on the CAA Steering Committee.

The deadline for volunteering for the Steering Committee is Thursday, March 16. Feel free to contact Andy or other Steering Committee Members with questions.

(Photograph Courtesy of American Medical Association Archives)

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