Who We Are 2009
In January of 2009, the new slate of officers took the reins. Also, Robin Miller officially began as Conference Director, relieving the board president of many duties directly related to organizing the National Conference.
Camy Tang would again coordinate the Genesis Contest and Ronie Kendig continued as coordinator for Book of the Year.
In early 2009, the Scholarship Program was announced and an unprecedented 57 applications were received. ACFW was able to offer six full conference scholarships. In addition, Cec Murphey provided funds for three additional full scholarships through his foundation.
In March 2009, Operating Board members and three Advisory Board members traveled to the Marriott Tech Center Hotel in Denver for their spring meetings. During that time, they were able to inspect the hotel site for the 2009 conference.
In April 2009, Cheryl Wyatt resigned her position as Vice President. The Advisory Board asked Becky Yauger to assume the Vice Presidential duties and complete that term of office through 2010. Former Operating Board member, Cara Putman, was appointed to take over the Membership Officer responsibilities to fulfill that term which would end 12/31/09.
In April, the ACFW Scholarship Foundation was granted 501 (c)(3) status, allowing all contributions to the scholarship fund to be fully tax deductible.
Registration for the 2009 National Conference opened in May. With an all-day early bird workshop under Donald Maass on Wednesday, a record number of early registrants planned to come to Denver the day before conference. In spite of the economic downturn across the country, and many other conferences struggling to break even, ACFW was able to again see conference growth and success.
In June, the ACFW crit group program was revamped to better accommodate the growing number of people wanting a critique group experience. The smaller ACFW critique groups already in existence would not need to change, but anyone wanting a crit group would now go into one large group after a two-day orientation program called Crit Starters. Ane Mulligan headed up Crit Starters and Faye Lamb and Leigh DeLozier agreed to coordinate the larger group, ACFW Scribes. As people get to know each other on the large group, the intention is that smaller groups will organically form and splinter off.
On September 17, 2009, the ACFW National Conference opened at the Marriott Tech Center in Denver Colorado. Noted New York Literary Agent and author of The Breakout Novel Donald Maas gave a daylong early bird seminar based on his Breakout workbook. Then on Thursday night, the first official night of conference, keynoter Debbie Macomber gave her first address that challenged everyone to set goals for themselves and work to achieve them.
On Friday afternoon President Cynthia Ruchti gave her state of ACFW address. Her words included the announcement of a new database software program that has been in development since early 2009 called FictionFinder.com. After authors and publishers upload all pertinent information about their books, readers and writers will be able to search the FictionFinder database to find recent titles by their favorite authors, or find authors who write similarly to their favorites. They will also be able to locate past published books of authors they enjoy. The program is still in development, but authors and publishers can start submitting their titles and bio information. Full rollout will take place in early 2010.
Friday and Saturday, conferees attended continuing classes, workshops and many met with agents and editors. Saturday evening the Awards Banquet honored the following winners:
Mentor of the Year: Donita K. Paul
Editor of the Year: Ami McConnell, Thomas Nelson Publishers
Agent of the Year: Steve Laube
ACFW Member Service Award: John B. Olson
In October 2009, Melanie Dobson stepped down as coordinator of the ACFW Book Club, and Nora St. Laurent, an assistant coordinator, agreed to take over the coordination.
During the last half of October, nominations for the Operating Board positions of Secretary, Membership Officer and Treasurer were opened. The slate of officers for 2010 are:
President – Cynthia Ruchti
Vice President – Becky Yauger
Secretary – Danica Favorite-McDonald
Membership Officer – Sharon Lavy
Treasurer – Vickie McDonough
Publicity Officer – Angie Breidenbach
Zone Officer – Ane Mulligan
Volunteer Officer – Margaret Daley