Call for Membership Chair by Jean Rath

When I set out to become a freelance editor, the imperative that I heard everywhere, so much so that it is still a constant ringing in my ears, was “network.” So I started attending National Capital Region speaker nights. When I heard they needed new board members, I could see that this was an even better way to network. Besides I had the time to give to it.

But I didn’t have endless amounts of time. So the position of membership chair was a perfect fit for me. It’s a very straightforward position, and it doesn’t demand much time.  The other benefit for me, since it’s not always easy for me to circulate a room, is that as membership chair at speaker nights the room circulates me.

The membership chair is present at the door at all eight monthly National Capital Region speaker nights, from September to November, and then from January to May. She greets the attendees, notes the number of members who attend, collects the $10.00 from non-members, and provides name tags. The NCR executive director provides her with current Editors’ Association of Canada pamphlets and advertising, which she distributes on the tables. She also places the NCR branch surveys on the tables, collects them, and later collates and reports on them.

This position can be held by two people. During my first year on the board, I had a co-chair. This allowed us to occasionally skip a speaker night when we had to. We also shared the administrative duties.

The membership chair attends board meetings (which happen at the same location as the speaker nights, two and a half hours before) and gives updates on the current membership status of the local branch. She also writes up a brief report of the details (not the substance) of the speaker nights, such as number of attendees, name of the presentation, and survey results.

At the beginning of every month, the executive director sends the membership chair a list of all the members in the NCR branch, with the new members highlighted. The membership chair emails welcome letters to these new members. The welcome letter is prewritten  and only has to have the personal details added.

During my first year on the board, my co-chair and I distributed the Editors’ Association of Canada pamphlets and advertising farther and wider than the monthly speaker nights. We both agreed that restricting this material to editors’ meetings was preaching to the choir. The whole NCR board contributed their connections and imagination to this effort. Between the bunch of us we got the material out to coffee shops, the writers festival, government buildings, and university bookstores. The new membership chair will continue to co-ordinate this group effort, ensuring that old material is replaced, and using the board members’ connections to send the material out.

I began as membership chair in September 2013. It was the only reason I got to know people at the NCR branch very quickly. This made me bold enough to actually attend the November wine and cheese (besides, I had to be there to collect money at the door), where I met a woman who runs the local branch of a women’s business network. I joined this organization, and it was through my connections there that I got my first paying freelance work. Networking is indeed a strong imperative.

I’m grateful for the years of learning and support that came from being part of the National Capital Region branch of the Editors’ Association of Canada. I enjoyed contributing to the collective energy of the NCR board, who see the value of the local branch and would like to keep it going. I would have continued doing this job, but my husband’s employer sent him to Australia, and I’ll continue to freelance from there.  I’m sure the new membership chair will enjoy this position very much.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me:

If you would like to volunteer for this position, please contact the chair or vice-chair of the National Capital Region branch:

or the executive director:

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