ALA faces an interesting paradox--a financial balance sheet that reflects the value ALA brings to society in general and the profession in particular. But also annual budgets that reflect the after-effects of financial crisis, de-professionalization from outside forces, and an organizational structure that is rooted in 19th and 20th century governance models, instead of the 21st century focus of dedicated, hard-working professionals.
If ALA can successfully leverage its balance sheet to make investments in Development, Information Technology, and Advocacy--the heart, body, and soul of the organization--then it can assure not only its short-term relevance, but also its long-term viability. ALA should embrace a transparent realism in its financial planning, reporting, and prognostication. I have several years of managing budgets, but also in managing complex profit & loss planning and financial position statements. Moreover, my experience as a Divisional President, ALA Councilor, ALA Executive Board Member, and member of the Finance & Audit Committee have prepared me well. I hope to bring all of my expertise and experience to the role of ALA Treasurer.
My predecessors in the role of ALA Treasurer have taken huge strides in making the financial workings of the organization more transparent—from annual budgets and long-term balance sheets, to the role of Endowment Trustees and relationships with Divisions, Chapters, Round Tables, and Affiliates. I want to continue that transparency and continue to make ALA finances more accessible to the membership. Members can expect an open mind, direct communication, and candor.
My career and volunteer experience have afforded me more financial experience than the average librarian. At OCLC, I’ve managed revenue budgets as high as $30M. As a LITA member, I consulted with the LITA Board regarding their financial future and helped create their Budget Review Committee, serving as its first chair. In my personal life, I serve on my church Foundation, which manages planned giving and large gifts. I was also a founding member of and adviser to the ALA 1876 Club, launched by ALA's Development Office in 2017. Managing finances requires a level of trust that I have worked hard to earn in my professional and personal life.
ALA membership, governance, finances, staff work spaces, and conferences are in a state of major transformation. As an Executive Board member, I’ve been a key player in major strategic discussions and the financial impact that comes with them. As a member of the Finance & Audit committee, I have worked closely with the current ALA Treasurer and ALA Finance staff to ensure that budgets and balance sheets are aligned with organizational strategy and aren’t simply numbers on a page. While ALA invests in its future, it’s important to have a leader with an eye toward fiscal responsibility as well as wise investment. As Treasurer, I will work hard to ensure that ALA’s strategic directions are never compromised.