Our annual meeting is coming up soon (on October 23rd, 4pm, here at 850 Euclid), and we'd like you to be here for it. Why? Because we like you. And also because you're the reason why we do what we do. And although we do over a hundred programs a year for the benefit of the community and the wonderful people in it, we don't get much of a chance to take a look at what we're doing and where we're headed. Also, you should know that this year, we're doing the annual meeting now, not in December (so there won't be a holiday open house).
But seriously, there are some strong reasons to join us. For starters, we've got an amazing new book we want to share with the world. It tells the story of our first hundred years in a remarkable extended essay by historian Carol Poh. I've read it half a dozen times by now, in the course of preparing the manuscript for publication, and really, it's just great. What makes it even better than just a good read is that it also has in depth profiles of some of the great forums in the last 25 years of that century, and it was designed by Tom Barnard, who does some incredible work at the Cleveland Museum of Art (and happens to have a not-so-secret identity in the St. Baldrick's world). We'll be launching the book, Carol will be signing copies, and you can get your hands on a volume yourself.
Longtime members and savvy marketing types have probably recognized some serious brand experimentation we've been engaged in. Our friends at Falls Communications and Level 7 have done some incredible work over the last year (this gleaming new website, for instance), and we've got some new treats to share with the community. Like my learned colleague Stephanie says, "We're cool and hip! So come check us out!"
There are lots of people to meet. If you've been to a forum recently, you've probably heard me encourage people to make sure they've met everyone at their table. That's one of the reasons we're here--to provide a place for you to connect with other people who care deeply about the community. So come to the meeting, have a beer and have a spirited discussion with someone you don't know. Also, there's a pretty good chance you haven't met some of our new staff members, and they can talk to you about how to get involved in helping us make this civic magic happen.
Finally, there's a lot of great news to share. You may have gotten the invitation in the mail, so you know: 113 programs last year, more than 18,000 audience members, and there's a ton of good news to share--our program diversity is improving, our audience engagement is growing, and our finances are in great shape.
Seriously, I can't wait to tell you about it (and show you the awesome book!). See you on the 23rd!