MCAI is Changing and Growing

In its 40 years of existence MCAI has undergone many changes-not the least of which was transforming itself from the original ITVA. Now MCAI is going through another period of renewal—one that is refocusing the organization to serve members and chapters better than ever before. Big improvements are in the works...

The first transformation came in the late 1990s as the era of big corporate video departments came to an end. Some still remember the glory days of ITVA when corporate budgets paid for dues and travel. Most of us recognize that those days are long gone and the great majority of members are now freelancers or independent contractors running their own small businesses

While the membership rolls may have shrunk, the organization has expanded to include newer disciplines such as web design and internet services. Yep, It's no longer just about video. It's about all media-including stuff that didn't even exist when the old ITVA was around, like mobile! Thus the name change to Media Communications Association International (MCAI.)

The latest organizational revolution began last year as the result of a money-losing national ProTrack Conference held right here in Anaheim. The all-volunteer members of the international organization (IO) Board of Directors and our volunteer corporate Officers saw that to stay viable MCAI needed to make some major changes. Starting in January of 2009 a number of working committees were formed to examine, explore and make specific recommendations to renew MCAI economically, redirect it to serve members and chapters better and to grow the organization in prestige.

For the past nine months, many of your fellow MCAI members from around the country have been working as volunteers on projects such as revamping and increasing member benefits; exploring ways chapters can use our new (first Quarter 2009) tax status as a 501c3 charity to raise money and sponsor projects that will bring members work; turning the IO website into an interactive, international communications hub; investigating the practicality of lowering dues and increasing chapter rebates; restructuring the Board of Directors to give chapters more direct input into IO decisions; addressing the need for/issue of associate membership; making our organization more open and web-centric; creating a virtual chapter and representation for members around the country who don't have a physical chapter nearby; and much more!

As you can see, a lot of members have been working hard to regenerate MCAI into an organization that not only serves you and supports our 27 chapters better, but also gives your membership increased industry prestige.

Many of these recommendations will be put before your chapter leaders this fall for feedback and a vote, specifically at our annual Leadership Conference. It takes place in Kansas City on October 9th and 10th. From the LA/OC chapter, our secretary, Mark Alexander, will be attending. He'll be joined by John Coleman who serves on the IO Board.

Remember that MCAI is truly a member-run association. As such it can only be successful when members participate with ideas, advice and their time-both on the local chapter and the IO levels.  Remember too that we are a truly international organization with over 25 chapters in the US and members in Canada, New Zealand and Germany. In fact one of the fastest growing segments of membership is online members who are not affiliated with any chapter. Also consider that chapters need to be given enough latitude to adapt to the needs of their particular market. So there are lots of varied opinions and regional needs that must be incorporated into any organization-wide changes.

As some wag once observed, democracy can be messy. But the importance of being a multi-chapter association means more than the convenience of filing one common tax report every year. It means strength in numbers and ideas. It means that together we can qualify for a 501c3 tax status, which will have major ramifications for us. It means more people helping each other.

Some renewal has already begun. The Benefits Committee has already started updating and expanding the list of professional business and production benefits. Check them out at http://www.mca-i.org/en/cms/?1670 and http://www.mca-i.org/en/cms/?1580 And the IO website www.mcai-oc.org is a work in progress. In early 2010 you will start to see other changes implemented-changes that will make the organization stronger, more responsive and valuable to you.

But one thing won't change: that's YOU! The organization needs you to support it, promote it, work it. Remember MCAI is an ASSOCIATION of people: people who have a mutual interest in helping each other regardless of location (worldwide) or job category; people who use the association for continuing education and as a forum for issues of interest to the media community, people who work to improve and maintain the organizations' prestige for mutual benefit. By participating, YOU can help MCAI change and grow.

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