Recently, a platform of candidates announced their intentions to run for GAMA offices at the upcoming elections on Wednesday. Their slate of officers includes Don Perrin for President, Doug Ferguson (of Pokemon USA) for Vice President, and Ryan Dancey for Treasurer.
I, also, intend to run again this year. After four years on the board as an at-large director, I am stepping forward for the seat of President, left vacant by the current President who is not running for re-election.
I'm including here my platform (shared with others on the board who have graciously agreed to run again after a gruelling 12 months) and my admittedly long position statement. None of us take this decision to run again lightly.
We would like to announce our intention to run for the following positions:
Nicole Lindroos, candidate, GAMA President
John Kaufeld, candidate, GAMA Vice President
Bruce Neidlinger, candidate, GAMA Treasurer
We feel we are appropriate choices for those positions due to our previous experience with GAMA and feel that the results in 2003/2004 justify our election. We are dedicated people who work hard and this is what we will do when we are elected to the GAMA BOD. We are not including candidates for the position of Secretary as we feel that Brian Dalrymple is an excellent choice for that position.
We feel that GAMA has several important tasks that must be accomplished:
* Continue the successful administration of the GAMA Trade Show and Origins
* Continue to professionalize and improve GAMA's current staff and infrastructure
* Improve financial and member information accounting and reporting
* Increase programmatic spending
* Increase affinity programs and other direct benefits
* Increase awareness of GAMA's indirect benefits
* Increase membership on the manufacturer level to increase access to affinity programs
GENERAL POSITION STATEMENT
As we enter the mid-point of 2004, GAMA finds itself emerging from a period of growth and transition and about to enter a time of unprecedented success and stability. We have arrived at this moment because of the hard work of the game industry's volunteers, GAMA's staff and GAMA's Board of Directors. The upcoming election will be about the big choices GAMA's members have to make to secure prosperity across the board for game manufacturers and their strategic partners. The GAMA Board stands ready to meet that challenge and to build on our achievements.
For the first time, GAMA has issued an Annual Report that clearly outlines the state of the organization. From that report, we can see that GAMA is in the best shape of its history. The fiscal controls instituted over the last two years have paid off with unprecedented financial stability, allowing GAMA to increase its programmatic spending and offer more benefits to its members. New centralized offices in Columbus have strengthened our relationship with the city and improved GAMA's accessibility to vendors and our enthusiastic pool of students and volunteers. We have filled long-vacant positions, expanding GAMA's ability to communicate to its members and to the public at large. Our convention operations have provided attendees with improved programming, negotiated and secured favorable contracts with venues and vendors, and have increased both attendance and attendee satisfaction. Good programs bring people in and well-executed programming keeps them coming back.
This moment is one of possibility, but success is not guaranteed. We must remember that GAMA's achievements were accomplished only through creativity and hard work; with a willingness to innovate and imagine; and always with a commitment to GAMA's mission of promoting the general interest of all persons engaged in the buying, selling, licensing, or manufacturing of gaming products. And all of it can stall under the wrong leadership. We believe that to further the general interests of the game industry we need not abandon the course which has been set leading into these elections.
GAMA must work to retain its current staff. As a non-profit, GAMA, cannot provide rewards in terms of money and benefits in line with comparable jobs in the corporate world. People who work for non-profit organizations do so because they have a passion for the organization's mission, and extra care must be taken that trained, motivated, devoted staff members do not work in an environment where they are allowed to burn out. GAMA must continue to professionalize its staff and firm up its infrastructure. We must be diligent to maintain staffing levels so that, in turn, the staff can be tasked with realistic, achievable goals and experience an environment of success, trust, and respect. GAMA must secure appropriate benefits for its employees and reward them for their successes with appropriate bonuses, flex time, and chance for promotion.
We must continue the fiscal discipline that has been the hallmark of the past two years. This means we must continue to run Origins Game Expo and the GAMA Trade Show well and increase GAMA's discretionary budget. Now that the offices are centralized, we must finish installing our internal control and financial reporting system. We must generate more frequent reports and establish audit procedures that have been lacking throughout the association's history.
Commitment to Member Benefits
We must use our unprecedented prosperity to secure more benefits for our membership. This process has begun already with the implementation of member rebates for GAMA members exhibiting at Origins and the GAMA Trade Show, and the affinity program with Krause Publications for advertising discounts and subscription services for GAMA members. Other benefits are already in process, including a plan for outreach to local and national media outlets and enacting focused press releases for member companies, and a massive internet services revamp that will increase the look, ease of use, and general functionality of GAMA's website, mailing lists, bulletin boards, and chat rooms. We must continue to dedicate staff attention to GAMA's web presence so that it works better, costs less, and is in line with the rest of the on-line world. We must provide the membership with more opportunity to participate in key decisions and communicate with the public at large. We must institute a membership Welcome Kit that outlines the member benefits, staff contacts, and resources at each member's disposal, to be delivered immediately upon joining the organization. We will create member toolkits to help fight digital piracy, to publicize venues for product reviews and awards, and to extend a GAMA member discount from national suppliers and shippers, including Office Depot, Staples, Federal Express, UPS, Kinko's and more.
The game industry's strength lies in the creativity and innovation of its members. GAMA must do more to enhance existing alliances between publishers, retailers, wholesalers, conventioneers, and the media. We will continue expanding the breadth of GTS attendees by inviting companies that supply our business needs, including printers, designers, fixtures suppliers, and business consultants. We must strive to open new markets to gaming products in North America and around the world. Increased cooperation and trade with partners in other game, toy, and hobby industries ultimately leads to further innovations, stability, and growth in our sector. Using the position of GAMA Ambassador, we will undertake a membership drive and outreach program and increase membership and participation of all eligible companies. We will establish, train, and promote a member-focused GAMA speaker's bureau that's available to groups around the country.
To accomplish these things, we need the right tools. We need to continue on the course we've set, applying the considerable talents of our staff and volunteers to the task of addressing the challenges that we recognize before us without derailing the abundant progress and momentum that has already been achieved.
Let's hope the voting membership agrees.