May 26, 2020
Amber Shaverdi Huston
NACA Executive Director
Just as higher education institutions are uncertain what their fall semesters will look like and are contingency planning, we are actively monitoring the ongoing situation and contingency planning. We know the risks are high as no one in our community has been immune to the financial or emotional reach of the pandemic and businesses, careers, and livelihoods are at stake. The pandemic has created a puzzle out of the future for the Association's in-person events, but we are working feverishly to identify and gather all the pieces to assemble the best picture we can as quickly as we can. It's our sincere hope that NACA will be able to host live in-person events this fall. But, if it is not safe to gather in person in the six cities hosting our fall conferences, the Association will find alternative ways to bring school and associate members together. This is a process, the puzzles pieces are changing daily, and although we don't have a clear picture to frame, yet, every week more and more pieces are coming together.
While our in-person programs are an amazing aspect of NACA, they are not the only feature of the Association and we will continue working to enhance member offerings regardless of the future of in-person events this year. We are continuing to develop resources to navigate members through new territories. Our curriculum is continuing to adapt to the climate. Our programs and services are responding to member needs. For example, we have heard a need from associate members to develop more community with one another, so we will be developing cohorts for associate members to learn and grow together: a cohort for the self-rep artists to talk about how they balance their creative work with running their own businesses, a cohort for new agents to share how to navigate working for an agency and representing your artist to the best of your ability, and a cohort for agency owners to discuss how to navigate the financial challenges, personnel, and talent management. Our aim is to strengthen our community by continuing to offer spaces for members to grow professionally and personally.
NACA is an Association of people, connections, relationships, and community. We are the leaders of entertainment, education, and engagement. We have the best volunteers in higher education. We have the best associates in the entertainment business – people you can trust to truly care about creating campus communities that foster student engagement, persistence, and belonging. NACA's founding goal was to bring people together to solve mutual problems. While we evolve and flow with the times, our original purpose very much rings true as we rise to this challenge. We are all in this together, making the most difficult decisions of our careers and sacrificing a lot, personally and professionally. While may need to live in some ambiguity today, we do so knowing that NACA will be in a better position tomorrow when we have more puzzle pieces available to see the bigger picture.
Amber Shaverdi Huston, CAE is the executive director of the National Association for Campus Activities. Shaverdi Huston has over a decade of association management experience focusing on transforming operations and people through project management, process design, strategy and assessment.