By Jan Feduck
Come on. We know you've got one. Send us a burning question to do with the business of travel journalism and we'll source out perspectives from a few experts who've "been there." Each issue of TMAC Travels will feature a question with witty, brilliant, interesting and insightful answers from our members.
Send your questions to Q and A editor, media member Jan Feduck, at firstname.lastname@example.org
QUESTION: As a committed volunteer for TMAC, could you share one short story about a rewarding volunteer experience that made it all worthwhile?
Sandra Phinney, freelance writer and TMAC volunteer, says:
While serving on the board a few years ago, I was involved in co-chairing the volunteer committee with Hélèna Katz, who started the ball rolling by coming out with a position paper related to recruiting, training and recognizing volunteers. At some point, we expanded by inviting members across the country to serve on the committee.
It was magical. Everyone pitched in; we had lively discussions via email; we were able to tease out the objectives, and then got on with the nitty gritty of implementing ways to recognize our volunteers. This now includes having a regular column celebrating "Unsung Heroes" in our newsletter (this issue is the first time in three years we don't have a column, but it will resume in May!), regional volunteer of the year awards presented at our AGMs, and it's also possible to claim points towards membership accreditation for volunteer service. It was hugely rewarding to work with that committee and to see concrete results.
Elizabeth Kerr, president of The Wit Corporation and vice-president (media) of TMAC's national board, says:
As a member of what is truly a wonderful and cohesive board, I have the opportunity to test many of the skills I have learned over the past 25 years, which don't get used very often today.
Although I have been in the magazine publishing business for 25-plus years, I have only been an official member of the travel-writing community for the past three or four years. Being a volunteer for TMAC has helped me forge new relationships with both my peers and industry members that I may never have had the pleasure of making, and to work with many of them on TMAC's exciting initiatives.
If you are at all intrigued by volunteering, I would highly recommend joining a committee that may interest you. It will give you some great insight into TMAC's membership and the organization itself.
Mark Stevens, freelance writer and co-president of TMAC's national board, said:
When I think about volunteering in TMAC, what comes to mind isn't so much one of those special moments when someone tells me how wonderful I am or how successful one of my initiatives has been. What comes to mind is the fact that I feel honour-bound to give back to TMAC.
I've gotten a lot out of it - from the chance to network with others to some really quirky experiences. One that comes to mind was a dinner at the Hamilton AGM when I was sitting around with a group of writers having a really intense discussion about a writing issue. Times like that - the chance to share views with so many others in what is really an isolated calling - make me grateful I'm in TMAC. How could I not volunteer?
But I'm begging the question a bit. One special moment? Lots of special moments - maybe most important and most rewarding is working with the current national board, being a part of that team of people. I can't get over how bright so many of these people are, how committed they are to the health and future of TMAC, how creative they are in coming up with solutions and initiatives and how generous they are with their time.
Jerry Grymek, account director of LMN Communications Inc. and vice-president (industry) for TMAC's national board, said:
Everybody counts in TMAC! Seeing how the members and board are supportive of each other makes volunteering more fun than work!
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