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Most Needed Resource? Time - 1/16/2014 -

By Carla Kalogeridis

Kathleen Rakestraw is director of communications for the American School Counselor Association in Alexandria, Va. After years of running a successful freelance writing business, Rakestraw recently accepted a full-time position with ASCA, a long-time client. Rakestraw also served as president of Association Media & Publishing’s board of directors from 2008-2009.

Sidebar: What tops your list of goals for 2014, and what new resources will you need to get there?

Rakestraw: My biggest goal for 2014 is to get a solid handle on our book publishing operations. A handful of our books are available digitally, some on only one platform, some on multiple platforms. I'd like to examine how we're offering all those, what type of download numbers we're getting on the various platforms, and make an informed decision for both our current books and new books about what works best for our members.

As for resources, mostly I just need time. We're a small staff and the "hat-to-head ratio is high," as I heard a colleague say recently. It can be difficult sometimes to be proactive rather than reactive in the association world.

Sidebar: What's the best thing and the worst thing about being an association media freelance professional?

Rakestraw: As of Jan. 1, 2014, I've been hired on full-time with the American School Counselor Association, so I'm no longer an association media freelance professional. However, the best thing about being a freelance professional was always the flexibility. I could work when and where I wanted. Of course, that was the worst thing about being a freelancer as well—I found myself working at least a little bit every single day. Totally "turning off" was rare, even on vacations.

Sidebar: What's the best piece of association publishing-related advice you have for your fellow AM&P members as we dive into the New Year?

Rakestraw: Remember to leave time for yourself. It can be so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, the conference planning, the never-ending deadlines, the ever-changing technology. It's important to remember you need time for yourself as well. With limited budgets at many nonprofits and staffs that are stretched oh-so-thin, it can be easy to get caught up in the "all hands on deck/just get it done" mentality. Don't forget to plan getaway weekends or nights out with friends or time to read a good book (that's not related to your industry) or time with your family.

Carla Kalogeridis is editorial director of Association Media & Publishing. If you’d like to be interviewed for Sidebar — or know of someone else who may have something interesting to say — send us your suggestion.


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