On January 1, Accountable in Action celebrated our first birthday by continuing to inspire progress in our members. In effort to keep all of you in the loop – and, of course, to hold ourselves accountable – we’ve got some updates about our first year as an official 501c3 organization. Not all of it was butterflies and butt kicking… we had some struggles along the way. And guess what? We lived to talk about it.
This year, we created organizational bylaws and have a library of blog entries and newsletters. We were able to appoint an outstanding intern, Chapman University student Kendra Fox, who significantly increased our social media presence on Facebook (she’s the one responsible for all of our great posts each week). AinA was a special guest at an Orange County political fundraiser and the keynote speakers for an OC Public Works event. We have a fully functioning website, business cards, and even a logo that was created by graphic design superstar Nicole Santo. All of these things did not exist one year ago, and every minute our members have put into this matters.
Our blog, It’s a Movement, continually proves to be one of our greatest assets. It is growing stronger every week, with some hot blogs last year featuring interviews with the Executive Director of the Opus Community Foundation, Katie Ellis, the Executive Vice President at Opus Bank, Lindsay Lawrence, and the Public Relations Manager for Boost Mobile, Danielle Babbington. We’ve already got some exciting interviews lined up for 2014 and know you’ll enjoy learning from the strong women in our community. Is there anyone you’d like to see featured on our blog? Drop our Chief Editor, Shana Makos, an email with your suggestion and she’ll see to it.
Because of some intense involvement, we met our original goal of uniting 100 members and we exceeded that. As of this month, our organization is 103 members strong – a significant jump, considering we started the year with only the five officers on our board.
Individually, AinA’s officers went through some major changes, including attending graduate school, having a baby (one officer is doing BOTH at the same time!), and a couple of career switches and moves. As far as our members go, they’ve seen some major success, with Chloe Canta getting a job at a PR agency due to one of our mixers and Celia Huling successfully negotiating her salary during a recent job offer.
Our Accountability Ally program has also seen success, including participation by 43 members and completion of four rounds of partnerships. We learned from some struggles there and didn’t hit our original participation goals. We realized it’s sometimes difficult to hold ourselves accountable to holding other people accountable to their accountability (what a mouthful).
Accountable in Action held eight networking events this year and learned that some were more successful than others. It takes a whole lot of woman-power to generate publicity and find venues willing to host what we’re looking for in a networking event. We also learned that hosting these events doesn’t exactly work that well if we don’t have the financial stability to back them up. As it turns out, our CEO, Sarah Barton, isn’t made of money. This leads us to one of our primary goals this year: fundraising.
We’ve got our hands in the pot to create several crowdsourcing campaigns, including a IndieGoGo campaign scheduled to kick off in April. With the help of AinA friend Kate Lilly, we’ve got a promotional video scheduled to release in February.
If you know of individuals who could benefit from what AinA does, or someone who supports the cause, please have them contact Katie McKenzie, AinA’s Chief Operations Officer, for more information. Financial stability has proved to be one of the most difficult challenges we’ve had so far… any financial advisors out there willing to help us? Anyone? Bueller?
The struggles we’ve faced and the achievements we’ve gained are what keep us going. AinA wants to thank you for your participation and effort throughout this journey. As an organization, let’s stay unified by striving to live the way we lead. What do you want to see AinA accomplish this year? Don’t be afraid to let us know. Together, let’s keep inspiring progress.
Here’s to a healthy, productive, and successful 2014!