First, I want to say that it has been a great honor to serve in this role and I want to thank you all for giving me the opportunity.
When I stepped into this position a year ago, I had one goal. I wanted to create a few tangible programs that would benefit APSE — and, as an extension, hopefully sports journalism as a whole — after I faded into the role of past APSE president. And with an enormous amount of help and hard work from dozens of people, I feel like I was able to accomplish that.
Most notably, shortly after my term began, Larry Graham and I had a brainstorming session on diversity initiatives and we came up with the Diversity Pledge. For anybody who doesn’t know, The Diversity Pledge is a new program that offers a free job ad on the APSE website for anyone who promises to interview at least one diverse candidate during their hiring process. They only need to have a conversation with Larry, to discuss all the great diverse candidates who are out there, to get the free ad. You know, I realize that this sounds like such a simple little program, which is why I’ve been truly amazed at the impact it has already made. First of all, we know of several candidates who were hired who, according to their sports editors or editors, had not been on the organization’s radar before it took the pledge and spoke with Larry. That in and of itself is incredible, as the main goal of this is obviously to help more diverse candidates land jobs. But that was only part of the goal. For years, when we have had job openings, most of us sports editors have naturally communicated with each other, asking for recommendations. What the Diversity Pledge has been able to do is get the names of some of the talented diverse candidates circulating like never before. That’s really big, too, and it’s been exciting to see. A huge thanks to Larry for all the hard work he put in on this program. He really took ownership of it and he is the reason it has done so well. If you can’t tell, It’s a program I’m very proud of having a part in creating and implementing during my presidency.
The same is true of the APSE Mentorship Program, which kicked off with its first class in January and has already been very positive for everyone involved. It was last summer in Atlanta that I pitched this idea to Mike Harris and asked him to lead it and he did so with extreme energy. He really took ownership of it and made it a big success and it is another program that I’m very proud of.
In February, I was able to launch a new website for the Red Smith Award — redsmithaward.com — which I think is a pretty big improvement over the old website page. What is most notable about this, though, is that a ton of people pitched in to write stories and provide content. It was a true organizational effort.
And we were able to accomplish a lot through the regular committees, including in the new Alumni Relations Committee, where Jim Jenks is preparing to launch a new scholarship soon.
So I feel like it was a really great year and I couldn’t have done it without all of you. You know, last year I thanked a ton of people in my incoming president’s speech. I can’t even begin to thank everyone who donated their time and energy to APSE in this past year because we’d be here all day. But you know who you are and please know that I sincerely appreciate your help.
So a huge thanks to all of you for allowing me to accomplish one of my goals, which was to be elected and serve as APSE president. It’s been an amazing experience.
But, honestly, I’ve spoken too long. The final day of every APSE convention — even a 1-day convention — is all about the incoming president. And that couldn’t be more true than this year, as I have the extreme honor of being part of a historic moment for this organization as I introduce our first black woman to serve in the role.
So let me hand it all over to her now, your new APSE President, Lisa Wilson.