Meet the Executive Director
Carol Ritter might be new to the position of executive director, but she’s not new to RWA—or to romance! Carol joined the association in 2008, first as RWA’s professional relations manager and then as deputy executive director, after nine years as the vice president of operations at the Better Business Bureau of Houston and South Texas.
As deputy executive director, Carol oversaw member advocacy efforts, handled industry code of ethics complaints, coordinated the RITA and Golden Heart contests, scouted locations for future RWA conferences, and much more.
And Carol’s just as impressive in her personal life: She attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, and earned a bachelor of fine arts with a major concentration in painting and a dual minor in art history and photography.
She has fostered and adopted too many animals to count, all while having a busy career, being a wife, and raising her three daughters. Now that her daughters are grown, she enjoys spoiling her granddaughter—and then handing her back to her mother.
We chatted with Carol about romance novels (of course) and what she envisions for RWA’s future.
How long have you read romance? Do you remember your first romance?
Before romance, I read Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Betsy-Tacy, Benny Malone, and Donna Parker. I was always rooting for Trixie and Jim to get together!
But my first exposure to romance novels was due to my Aunt Bess. My family took long car trips from Texas to Michigan and Canada to visit my mom’s family, and Aunt Bess would sit in the back and referee fights between my sister and me. On one trip when I was twelve, she handed us Harlequin Romance novels and told us to read—and I was hooked. Betty Neels remains a favorite to this day.
What are your current favorite romances?
Historical romance and Harlequin Presents.
What does romance mean to you?
Losing myself in a romance brings comfort when the outside world is hectic and stressful.
Why is RWA and its mission so important?
Our genre is the genre of hope, and RWA is here to help our members succeed in bringing that hope to the world. It’s a joy to be part of the process.
What are you most excited about going forward?
I’m thrilled to be able to continue serving our members and making our organization the place where romance writers come for community, advocacy, and education. I’m especially excited to begin my new role with a Board that is as enthusiastic and full of big ideas as our current one. The future of RWA is bright, and I can’t wait to see what’s to come.