A Message from RWA Interim Executive Director Leslie Scantlebury

Delivered to members February 13, 2020

Dear RWA Members,

I wanted to reach out to everyone as we begin the transition to new RWA leadership. I’d like to start off by saying thank you to the members of the Board of Directors that resigned on February 12. I know that they worked incredibly hard to serve the organization. They resigned so that we could move forward. So, how do we do that?

First, after extensive research, we have engaged Michelle Silverthorn of Inclusion Nation as our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) consultant. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Michigan Law School, Michelle works with companies, schools, and nonprofits across the country to create inclusive spaces centered on equity. If you'd like to learn more about Michelle and her work with RWA, you can view the full announcement here.  

Next, RWA will conduct a special election beginning on March 13. All Board positions will be on the ballot. We encourage any qualified members interested in helping to shape the association as we move forward to run. If you know of a member that recently canceled their membership but may now be interested in running for the Board, I would love to chat with them. You can learn more about the Elections process here. Email elections@rwa.org with questions.

Finally, we need to embrace a new vision for RWA. A member asked me recently, “What does RWA 2.0 look like? There’s been so much talk about change but no one has ever put into words what it is.”  I’ve been trying to come up with an answer, a grand, audacious vision of how I see RWA 2.0, but I always come back to this—I see RWA 2.0 as an inclusive and equitable association that supports authors of romance fiction in their career. A simple vision, but one that hasn’t been true for many of our members. My goal for RWA 2.0 is that it will be.

RWA is not rebuilding. We’re starting from scratch to build an organization where our members feel safe and supported. This requires cultural and systemic change. To create this change, we need a strong Board in place to set the strategic direction of the organization. We need members on committees to help move us in that direction. We need to strengthen our relationships with our chapters and the support we offer them. And that’s just a beginning. 

Right now, the staff and I are working to fill the slate of candidates so members can vote for the people they want to lead us into RWA 2.0. We are here for anyone who has suggestions, questions, or concerns. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. 

Leslie Scantlebury, Interim Executive Director
Romance Writers of America