I’m Mike Ritter, and my 6 year tenure as ASMP New England president will come to an end in January of 2021 when Kelly Davidson replaces me as chapter president. I’ve seen a lot of good things in my time leading the chapter, but I’m excited to see what comes next both locally and nationally. Kelly’s already proving to have more foresight than me in key areas. She has lined up fellow Communications board member Emily Long to take over for her in a year’s time. Kelly was a photographer I looked up to as I started my career fifteen years ago and a good friend for many years now. She loves photography and community, which are the two most important attributes for any ASMP board member. The programs she’s organized have been fresh and well attended such as Women in Photography. She also seems to know everyone and has a knack for getting new board members to join so watch out.
The New England chapter has been fortunate to have one of the largest and most committed boards in the country. Because of that and our active membership, we’ve been able to provide terrific programming over the years including business know how, photo inspiration, portfolio reviews, and socials. We, along with ASMP CT, put together the most impressive chapter programming since I’ve been a member with our Looking to the Future conference scheduled for April in Providence. Well, we all know what happened. I’m happy to report we moved the conference online successfully and rolled it out over this fall as successful programming nationwide.
I will move to Outreach with a focus on diversifying our chapter and connecting with schools. I look forward to this new work and know I’ll have support at the chapter and national level from the newly formed Advisory Council for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Helping diversify ASMP at all levels so that it can be an effective advocate for racial equity in the photo industry is my next goal. Just like ASMP has shed its old boys club reputation, I feel it can also grow to reflect the diversity which exists in the photo industry here in New England and throughout the country.
I’d like to close with what this year has taught me about ASMP and myself. Being a member and eventually a board member was always important to me. I knew none of us can do it all alone in this often solitary profession and life. We needed one another. COVID19 confirmed these beliefs and deepened them even more. While in the confusion of the beginning of the pandemic, ASMP gave me better advice on navigating aid programs like PPP, EIDL, and PUA than I was getting from the government agencies running these programs. Then, in the summer, ASMP rolled out its Health + Safety Guide for COVID-19 and in the fall its Business + Legal Guide for COVID-19. I was in awe watching ASMP National punch way above its weight in the support it gave its members. Executive Director Tom Kennedy led the way and passed the reins over to the very capable Jim Datri this fall. Throughout all the online Town Hall meetings, general counsel Tom Maddrey proved himself utterly essential to ASMP and its members. As members, our dues and the incredible work from ASMP National’s board made all this possible – what a worthy and necessary investment we all made in one another.
2020 and the pandemic have made visceral what was previously only a general belief for me: we must focus on our little corner in life and create the changes we want to see at a grand scale. Through ASMP, I have been able to do my part in the photo industry and you can too whether that’s by serving alongside Kelly, myself, and the other board members or simply joining ASMP to add to its collective force. Stay safe through these next few months and keep creating. We’ll look for you at our remote programs and can’t wait to host them in person again after all this time. It’s been an honor serving as the ASMP New England president — Mike, ASMP Outreach Chair