1 of my favorite aspects of doing what I do is meeting new talent in Children’s TV who are as passionate, excited & as invested in this area. Years back, the coordinators at Nickelodeon would meet up & talk about what each of us do in our respective areas. It was an exhilarating time (pre-internet!) for us to share info, our career aspirations & to have a cheering squad that helped us succeed. I’m happy to report that 15 years later we are all in integral roles at the major kids networks or producing & creating our own content, still cheering each other on.
Today, The Children’s Media Association (previously known as Women In Children’s Media) is the REAL DEAL! An organization dedicated to professionals in children’s media with events, networking & access to the leaders in this area. I would have loved to have that when I was starting out! The President of CMA, Sarah Wallendjack, is also my incredible Producer for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Super Why!
I asked Sarah a few questions about the new CMA, as well as her role as President:
AS: Congratulations on your success, Sarah! How do you find the time to do it all?
SW: When you are passionate about something, you seem to find the time. I am pretty lucky that I am fueled by both my day job AND this organization. Although I admit that I sometimes run on fumes, I have learned how to manage my time differently as a result of this position.
Why the need to change the name from WICM to CMA?
It was never our intention to be exclusive & we found that men were sheepish about attending our events. Women are not the minority in this industry & the name change has allowed us to broaden our reach & expand. It is our goal to connect all professionals in research, licensing, publishing, marketing, theater, television, digital, & music that are making the best quality content for children.
What is different about CMA from other organizations?
There are many great organizations that provide resources for professionals in media, but we focus specifically on Children’s Media. We take a fun & youthful approach to our events where you can connect with others in the industry, gain knowledge & collaborate. I don’t know any other organization that have you playing with puppets 1 night, rocking out to kindie music another & discussing the merits of the latest potty app with your peers.
What is coming up that you are most excited about?
We are in the process of expanding our website to become a larger resource for members. We have been collecting content from experts in the field to keep members abreast of the latest research & trends. This will give members who are unable to attend an event the opportunity to stay connected. This new section of the website will also provide members with the opportunity to connect.
Oh, & the holiday party. We throw a super fun holiday party – save the date – December 6th
Do you have any success stories of people getting jobs, starting projects or meeting new people because of CMA?
SO MANY! Our job board is an amazing resource and has been connecting members with fulfilling job opportunities. I am constantly hearing about people finding jobs through CMA. We challenged 1 of our members to attend all the events in 2011 & blog about it. He wanted to get a job in children’s media & by the holiday party that year, had accepted a position at Nick. He is now writing scripts for 1 of their pre-school properties & couldn’t be happier.
Who would be the most exciting person you could get for a CMA event? Besides you..of course?
There are some really influential authors I would love to meet. I would love to sit down with Judy Blume, Mo Willems, or JK Rowling.
As President, what do you hope for CMA in the future?
I hope the organization will continue to grow & expand into other cities. I find such value in this network & take full advantage of the networking & professional development opportunities. It is a small world, & I think we become stronger by being able to learn from each other & share ideas.
How many members do you have & what is the cost of membership?
220 & growing. Membership is $150 annually, but we are offering our VERY LAST membership discount ever before we introduce an initiation fee structure. With the code CMACONNECT, new members can join for a 20% discount. This offer is only valid through October 31st, so NOW is the time to join.