August 2013

Print this page ›

July 2013

News From David Grindle, USITT Executive Director

The Journey Makes the Destination

Are we there yet?!

It is the cry of every long car ride. I would wager that most of us have a memory of thinking we would never reach that destination that some adult had condemned us to pursue in the back seat of a vehicle. And, if you, like me, were the third child, you were crammed in the middle of that seat being tormented surreptitiously by your older siblings. It only made it seem that much longer.

I ask myself that question about USITT sometimes. Are we there yet? Are we the organization that serves the members and the entertainment technology community in meaningful and effective ways?

It all depends on the statistic by which we measure. Conference attendance and membership numbers are up. The number of educational programs offered each year is higher. We are reaching out in new directions to educate people about the Institute and its benefits. So, yes.

We aren't engaging every member. We continue to hear, "I didn't know we did that!" These things tell me we have a long way to go. So, no.

The Board of Directors meets this month to continue laying out the vision, or strategic plan, for the next four or five years. That tells us where we are trying to head. This leads to a business plan that says how we intend to get there. The challenge for all of us is to remember that these two documents are plans. They aren't writ by the power of the almighty in stone on a mountain top. They are, like a Sunday afternoon drive of my childhood, a plan that is changeable as the needs and situations change.

That doesn't mean we have no intention of following through or measuring progress. But one of those very qualities we are going for is to make an Institute that is nimble and adaptable to situations, hopefully before they happen – to be proactive rather than reactive. That means making changes to that plan.

It also means being patient. Like being stuck behind a slow moving piece of farm equipment (can you tell I drove in rural New York recently?) we will get to the destination, but circumstances may slow us for a moment. That can be irritating to some, refreshing to others. But we will get there.

Our Institute is growing. Our Institute is doing exciting things. Our Institute is responding to a changing world. The ride is a long one. We will move quickly at some points and slowly at others. Both are frightening and frustrating to those along for the ride. So how do you join in the journey?

Participate in programming throughout the year. Submit ideas for activities and programs to your Section, Commission, or the National Office. Give productive feedback to those same people about what you need to grow as a professional. All of these will shape and direct the ride. Together we will get there. And what do we do when we arrive? We take a deep breath, explore, enjoy the environment, and move on to the next destination, wherever that may be.

David Grindle

We'd like to hear your comments on this story.
Please e-mail David at