President’s Message: Finding the words

© Gregory Daniel Portraits and Kyla Renee Paintings

A picture is worth a thousand words, as we all know. This well-used phrase is why I chose to be a photographer and not a writer.

This, my final letter to you as president of PPA, has me searching for the right words to express my gratitude for the opportunity to serve you in this role for the past year. I can start by mentioning the travel and all the beautiful places I was able to visit as president. I am especially fortunate to have met so many photographers from across this country and around the world. Cultures in Russia, Japan, and Norway, though unique and different from mine, also had many similarities for me to discover. Everywhere I went, photographers were working hard to improve their craft, their artistry, and their business to bring out their personal best. They work diligently to support their families, and they recognize the value of professionalism. Associations, similarly, are seeking to help their members any way they can to achieve success.

I cherish the time I spent visiting so many of our state affiliates and wish I could have gone to even more. The overlapping events and conventions prevent any one Board member from accepting every invitation. An unexpected treat for me was learning that many of our state affiliates have unique cultures. The way they run their events and competitions, as well as their educational programming, are sometimes very different. I see the passion and perseverance among the leaders of these associations and the constant push to create an inviting atmosphere for new members. I am thankful for the warm welcome I received everywhere I visited. I treasure the friends I have gained and the awards I have been honored to give while visiting.

It has been my honor and privilege to work with our Board of Directors, PPA staff, committees, and Council. It takes all of these groups to keep PPA the absolute best place for professional photographers to get educated and be inspired to reach new levels of success.

The staff at PPA is without a doubt an inspired, motivated, and brilliant group of people. From our newest hire to our department heads, the positive culture is evident. When you visit headquarters and when you see staff at Imaging USA, you will see it, too. They work harder than anyone I have known.

Thank you to our committee members for all your volunteerism. Your dedication to this organization keeps us functioning at our very best. Change is hard, even when it’s positive change, and our committees help us navigate the evolution we must take part in to continue to serve members at the very highest level.

And to members of the Board of Directors both current and past, what an amazing journey I have had working with all of you. I have witnessed dedication beyond anything I could have imagined. Working with each person—each with a distinct business, each with unique opinions, and all extremely intelligent—would seem like a difficult recipe for success. But it works. The respect we have for each other, for staff, and for members is the secret ingredient. My life is forever enriched for the years I have spent with all of you.

I chose these topics to share with you as my final message because I want to encourage all of you, each and every member, to get involved in some way—in your state affiliate, in PPA, in local chambers of commerce, in charities, or in your community. The lessons and friendships you gain will improve you as an entrepreneur, photographer, business owner, professional mentor, and even as a parent.

From my heart, I wish you success.  

Audrey Wancket is the owner of Wancket Studios in Spring Grove, Illinois.