News & Notes

Outgoing and Incoming WIFV President Messages

Outgoing President’s Message

By Cathie Saadeh, Esq., 2020-21 WIFV President

As the saying goes, “Out with the old, in with the new!”

It has truly been an honor to serve as WIFV’s President for the past year. On July 1, the gig is up, and I’m delighted to hand the reins over to Sara Barger, who I’ve enjoyed working with as Vice President.

This particular transition is very good for the organization, as Sara and I are quite different and our respective focuses will complement each other. Being a lawyer, I’ve enjoyed working on “back office” things, like the organization’s bylaws and the Board’s electronic records. Sara, on the other hand, is a creative filmmaker — I’m sure she’ll take a different approach, such as planning fun events for members to attend. Also, Sara’s the kind of person who doesn’t just say “Y’know, we should….” and then just leave it at that. She jumps in and executes! You’ve already seen this in the Filmmakers We Admire page on the WIFV website. That was Sara’s idea, and she made it happen. So I’m very excited to see where WIFV goes next under her leadership, along with new Vice President Monda Webb, Treasurer Dylan Graves Comstock, and Secretary Sonya Dunn.

Of course, Sara’s not the only one with hustle. I have to give a shout out to so many on the Board this past year who have done so much for the organization. In no particular order: Steve Webb, who spearheaded our website redesign; Sharon Sobel, who kept us focused on the member experience and kept the positive messages coming on our list serv all year; Dylan Graves Comstock, who ensured the success of the WIFV Mentorship Program, which has paired over 50 individuals (not to mention Dylan’s work on the WIFV member surveys and his role as Secretary of the Board!); Tara Jabbari and Sonya Dunn, who represented WIFV at the national and international levels at WIFT-US and WIFTI, respectively; Malikkah Rollins, who initiated and is leading a networking group for WIFV BIPOC members; Anna Reid Jhirad, who developed a detailed grant application to the National Endowment for the Arts; Monda Webb, who kept her eye on the numbers and did a terrific job translating financial statements for the Board each meeting as Treasurer; sheri ratick stroud, who has been working hard on corporate development and other financial support for the organization; Connie St. John, Emma Mankey Hidem, and Ericka Boston, who have lent their leadership and production expertise to a range of WIFV projects, and last but not least, John Benedetto, who has ensured a strong slate of member programming across a range of interests and topics.

But as I told the Board at the outset of my term, being a good Board Member doesn’t necessarily mean being out front leading a specific initiative. At every Board meeting, the directors have had engaging discussions about a range of issues, including things where everyone has pretty much agreed, and things where we haven’t. The thoughtful input of ALL of the directors in these discussions has been critical to forming sound policy for the organization. Members, rest assured: This has been an active, engaged Board, and our organization is better for it.
Grounding us all, of course, is our talented and hardworking Executive Director, Melissa Houghton. It’s occurred to me how challenging her role is. Every year, Melissa has to adjust to the style and preferences of a brand-new President. Melissa, thanks for putting up with all my lawyerly ways! I am very much looking forward to watching Night / Dawn through clenched fingers with you in October!

We have an amazing new Board as of July 1; decades of amazing experience will be joining the Board, and we will all be the richer for it. Sara, new Board directors, returning Board directors – have fun and enjoy the year in front of you!


By Sara Barger, 2021-22 WIFV President

Cathie was a remarkable President and really kept WIFV on track this year with spirits raised. Thank you, Cathie, for all your hard work this past year. I have very large shoes to fill.

I might be the new President, but I’m a long-time member (since 2006). I’m really looking forward to getting back to in-person events this year and seeing how we can combine all we’ve learned from Zoom to really make WIFV work for all of our members, both near and far. WIFV is such a wonderful community and I’m really honored to have met some of you this past year. I challenge everyone to attend at least one event (virtual or in-person) over the next 12 months and meet at least one board member this year. The WIFV Board is such a great team and your input will help them make WIFV even better.

We have a lot of fun ideas brewing for this upcoming year. If there’s anything in particular you would like to see happen, I am just an email away. Every great idea starts somewhere, why not with you? WIFV is a wealth of resources, and together I’m confident we can make many things happen.

I’m super excited to see where this next chapter of WIFV goes. Thank you so much for coming on this exciting ride with me, Melissa, and the rest of the Board. It’s going to be a fun year!

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