This has certainly been an exciting final year of my five-year term as VAF secretary. Though the organization was faced with several challenges throughout the year—most notably the pandemic—I was allowed the chance to witness the board at its best as it came together to remake our conference schedule and create our first ever (and very successful) virtual conference. In addition, we held our first virtual board meeting in early May and, while it was sad not to see everyone in person, allowed us to come together and vote on important proposals and budget items. Our experiments with online tools during the pandemic will likely give the board more confidence to experiment with virtual communications in the future.
The pandemic had an impact on our membership in the last year, with our total membership declining 12 percent to 749. I believe our membership numbers will quickly rebound to 2018 and 2019 levels in coming years after our conferences in San Antonio, Plymouth, and New Orleans. One can expect the large attendance at the recent virtual conference will also bring new members into the organization. In addition, the secretary can report that the state with the highest number of members is Virginia, followed by Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, and California.
The secretary is pleased to know that the VAF will soon begin to develop new initiatives to better serve its membership and improve the functionality of the website and our payment systems. I look forward to watching the current Executive Committee of Claire Dempsey, Christine O'Malley, Kim Hoagland, and Claudia Brown take steps to improve the VAF so that it continues to thrive in the future.
William Littmann, VAF Secretary