The election of the SWW Executive Board took place during the regular monthly meeting on Saturday, October 1st. Four dedicated and well qualified members have agreed to donate hundreds of hours to the leadership and management of our organization.
An exceptional group of people will lead us into the new year. They will take over from the current board in January. Your elected officials are:
President – Sara H. Baker Vice President – Rob Speigal
Treasurer – Kent Langsteiner Secretary – Jim Tritten
Sarah H. Baker, President
I am thrilled by the opportunity to help steer such an amazing organization. I’ve been a member of SWW for enough years to lose track, and I recommended the group to writers for quite a while before I had a chance to join. This past year, I was honored by an invitation to serve on the board.
I started writing book-length fiction in 1997. My first novel came out in 2001, and was followed by more than a dozen others as well as a number of novellas and short stories. I’ve worked with large publishing houses, medium-sized houses, and several small, independent publishers. (I even worked as an acquiring editor for a few months, which was more than long enough.) I’ve also self-published recent work while teaching a class on self-publishing for UNM’s Osher program. My range of experience gives me an appreciation of the challenges we all face, and an understanding of how to grab some of the opportunities.
The one thing I’ve enjoyed most about writing has been the chance to help others. I realize how strange the landscape is if you’re stumbling in as I did nearly 20 years ago. SWW is an amazing community of helpful, compassionate writers I plan to support in whatever role I can.
As president, I don’t want to make drastic changes; I like the group as it is. Still, I want to reach out and bring more writers into the fold. Each of us strengthens the group with our experiences. I’m also open to innovative ways of offering information and inspiration to those at different experience levels. Most importantly, I look forward to continuing to connect with my fellow SWW members.
Rob Spiegel, Vice President
Rob has been President for the last couple years, bringing a new direction to SWW’s programs and conferences and leading the group into a sound financial future. As Vice-President he will be well positioned to pass on his knowledge to our next president.
Rob has re-established the SWW writer’s conferences, bringing expertise in many fields to our membership. SWW has reduced the overhead on conferences sufficiently to make them a low-risk venture. More than that, the conferences offer the rare opportunity to meet with and network with leading professionals in the publishing industry. He has also instituted a series of Saturday afternoon workshops being given by some of the outstanding speakers at our meetings.
Rob is a journalist of 40 years and senior editor for Design News. He writes and publishes poetry, fiction and drama. He describes his volunteer work with SWW as his professional give-back.
Kent Langsteiner, Treasurer
Kent has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science with a Minor in Mathematics. He has worked in the Information Technology industry for the past 35 years in roles ranging from applications development to server and network configuration to security management. Included in the various environments in which Kent has worked are non-profit management, personnel and payroll management, manufacturing, insurance, health information, material tracking and supply line management.
In addition to his IT experience, Kent has managed a local not-for-profit organization. Prior to kent taking over the organization, it was losing $6,500 per year. In his first year as manager, the organization showed a profit of over $10,000. In his second year, the organization showed a similar profit, was able to pay off several long-term notes as well as make significant structural improvements to the physical building it owned while maintaining the strict standards required for an historic landmark.
Although Kent has not held an office within Southwest Writers, he is looking forward to serving the community of creative individuals who form its ranks by focusing on the financial health of the organization while providing real value to its members.
Jim Tritten, Secretary
Jim is the current Secretary and previously served on the bylaws and policies review committee, the social media committee, and was responsible for public relations. He has written for the Sage, recruited for our speaker and workshop program, and was a speaker at a SWW meeting. His efforts to share writing information on the SWW Facebook pages have been noted by many of our members. Jim has served as a Secretary for two other volunteer organizations in the past and been a member of numerous boards and an officer on many local and with a national organization. Jim is a recipient of the President’s Lifetime Volunteer Service Award. He has published five books and over 270 articles winning twenty-two writing awards. Jim retired after working for forty-four years as a fed including as a carrier-based naval aviator and as a faculty member and department chair at the Naval Postgraduate School. Jim has been a member of SWW since 2009.
Jim is committed to the SWW motto “Writers Helping Writers.” He has been helping writers all along his own writing career which started in high school. Since moving to Albuquerque in 2002, he has been active in the veterans writing group at the Raymond Murphy VA Medical Center, a number of writing groups at Sandoval County senior centers, and with the Corrales Writing Group. In addition, Jim has been an active member of Scribophile, an online writing group that nurtures new writers in launching and then polishing their work. Jim would like to see the full range of online