In the last of our series of last year’s award winners, we look into the dedication of our member, Sonia Wasco, Past President, and still an active volunteer for DMLA. She was the winner of the first ever DMLA Lifetime Achievement award last year and it was more than well deserved! Most President’s serve their term and a year as Past President and then move on. But that isn’t the case with Sonia. Read about her years of work for PACA/DMLA here.
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In the last of our series of last year’s award winners, we look into the dedication of our member, Sonia Wasco, Past President, and still an active volunteer for DMLA. She was the winner of the Lifetime Achievement award last year and it was more than well deserved! Most president’s serve their term and a year as Past President and then move on. But that isn’t the case with Sonia.
What has been your role over the years at PACA/DMLA?
I began working at Grant Heilman Photography in the spring of 1986. Grant Heilman, Jane Kinne, and Bob Roberts were good friends and confidants who spoke regularly by phone. Before the end of the year, they had me signed up for my first New York City PACA meeting and sharing conversations with Susan Turnau. At that time, she owned and operated Miami based Sharpshooters stock photo agency and was the chairperson of PACA’s Ethics and Grievance Committee. I became a member of the committee along with Bob Zentmaier from Photo Researchers (now Science Source) and quickly found myself surrounded by some of the best ‘Movers and Shakers’ of the stock agency world. I could not help being impressed and motivated to be successful like them. I served on the Ethics and Grievance Committee for six years before moving to Chairperson for another six years. From 2000 to 2002, I served as President, a role that became extremely challenging as PACA found itself without an Executive Director and in difficult financial straits at the end of my term. I take pride in being part of the team of strong PACA leadership who helped to rebuild and bring the organization out of the brink of destruction. Then PACA President, Patrick Donahue (Corbis); Vice President, Cathy Aron (Photo Network) (these two offices switched places shortly after elections); Secretary Dexter Lane (Peter Arnold); Treasurer, Doug Segal (Panoramic Images); Members at Large, Jeff Burke (PictureArts) and Roger Ressmeyer (Getty Images) along with Jeff Shultz (Alaska Stock); Sharon Dodge (Illustration Works); Nancy Wolff (PACA Council); Bob Roberts and Roberta Groves (H. Armstrong Roberts); Jane Kinne (Consultant) and Chris Ferrone (Retrofile) spent many hours re-writing the PACA Bylaws and Operating Manual and running the organization. Special note needs to be given to these dedicated individuals who I believe saved the Association from demise. PACA’s Executive Office of Past President also was quite memorable for me. Following my term as President, the next four Presidents left the industry following their terms and I was asked to step back on the Board to fill the role of Past-President. We often joked that my office was unending. Lately, I have served on the Program Committee for conferences and as Nominating and Elections Committee chair.
What does winning the lifetime achievement award mean to you?
It is extremely humbling to receive this award. So many PACA/DMLA members over the years have given so much to the organization. I have met incredible people and made life-long friends with other members from all around the world through my experiences with PACA/DMLA. To be recognized by my peers with an award of this nature for something that I have enjoyed doing for nearly 30 years seems overwhelming. I have the deepest respect for those PACA/DMLA members who have served before and after me and feel very privileged to be the recipient of the first Lifetime Achievement award. Perhaps it has something to do with being the Past-President for so many years? I certainly hope it doesn’t mean I am getting put out to pasture!
Looking back at the organization’s success, which contributions of yours are you most proud of?
As each new PACA/DMLA President comes into office, they establish goals they want to achieve. When I became President in 2000, the photo industry world was very fractured among the different photography related associations. No one trusted what each other was doing, and I was troubled by this. I set out to mend the issues that drove us apart. We began inviting other associations to our meetings and opened discussions among us. These steps resulted in much healing and mutual efforts that benefited photographers. I also had a personal mission to visit or talk with every PACA member during my term. I was so impressed by what my colleagues were doing and how great their individual companies operated. I left the office of President a richly inspired person. Over the many years of my involvement with PACA and now DMLA, this inspiration has been what has driven me to stay involved and want to jump in with both feet to work to get things done!
What have you been working on for this year’s conference and what are you most looking forward to?
This year, I am responsible for the visual effects of the conference in Jersey City. Last year we worked hard putting together an outstanding program and this year’s committee has done a fabulous job on the session development. I felt one of the areas that could be improved from last year was the visual projections and signage for the conference so I volunteered to take that on. With the inspiration of Doug Dawirs and help from my Grant Heilman Photography colleague Josh Slaymaker, we have put together a new format to inform attendees of what is happening and what is coming up next. I hope everyone enjoys the polished look this will add to the conference.
You studied animal science and agriculture in college. How did you that transition into a career in stock photography?
By never closing a door. When I graduated from Delaware Valley College (now University) I was looking to go to grad school to study veterinary medicine. Just prior to graduating, Penn State University came to our graduating class and dangled teaching jobs in front of us because they did not have enough certified teachers of agriculture to fill open positions. My degree from Delaware Valley was in Large Animal Science with a minor in Small Animal Science. I took Penn State’s offer of a guarantee to teach in September if we took their summer intensive studies in Education (and went on to get a Master’s in Agriculture Education) and found myself teaching high School Agriculture at Shippensburg. Following this six month position, I was hired to teach Agriculture at Warwick High School in Lancaster County. One of our science teachers who did science research and experiments for Grant’s science photos gave him my name as a candidate for an opening for the Director of the photo library. Grant flew in from Colorado for my interview and I was the lucky candidate to be offered the job. Grant wanted someone who could ‘talk agriculture’ as 60 percent of the company’s business was supplying images to the animal health and crop advertisers and magazines. The other sector of business was the high school science textbook market. My ten years of teaching agriculture couldn’t have given me a more perfect background for working with the clients that purchased images from our collection. Grant was also looking for someone to run the business as he incorporated and transitioned to retirement. In 1987, I was named Vice President of Grant Heilman Photography, Inc. I was promoted to President and COO in 1995. Over the years I received stock bonuses and purchased additional stock whenever possible. In 2011, I purchased Grant’s final shares of stock as he officially retired from Corporation to officially become the owner of the company. One of my fondest PACA memories was watching Grant receive the PACA Member Emeritus award in 1996. He was one of the most inspirational people in my life, and I was so fortunate to receive that phone call back in 1986 that put me in touch with him. I know I speak for the many people who have had the opportunity to stay that he enriched their lives by knowing and working with him.
As always we’re pleased to confirm that Abbie Enock, CEO of Capture, will be treading the boards at the DMLA conference again this year, talking about Capture ROYALTIES – a subject that may be dear to many at the event.
Rolled out during the year, the module adds to the range of cloud-based out-of-the-box technology “building blocks” that address each stage of the digital media licensing workflow, and that make up the sophisticated Capture Platform.
ROYALTIES can be rolled out rapidly and provides an easy and cost-effective solution. Customers already think it’s great – ‘‘I cannot tell you how much I love working with the new royalty database from Capture…,’’ said Valerie Saunders, Tetra Images.
“We have been using Capture’s royalty database software for a year now and have found the system to be very finely tuned for our image licensing business.
“We use the database for tracking royalties, payments, and paying commissions to our photographers (Many photographers, many distributors, many payments coming in and out). We have also been able to create reports for tracking best-selling imagery, best-selling territories, trends, etc.
“Capture has created software that manages every conceivable issue so that our finances are clean and clear and even our photographers have a great interface for tracking their own progress.
“Capture’s support for getting on board and maintaining all functionality has been excellent. Our needs are always met quickly.
“We are enjoying a royalties database that allows for transparency and accuracy that is a much higher caliber than systems we have used elsewhere and the pricing is very fair.
“Once again, Capture has proved to be a genuine partner in creating and supporting our needs as a digital content supplier. I am a very happy and grateful customer!”, said Valerie.
Abbie will be at Visual Connections (#B36-37) and DMLA (table 13) if you would like to discuss any aspect of Capture’s technology or services. Contact: email@example.com
Horrible news emanated from the Library of Congress on Friday morning when the notice of the firing of Maria Pallante was made public. This move is unheard of for the position of the US Register of Copyrights where historically the Register has stepped down or retired. Pallante was informed of her change in roles by being locked out of her computer.
Maria is a huge advocate for the rights of Creators and has been instrumental in the industry’s efforts for modernizing the Copyright Office and the creation of a Small Claim’s Court for Creators. She is seen as being fair and unbiased by all who know her.
This move by the the newly appointed Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, is seen by many as a line in the sand as to how the Library of Congress want creators to be treated. Here are a few articles on the firing. Look for more information here as this issue evolves.
In the second of our series of last year’s award winners, we focus on our Volunteer of the year, Karen D’Silva. How was she chosen from all our great volunteers for DMLA? Karen worked diligently in 2015 to help rebrand DMLA with a new logo and all the materials that we needed to describe the change to our association. She worked tirelessly in this effort and found designers who were willing to donate services to our effort. She definitely went “above and beyond”. You can read her interview here.
In the second of our series of last year’s award winners, we focus on our Volunteer of the year, Karen D’Silva. How was she chosen from all our great volunteers for DMLA? Karen worked diligently in 2015 to help rebrand DMLA with a new logo and all the materials that we needed to describe the change to our association. She worked tirelessly in this effort and found designers who were willing to donate services to our effort. She definitely went “above and beyond”.
What does winning the first volunteer of the year award mean to you?
It’s really an honor. My first real job was in stock photography. I enjoy being a part of DMLA because the organization and the industry it represents contributed to who I am today. It’s nice giving back to an industry that gave me so much.
Looking back at the conference’s success, which contribution of yours are you most proud of?
DMLA is a great organization made up of so many wonderful people. Their passion for this business make DMLA what it is. My job was to elevate its brand, create some consistency in their messaging, and help the rest of the world see DMLA the way I always did.
What have you been working on for this year’s conference and what are you most looking forward to?
Seeing as this is my third conference, what I’m doing for promotion doesn’t differ much from past years, giving me more time to think about the marketing fireside chat. We’re trying to be innovative in how we engage our audience. This year’s discussion will be an intimate and honest conversation about marketing in the digital world. The idea is to be transparent and challenge the audience to think about using the opportunities out there to improve their business.
Can you tell us about the years you spent working as an art director?
It’s funny to look back at your career. At the time, I was really in the thick of it, just trying to get to the end of the day. With some perspective, I can see that I was honing in on some important skills in the years I art directed. I was learning how to articulate what I wanted to create and how to capture moments that would connect with the viewer. Eventually, it became more about strategy behind images and creating a brand to reflect these ideas. Helping companies market is just as creative and rewarding as being on set, and I love the problem solving. There’s nothing better than bringing a brand to life through marketing.
How did you get into marketing, and how was this influenced by your photography career?
I was always an artsy kid, and I naturally went towards a fine art degree. I always liked the conception of the idea the best, so it’s really not a surprise that I ended up in marketing. Marketing is so much about strategy, seeing the big picture, and implementing your vision.
At last year’s DMLA Conference we instigated some new awards and reinstated some awards that we hadn’t given for some years in an effort to acknowledge the special efforts of some of our members. Here is the first of our series on the accomplishments of these special companies/people before new honors are bestowed at this year’s conference.
First up, Keith Gentile, CEO of Agency Access, our first ever Corporate Sponsor of the Year. You can view his interview here.
At this year’s DMLA Conference, we are taking a page from the TED book. We have selected five outstanding individuals in the world of photography licensing to address a single topic in a short burst of information. Go here to see more about the 2016 DMLA talks.
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