By: Livia A. Beasley
Founder and past president 2004–2009
Children’s Media Association was a seed of an idea, planted in New York City in 1999. As an assistant at Sesame Workshop, I met periodically with friends to discuss our young careers in the industry. But the meetings eventually dwindled as our jobs took us in different directions.
Then in the fall of 2004, during a lull in the industry, New York Women in Film and Television held a wonderful event focused on children’s television. There I met another producer, Claire Curley, and we quickly bonded over our eagerness to jump back into children’s television. But without available positions within our small pool of contacts, we were out of resources. I invited Claire to attend another event that evening. As we walked across town, I suggested we start an industry association for children’s media, and she enthusiastically agreed. We mentioned the idea to several people at the event and they shared our interest and excitement. It was that simple. We chose a date and spread the word to our colleagues from Nickelodeon, Noggin, and Sesame Workshop. And the organization began to take root.
On October 14 2004, our new and old friends had a get together over chocolate martinis. We gathered several times over the next few months to discuss our vision for this industry association. Our plan was to hold monthly events to provide educational and networking opportunities within the industry. The goals that we set in those initial meetings continue to motivate our organization. Our purpose is to educate and connect industry professionals, and to thereby foster the development of excellent children’s media.
Our organization, then Women in Children’s Media®, spent the first five years developing our style of monthly social events in creative settings, intimate events with industry mentors, and panel events with an array of experts. In 2009, Ashley Fenwick-Naditch took on the post of president, expanding our membership and doubling our events. Under President Sarah Wallendjack, the organization changed its name to Children’s Media Association to be more inclusive of all industry professionals, developed a more information rich website, and laid the groundwork for future growth.
Children’s Media Association is able to educate and inspire through the committed all-volunteer staff that has worked and continues to work with seemingly boundless energy for the organization and its members.
Sincere thanks must go to the passionate and energetic founding organizers who worked tirelessly to launch Children’s Media Association:
Tiffany Aguilar, Stacey Billis, Wendy Bronfin, Yvette Buono, Mary Buri, Claire Curley, Elizabeth deLaGarza, Jennifer Dillulo, Farah Farooqi, Laura Gallagher, Meredith Halpern, Anna Horton, Mary Jacobson, Lindsay Kent, Angela Krasteva, Cathy Kwan, Sarah Mullervy, Melanie Pal, Joanne Ruelos Diaz, Tiffany Washington, Sasha Wolff, and Jan Wohrle Stebbins.
Deepest appreciation also goes to the brilliant founding advisory board who provided endless organizational guidance and professional mentorship:
Alice Cahn, Amy Friedman, Lynne McVeigh, Jodi Nussbaum, Beth Richman, Istar Schwagar, Rita Weisskoff, Marsha Williams.
Our plan for the future is to continue our mission beyond the lights of New York City. Our hope is to plant branches nationally and internationally that will help educate and connect the children’s media community across the country and around the world.
May our knowledge grow, our careers flourish, and our dreams be realized together!