Teresa Schmedding, ACES’ fourth and longest-serving president, completes her tenure at the conclusion of ACES 2018, in her adopted hometown of Chicago. Teresa served for four terms, from 2010 to 2018. If you don’t already know the impact she has had on ACES, or would just like to reminisce, we offer a brief review:
At a time when the future of ACES was uncertain, Teresa was in the group of people encouraging ACES to expand instead of continuing to contract, to bring in editors from fields other than journalism, to start representing all editors instead of just newspaper copy editors. By expanding the definition of a "copy editor," ACES opened up to a much larger population, just as hungry for camaraderie and change as the core group.
Teresa's vision was that editing meant making communications successful, regardless of the platform, content or audience. She was persuasive, calm, intelligent, frighteningly efficient and organized.
The explosive growth of ACES speaks for itself. Her focus on training editors and explaining what we do to our bosses and the world helped turn ACES into a professional, highly respected organization whose members still make deep connections with one another, but also have far deeper resources to call on.
Many people have been part of this change. But as vice president David Sullivan, an ACES member since nearly the beginning and board member since 2005, puts it: “ACES would not be here – all of US would not be here this week – if not for the leadership of this woman.”
Change is hard, particularly when you think the value of your work is being lost in the change. But ACES, under Teresa's leadership, has proved that not only is editing important, but also that its importance touches every aspect of our lives.
Teresa offered a few (ok, many) words on her time as president:
“Being president of ACES has truly been an honor. Being able to feed the hunger for editing training has been particularly rewarding.
“I remember when former board member Sue Blair asked me to speak on a panel at the Long Beach conference. I was so honored that an editor from Time magazine would be interested in my perspective on managing change. And, at the conference, Bill Connolly of The New York Times spoke to me. I was gobsmacked.
“That's the magic of ACES. You get to meet and talk about words with your editing heroes. It's a place where editors of all levels are united by their love of language.
“Being a part of this organization helped shape me into who I am today -- both professionally and personally. My career has mirrored the shift in the organization. I was first all-newspaper, all the time. Then I transitioned into journalism with a digital focus. And now into corporate communications. I'm proud that no matter what your job title is or what field you work in, ACES can provide you with valuable editing training.
“As president, I am sometimes the face of ACES. But I'm really just one person. There is an amazing board of editors who donate their time, energy and intelligence. Each of them deserves credit for the growth of the organization. In particular, David Sullivan. I wouldn't want to be president without him as vice president. He's an expert cat-herder who has kept us on track and focused.
“I can't imagine anyone I'd feel more confident in turning the reins over to than Sara Ziegler. Her intelligence and leadership will serve ACES well. And no one -- no one -- has a better laugh. I can't wait to see where she leads the organization.
“I will retain a seat on the board for the next two years. I'm looking forward to focusing on my true passion: training.
As the incoming president, Sara offered a few words of her own:
While serving on the executive committee for the last three years, Sara has been able to see, up close, the growth and progress ACES has made, “and it’s incredibly exciting,” she says. She hopes to keep the momentum going and keep finding new opportunities to reach editors of all stripes. “I'm especially looking forward to new training opportunities for our members.”
Sara got her first job in editing because of a connection made at her first ACES conference as a college student. “That was an incredible opportunity for me that set the course for my entire career, and I've always felt like I owed ACES a huge debt of gratitude.”
“I want ACES to be a place where all editors can train, network and receive the encouragement they need to make it in this business."