Farewell DMLA

December 30, 2019


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As 2019 comes to an end, so too does my long relationship with PACA/DMLA. From the start, almost 40 years ago, as a PACA member, I knew instantly the importance of this association to my own business and to the licensing industry.

My retirement sounds too final, so I will use “rejuvenation” suggested by my friend, Abbie Enock at her beautiful send off at our 24th Annual DMLA Conference in LA this October. It was really so much more than I ever expected! Thank you so much Geoff Cannon for your generous expressions and presenting me with the Lifetime Achievement Award! Special thanks to Andrea Stern for curating the historical and humorous slide show and to Sonia Wasco for her heartfelt address.  Speeches by Nancy Wolff, Ellen Boughn, and Alfonso Gutierez, President of CEPIC, were so touching, as were the many, many letters in the memory book from friends and associates I have worked with over the years. Thanks again to Andrea and all of you who took the time to send me your lovely words.  

If you know me at all, you know I always say if you work for an organization you get back more than you give.  It was certainly true for me. I received and learned so much working with all of you as a committee member, committee chair, board member, Vice President, President and for the last 15 years as the DMLA’s Executive Director.  How lucky I have been to work in this industry and have the chance to serve our creative community. I’ve had the fortune to travel the world and meet so many amazing people whom I never would have met if it hadn’t been for the DMLA.  In my capacity as Executive Director I worked with leading national and international visual associations, learned how to engage Congress, how to organize and curate an international event, and leverage my knowledge of copyright and critical intellectual property issues facing our members and the licensing community.  I will now “rejuvenate” as a smarter and wiser person as a result.

And special recognition to the many board members, presidents, and committee chairs who volunteered their time and effort to serve others and work with me over the years.  

Such a pleasure and an adventure!

But the time is right to make a graceful exit. I hope my contribution over the years and efforts to transform an image-oriented association into the multi-media licensing trade association the DMLA is today will ensure its long-term success as the industry continues to evolve and grow. And I encourage future leaders to bring new and fresh ideas to guarantee the DMLA will always be there for content licensors, their partners and the creators they represent.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Cathy Aron

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