Greetings TEA Members,
As we close out one year and turn the page on another, it is natural to take stock of what we’ve achieved, where we fell short and set intentions for the year ahead.
Admittedly, I left 2022 feeling completely drained. It was a grueling year for TEA as we worked to regain our footing operationally and financially while re-defining our new “normal” following two extremely challenging years. On a personal level, I kicked off the year with a new baby (and covid), spent countless weeks on the road and in the air for TEA duties, and ended the year with the flu rearing its ugly head as it swept through my house in the weeks leading up to the holidays. Thankfully, my family and I were all well enough by December 23. We were able to beat the historic winter storm and subsequent airline meltdown that swept much of the United States and drove from Chicago to Orlando for what would be an epic 10-day adventure.
While there, I was able to share the creativity, magic, and joy of the Themed Entertainment Industry with my family. It brought smiles and laughter that hadn’t been seen since before the pandemic and a renewed sense of energy and purpose to this Executive Director.
The 40+ hours of car time also allowed me the time and space to reflect on 2022. The truth is, 2022 wasn’t all grueling. There were shining achievements, obstacles overcome, and many moments of community, fun, & celebration. Below are some ways TEA delivered for YOU, our valued members, organized under the strategic pillar they support. I hope you feel as much pride in what we have achieved as I do.
Community and Connection
*Implemented a new Code of Conduct Policy and led a global volunteer and staff training session, and 24/7 confidential reporting tool to ensure TEA delivers a welcoming and safe environment for all members
*Resumed in-person programming for all TEA Tentpole events, delivering the first live TEA Summit & Gala since 2019 with nearly 650 people in attendance
*Delivered nearly 100 in-person and virtual educational and networking events leveraging the power of TEA’s global divisions
*Prioritized the advancement of Diversity, Equity, Accessibility & Inclusion (DEA&I) in the TEA Board nominations process through the implementation of the newly formed Leadership Development & Nominations Committee
*Expanded the global reach of the Thea Awards program, receiving nominations from attractions in 20 countries across 5 continents
*Launched the Industry Advisory Council to provide insights and feedbacks on industry trends and how TEA can deliver greater value to its partners.
*Expanded TEA’s reach and influence in adjacent industries through strategic partnerships with other associations, trade shows, and the media
Knowledge & Collaboration
*Debuted a global, member’s only webinar to present the findings from the 2021 TEA/AECOM Theme Index & Museum Index
*Inducted 5 new TEA Masters and integrated their thought leadership into the SATE NA Programming, benefiting the 300 in attendance and 50+ student participants for the full-day NextGen Program
Leadership & Brand Influence
*Advocated on your behalf, representing the voice of the themed entertainment vendor community at the IAAPA Public Affairs Conference in Washington DC
*Developed a relationship with the office of the US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Analysis to foster a greater understanding of the challenges and needs of TEA members on matters related to foreign commerce and economic policy
*Invested in re-building TEA’s IT infrastructure including its Association Management System (AMS) and website, providing TEA with an integrated platform for delivering exclusive member benefits
*Developed a new Strategic plan for the Association, setting the direction for TEA’s goals and priorities over the next 5 years
*Updated the association’s Bylaws for the first time since 2013, bringing the association current with proper governance practices
*Re-built the TEA Staffing structure to better support HQ operations and the work of TEA divisions globally
*Transitioned the TEA Foundation under TEA International Board oversight and updated Articles of Incorporation and updated Bylaws, to position TEA for expanded charitable and educational pursuits in the future
*Participated in formal association leadership training retreat (TEA’s President, President-Elect & Executive Director) to ensure strong and effective association governance
For all of this, I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to TEA’s, now Immediate Past-President, Chuck Fawcett, the Executive Committee, the International Board, the leadership from TEA’s four Divisional Boards, all of our committee and task force volunteers, and of course, our Global Partners who provide critical financial support. And last but not least, the dedicated TEA Staff- Barb, Don, Jackie, Juliette, Kirsten, Michael, Morgan, Sharon, Shawn, Terry, and Tori- none of this would be possible without their dedication and hard work every day of the year.
There is tremendous momentum propelling us into 2023, and I look forward to the opportunity to work alongside TEA’s new President, Melissa Ruminot and the rest of the TEA leadership and staff to continue to deliver value to YOU. Thank you for being on this journey with us. I wish you a successful and joy-filled 2023!
I hope to see you in your corner of the globe very soon!
Lindsey Nelson, CAE
TEA Executive Director