This past weekend, the Newman Numismatic Portal (NNP) held an on-line symposium that was an extended Money Talks session via Zoom. Although using Zoom and the format took advantage of new technologies, it is something I have been trying to convince the American Numismatic Association to do for a long time.
On May 21, 2016, I wrote, “Now is the time for the ANA and any other organizations that provides educational sessions to consider adding online access to their shows.”
Since then, I have been trying to convince the Association that it could extend its reach beyond the Summer Seminar and the World’s Fair of Money by broadcasting the content on-line.
“There are technologies that can help support the bringing the lectures, courses, and other activities to an online community,” I wrote in 2016. “There are a number of web-based conferencing system that requires a minimal amount of technology to broadcast these activities to collectors everywhere.”
I wrote that before the creation of Zoom!
Unfortunately, the ANA President and Board of Governors ignored all previous work regarding online education, making the Association look like an also-ran. Although some of the Summer Seminar sessions appeared online, the NNP Symposium surpassed the reach of the Summer Seminar in both content and impact.
The NNP succeeded where the ANA has failed. The NNP took advantage of modern technology to deliver numismatic education while the ANA, whose mission is supposed to be education, has done very little.
Why has the ANA Board of Governors failed in its mission?
It is easy to lead when times are good. An extended period of good times allows organizations to sit on its laurels. They can point to incremental changes as progress.
Leadership means being able to lead during good times and know how to respond when a crisis occurs.
“What leaders have to realize is that when a crisis hits, you can’t just rest on your laurels and think that everything will move along normally,” says Ronald Riggio, Ph.D., a professor of leadership and organizational psychology at Claremont McKenna College in California. “You need to train, prepare and execute.”
The ANA did not plan. The ANA was not prepared. There was nothing for the ANA to execute. The ANA FAILED in its mission.
The Board was told that it needed to expand to online education. When I was asked, “Can’t the ANA use something like Zoom to create classes?” Not only did I say it was possible, but I also noted other services the ANA could have used.
When I learned that Robert Oberth was appointed the Chair of the Information Technology Committee, I had a conversation with him on Facebook as part of comments to a post on the ANA Facebook page. I used Facebook to keep the conversation open and allow any member interested in why the ANA has failed to meet its members’ obligations.
As part of the conversations, I provided the lines to my writing on the subject. Unfortunately, the conversation has little impact. The ANA is lagging behind everyone in providing online education.
Even though I am not on the IT Committee, it does have institutional knowledge. According to the committee membership list published on the ANA website, Governor Greg Lyon is also a committee member. In his sixth and final term as ANA Governor, Lyon has been involved with the committee since the beginning. Lyon was the original Board liaison to the committee.
Lyon has not said much about the committee and its work either to me or in public. Now, when the ANA could use guidance, where is he? There is an English proverb that says, “cometh the hour, cometh the man.” A term that is associated with Winston Churchill, who stepped up when his country needed him.
Hey Greg, the ANA needs leadership. Where are you?
It has been six months since the crisis began. Where is the Board of Governors? What are you getting accomplished in those “excruciating” Board meetings (your word, Steve)?
The ANA Board of Governors has failed the Association and its members. These are the people who need to resign TODAY and allow new leadership to be selected by ANA members:
- President Steve Ellsworth
- Vice President Ralph Ross
- Mike Ellis
- Muriel Eymery
- Mary Lynn Garrett
- Greg Lyon
- Cliff Mishler
- Rob Oberth
- Shanna Schmidt
Are there six people who will run for the Board of Governors? If there are, I will join you to make a slate of seven people whose only purpose is to lift the ANA from the morass created by the current Board.
I do not agree that all nine present members of the Board are equally culpable, but there is blame to go around. I am anticipating retiring perhaps as soon as 90 days from now, and I promised long ago that I’d run for the ANA Board of Governors when I did. The practicalities of getting an official nomination done ALMOST (but not quite) require a presence at January FUN. It’s why the Board always seems so “dealer intensive”. What do you have in mind?
Their Money Talks have been available via Zoom. Unfortunately, they’re going to start charging for them in 2021. $5.95 to attend 1-hour presentations and $10.95 to attend 2-hour presentations. I went to nearly all of them before, but I can guarantee that they will experience an extreme drop-off in attendance. The NNP Symposium was excellent! I just wish there was an hour break for lunch, as I actually forego’d eating to attend the lectures!!
Overall, I do agree with you. In the age we live in (and I’m speaking both about the digital age and the COVID age), there need to be more digital presentations. They shouldn’t replace live coin shows or presentations, but the opportunity is there for so much more, and so few are coming even close to harnessing the true potential.
Online can’t mean universally free. The National Money Show and the World’s Fair of Money are major cash inflows. Even bourse attendance is $8 per day for non-members. Yes, it is possible even in recent years to not pay the bourse admission and partake in Money Talks and some other meetings, at least those off the bourse floor.
A whole new revenue model may be required, which inevitably means change, maybe huge change, and that is a tough lift.
In a private letter to the ANA, I said that it should be free for members. Membership should count for something. If they want to charge non-members, fine. It will be an incentive to join.
We certainly need more of those – incentives. Hertz discounts ain’t gonna cut it.