SaVoa Former Prez & Board Members Quit
Citing Frustrations; Will Form New Group
April 20, 2012
By John Florian
The former president and all but one member of the Executive Board of SaVoa - the Society of Accredited Voice Over Artists - have quit the not-for-profit group citing frustrations, including roadblocks to moving forward.
And the Board members who resigned will create "a new accreditation group with much the same goals, but without certain obstructionist individuals," says one of those who resigned.
Resigning their positions and membership were former President Rowell Gorman and Executive Board members Dave Courvoisier, Robert Sciglimpaglia, Dan Lenard, Dustin Eabaugh, Chris Mezzolesta and Andy Bowyer.
SaVoa was founded in 2007 with the mission to "establish and maintain an accreditation program for voice over artists, and to support continuing education for the advancement of the voice over industry." (See 2007 article.)
'CONSTANTLY BOGGED DOWN'
In a series of blogs posted late last week, Gorman (pictured), the former president, chronicles how he says he was recruited by SaVoa founder Ed Gambill for the presidency. Yet he felt constricted in that role and lost his temper in a recent conference call Board meeting and later resigned. (See below for link to Gorman's blogs.)
"My frustration with the organization was that it never seemed to have any," Gorman tells VOXtra in response to a request to sum up his concerns.
"Certain individuals did make things happen, especially those dedicated to handling memberships and applicants or trying to publicize SaVoa's worthy aims and goals on their own," Gorman says.
"But internally we seemed constantly bogged down, with control of key group resources - like member database, website access, email accounts and such - kept centralized and withheld from anyone else who could actually take on the work.
'LOSS OF TEMPER'
"For nearly the entire time I was with the group," Gorman tells VOXtra, "the primary focus seemed more on recruiting new members, instead of providing more benefits of membership. That started to change just recently, but it was too slow and too little too late.
"My decision to resign, oddly enough, came not so much from the obstinance of that person of power, but my own loss of temper when I could not abide his parliamentary maneuverings any longer.
"I would have been content to let it go with that and move on, were it not for the events following my exit - when every other member of the group's Executive Board decided to resign at once, rather than see the power struggle continue."
VOXtra has invited Ed Gambill to comment on the resignations and future plans for SaVoa.
'CANNOT MOVE FORWARD'
In an "Open Letter to the Membership of SaVoa" posted online by former Board member Dan Lenard on April 20, the resigning Board members said they "wish to publicly thank Ed Gambil for founding the organization and for his vision."
Yet the letter continues that "it is obvious that in its current form, SaVoa will be unable to achieve (its) goals.
"The former directors and officers believe the existing corporate structure, foundation and framework that is in place is an obstacle preventing growth and the organization's stated goals.
"We further believe that until the membership is given a voice, namely, for one, election of its leaders, the organization also cannot move forward.FOR PROFESSIONALISM & MARKETING
"We do believe an organization should exist to set minimum certification standards that reflect a high level of professionalism and proficiency. However, such an organization needs to have more transparency for its members, and that involves input from the entire voice over community rather than just a select few. We are hopeful such an organization will exist in the future so we can continue our work."
The SaVoa website currently lists about 180 members, including those who recently resigned, and people in a special "Friends of SaVoa" category.
The application process includes submission of a resume and demos to demonstrate voice over and technical recording skills, and members often display the SaVoa logo in their marketing materials to show potential clients their industry recognition and proficiency.
SaVoa website: www.SaVoa.org
Rowell Gorman blog: www.voices2go.com/blog
Your Daily Resource For Voice-Over Success
I don't care about politics or personalities or management styles.
So if this all leads to the creation of another organization dedicated to the establishment of quality standards for us all, what's the problem? There is such a need for respected accreditation in our industry that it could only be improved by an alternative option. I would be proud to earn the right to be a member (or "certificate holder") of as many such groups as possible!
I would like to add that the letter from the resigning Board members was a statement from all of them, not just me. I just posted it in the Linked-In group.
This was perhaps one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. Seven people (plus many former Board members) saw the reality of what was going on vs. the One. We all joined this organization for the same reason. We believed in its stated mission.
The One remaining Board member continues to spread misinformation and rambling statements to "Certificate holders" (there were no "MEMBERS" as we discovered), talking about how he will do all the things that we kept demanding him to do. With no access to the website, informing "Certificate holders" became difficult.
I look forward to the creation of a real Industry association that transparently fulfills the initial understanding we all had of the organization's mission when we applied. And Rowell was a hero for finally standing up to this bully and calling him out for his obstructionism. Dirty laundry indeed. However, this was chartered non-for Profit corporation, not a privately held entity. The Officers had a duty to make sure that it remained within its bylaws and corporate charter. When this became impossible because of deception and abusive, illegal changes of the bylaws, our only recourse was to resign.
It's an elitist boys club thought up by a megalomaniac.
It's not about promoting voice actors, it's about dividing them.
THAT'S why most Professionals in NYC are NOT Savoa members and would laugh if you asked.