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INTERVIEW
What's Ahead For The World-Voices Organization?
New President Dan Lenard Shares Vision & Goals
November 12, 2021

(VOXtra) - The World-Voices Organization® (WoVO) is in its tenth year of growth and achievements as the trade association for professional voice talent - and on November 17 at its virtual Annual Membership Meeting will elect a new Executive Board of Directors, led by WoVO's sixth president, Dan Lenard.

Dan is a founding member of WoVO, who since the beginning has been chair of the association's Technical Standards Committee. And that's fitting since he's widely known in voice over as The Home Studio Master, one of the world's leading experts on VO home studio audio.

He's also co-host (with George Whittam) of the Voice Over Body Shop - the popular Monday night webcast packed with home audio tips and news and guests who discuss all things VO.

Never at a loss for words - or an opinion - Dan shares with us here his vision of the WoVO year ahead, and more ...

Q: Dan, you were a founding member of WoVO. At that time, what was your vision for WoVO - how would it help voice actors and the VO industry?

Thank you for inviting me to comment.

It hasn't changed a great deal over the 10 years we've been in existence. My vision for the organization has always been as a Not-For-Profit platform to promote the professional nature of voice acting to the general public, especially those that hire us.

Also, providing mentoring, education, keeping our members up to date on the latest developments in the industry, and maintaining and improving our list of best practices for voice talent and VO industry service providers like coaches, and other educational entities.

We also have successfully created a tight community and social network of VO professionals with our conferences and online events, especially during the pandemic.

From that early vision, how has WoVO evolved?

As people come and go, ideas and programs come and go. Different leaders have left their mark on how we do things to implement our mission.

Our first president, Dustin Ebaugh, set the standard for leadership, and with the collaboration of his wife, Kirissa, created and implemented the systems we use to make WoVOCONs, our fantastic conventions and regional Mini-Cons.

Next, Dave Courvoisier created great promotional programs that helped swell, and maintain our membership and has been responsible for putting out our newsletter. 

Peter Bishop's wise and pragmatic approach helped us navigate some difficult times, and last year, Katherin Vasolopolus stepped up and created organizational systems and is responsible for the creation and implementation of our new, up-to-date website that will serve our members and the industry for years to come. 

We have evolved in a way to meet the changing needs of our members and changes in the VO industry.

Such as?

Historically, we made bold challenges to the industry as a whole, for instance, with responses to the geographic disparity of the cost for ISDN by promoting the use of Internet based remote recording systems.

We also powerfully responded to one of the major Pay-to-Play sites that was using us, voice talent, their customers, as a commodity, and then double- and triple- dipping on fees that should have gone to voice talent. How? By creating our own, non-traditional casting site: Voiceover.biz. It made a huge impression on all the P2P sites and created a tremendous growth in our membership ranks.

We took things into our own hands to benefit our professional membership.

One of the things I will emphasize as president, is our continued response to the ever changing nature of the voice over industry.

We also have become truly "World Voices" with expansion and growing membership and participation of freelance voice talent all over the world!

Since the beginning, what has been your personal focus and responsibility? Have you achieved those goals?

Since Day One, I've been Vice-President and Chair of our Technical Standards Committee.

I'm REALLY proud of what my committee achieved early on. We created the first set of standards for voice over audio quality in the digital age. Before, it had all been based on analog standards that recording studio engineers used, and some erroneously still do. 

My committee was comprised of the top people who work and use home studio audio for their everyday work. George Whittam, Uncle Roy Yokelson, Cliff Zellman, Joe Van Riper, Jordan Reynolds, John McLain and several others who have contributed over the years.

We use these standards as the basis of our "WoVO Studio Approval" program, which provides assurance to clients that the professional WoVO members they are looking to hire, have the best audio quality.

But over the years, what's frustrated you?

I think it's the lack of understanding of what our mission at WoVO is.

The definition of a trade association is an association of tradesmen, businessmen, or manufacturers in a particular trade or industry for the protection and advancement of their common interests.

We have struggled to create a consistent message about that.

I have always maintained to the Board that our responsibility is to stick to our mission that I stated earlier: "To promote the professional nature of voice acting to the general public, especially those that hire us." Along with the other points I mentioned about education and community. 

Also, as I state at each WoVOCON, that we are a "professional organization run by a volunteer base of non-professional organization runners." 

People also have priorities to their work and families. It's always very difficult to get things done in a timely manner. But we now have the resources to hire professional help to work on promoting our mission and messaging, and with other organizational systems that require immediate attention.

When does your presidency begin, Dan? And what is the duration of your term?

As of ... now! And at the approval of the general membership at our virtual Annual Membership Meeting next week.

My term is for an initial two years.

And what are your chief goals?

My number one goal is to improve communication: to our members through frequent messages, our website and our newsletter. And to the outside world, especially the people who hire voice talent.

Also to people who should join and those who have joined but let their memberships lapse.

It's time to come back!

Who will be on the WoVO executive board with you?

My Vice President is Ramesh Mahtani.

We are currently looking for a new Treasurer. Liz DeNesera is currently our acting Treasurer. Let us know if you'd like to apply.

Pam Lorence is our Secretary.

Mike McGonegal is our Vice President of Membership.

Karyn OBryant, Dave Courvoisier, Joe Davis, George Washington III and Blair Seibert are our at-large members, and all our former presidents lend their expertise when needed.

How many members does WoVO have now?

We currently have 467 "Active" members, which includes 334 "Professional Members,"  120 "Associate Members," and several "Industry Partners" like ... um ... John Florian.

Why would a voice talent want to join WoVO? What are the benefits?

Access to potential clients. As I said earlier, we offer our professional members a listing on our searchable directory, voiceover.biz. People should check it out!

That doesn't mean WE will find you work. We're giving you the opportunity to be seen and heard by potential clients.

Also, professional development. Mentoring and education.

We update our members with the latest industry knowledge and Best Practices.

And we are continually updating our Technical standards as new and more efficient ways of recording become available.

We also promote networking and VO community spirit.

Dan, one more: What didn't I ask you?

Why on earth would I want to take on a job like this?

Because, as a Founding Member, it's my responsibility to carry on the tradition, motivate membership to participate, and to bring in new members as we take WoVO into the future.

WoVO is a Not-For-Profit organization. We're not here to make money for one individual or entity. We truly are here to benefit our members and the entire voice over industry. Think about that when you consider what other services and organizations are out there.

Thank you, Dan! We know you'll succeed in moving the association ever forward.

Note: For more about the World-Voices Organization, including member benefits, programs, events and how to participate and join, visit www.World-Voices.org.


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