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    What a Difference a Year Makes

    July 18, 2021

    As we enter the mid-year months of 2021, life is slowly returning to “normal,” at least here in the northeast United States. Many mask mandates have been lifted, and people are starting to meet with family and friends in social settings that we could never have imagined just a few months ago. I am thrilled that we can now go to restaurants and the movies!

    This year of pandemic living has presented many things to us—first, the notion of a contract with your network, a contract for social well-being. We wore masks and kept our social distance to protect each other from this ravaging virus. As a result, we learned to consider others, perhaps much more than we would have done in “normal” times.

    We have learned what it means to be an essential worker. These brave people work on the front lines in hospitals, grocery stores, and public transportation to keep the rest of us safe in our homes. I am amazed at their ongoing dedication to doing their work in dangerous conditions. They deserve and have my greatest respect.

    Next, we learned that technology could be a very useful tool. We have all learned to use technology, from teachers to students to scriptwriters and IT engineers and so many people in between. In fact, we have had to rely on technology to survive! Even if you cannot stand another Zoom call with your coworkers, it has been a lifeline of connection for many of us who cannot see family and friends in person.

    Our work life will almost certainly never return to “normal.” Like many of you, the SMPTE home office team has been working from home for more than a year. I am so pleased that, for the most part, it has worked well. With proper technology in place, we were able to pivot to a remote working lifestyle. We have become so proficient in Microsoft TEAMS that we opted to build our standards development work on the platform. I imagine we will continue with some form of remote working into the future, but I do not think it works 100%. There are many things that I miss about our previous “normal” work life.

    I miss the face-to-face chitchat, catching up on weekend plans, or talking about what movies we have seen or books we have read. I enjoyed occasional lunches together in the break room. I miss discussing our strategies while sketching out ideas on the conference room whiteboard. Having office space is expensive, especially for a nonprofit based in Westchester County, NY. But it is a place where we can come together, do our work, and actively communicate our plans. I am looking forward to a normal balance of home and office work life that will allow us to have benefits of both and the associated flexibility.

    As the world adapts to a new “normal,” SMPTE is evolving. The pandemic forced us to rethink our reliance on conference events, for example. The pandemic caused other disruptions, such as the accelerated push to running media technology in the cloud. We have learned that membership is a discretionary item for many people and that without value to bring them, some members decided to seek similar benefits elsewhere for free.

    COVID-19 has altered our perspective. From social well-being to SMPTE’s business practices, we have learned to change how we view our place in the world.

    The silver lining of this past year is that SMPTE is ready to take on these challenges. You will hear about the new initiatives we are working on in the coming weeks that will transform what we do and how we do it. All in support of this amazing global media tech industry. Stay tuned!

    Tag(s): News

    Barbara Lange

    Barbara Lange joined SMPTE as Executive Director in January 2010.   Founded in 1916, SMPTE is the global professional association that supports the technical framework and professional community which makes quality motion imaging available to consumers in a variety of media formats.  Ms. Lange’s portfolio includes executing on the SMPTE Board of Governors’ strategic vision and to ensure the Society’s continued relevance in an ever-evolving media ecosystem.  Under Ms. Lange’s leadership, membership has grown by more than 30% globally, more than 200 leading-edge industry standards have been published -- including industry game-changers such as Interoperable Master Format (IMF), High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Video Over IP -- and the Society has educated thousands of professionals on critical technical topics.  Today, Ms. Lange’s focus is implementing a 3-year strategic business plan that will further SMPTE’s visibility and relevance with an emphasis on attracting a younger and more diverse membership demographic.  In 2015, Ms. Lange led the acquisition of the Hollywood Professional Association (HPA), a leading trade association focused on the application of technology in the creation, distribution and consumption of professional media content; she now also serves as HPA Executive Director.  Ms. Lange holds a BA in Chemistry and German from Washington and Jefferson College, and completed the Executive Development Program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.  Prior to joining SMPTE she held executive roles in scholarly publishing at highly respected organizations including Springer-Verlag and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Ms. Lange has been recognized by IEEE, Washington & Jefferson College, and honored with TVNewscheck’s 2020 Women in Technology Award for her role in “making a difference in the media industry”.

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