Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I want to continue to give updates to you on important topics, rather than wait for meetings like plenaries and conventions.
Firstly, I would like to introduce to you our new employee, Michael Howard, who was recently hired as a member of the National Office staff as Bookkeeper/Administrative Assistant.
Michael graduated from Florida A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and brings previous accounting, financial auditing, and not-for-profit board member experience to our team.
Michael is highly motivated, eager to learn and has already proven to be a positive addition to the culture in our National Office! He works closely with Shayla Kaestle, CPA, learning the details of OSDIA finances and implementing various process improvements. Michael will be responsible for accounting tasks, office mailings, and other administrative work. We look forward to his future with us. Please feel free to call the National Office to welcome Michael to the OSDIA team.
I want to also thank Shayla as the professional time she has put in working on our books, and with Michal and our new accountant we will literally save approximately $80,000/year in accounting services and render a more professional and competent work product. Miles Fisher, the long-time Editor-in-Chief of our Italian America magazine, recently accepted a job offer from his previous employer to return as a manager. We thank Miles for his many years of valued service to OSDIA, and especially for his work and passion dedicated to Italian America magazine, of which we are all very proud. He was instrumental in booking and interviewing guests for our OSDIA Interviews LIVE! series, which is now The Italian America Show. All of us in OSDIA wish him much success and happiness in his new position!
We have offered Miles an opportunity to work with us on a “contract” basis, but have yet to work out the details, and if this is possible given his new work responsibilities.
I would also like to thank Miles for his willingness to ensure the Spring addition of the magazine will be finished, and for his help with organizing the NELA event.
When we learned of Miles departure, we quickly began a search for a new editor of the magazine. We take great pride to introduce the new Editor-in-Chief of Italian America magazine, Andrew Cotto. Andrew is an award-winning author and a regular contributor to the New York Times. We know Andrew personally as he has participated on our Facebook Live Series. We know him to be a very accomplished and respected author and lover of the Italian American culture.
With over 400 published articles, Andrew has impressively written for Men's Journal, Rolling Stone, La Cucina Italiana, Parade, Conde Nast Traveler, Italy Magazine, the Good Men Project and more. As a 2nd generation Italian American who lived in Italy on two occasions, Andrew’s writing and life are inspired by the Italian-American experience as well as the culture of his family's homeland. Andrew has an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. He lives in Brooklyn, NY and dreams of the day when he can divide his time between the Big Apple and Il Bel Paese.
Andrew also brings to the table a plethora of media contacts and significant revenue and Ad generating opportunities. This will help bring revenue and subscriptions to the magazine.
We are also actively engaged in hiring a Program Coordinator to add to our National Office staff. I am confident that we will shortly have a person who can run events like NELA, plenaries, conventions, and along with helping on other special projects.
As far as management/organization, I would like to thank Justin Smith who will now take the lead as our point of contact at the National Office. Justin as you know is a very hard worker, and I look forward to working with him directly at the office.
Cento Fine Foods is now a major sponsor for The Italian America Show that airs on News 12+ on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. EST. Cento produced an outstanding commercial for the show, which epitomizes our Italian American heritage and can be viewed with this link: CNTO0030.mov. Their slogan, "Trust your family with our Family," aligns well with our core values. We look forward to an ongoing, mutually rewarding, partnership with Cento. I believe that this will lead to other companies to follow Cento’s lead.
Dr. Mary Kovach produced a video for the United Nations’ World Day of Social Justice celebrated on Feb 20, 2022. The segment included several Italian Americans who articulated what social justice meant to them. The presentation was introduced by me. It can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/c86PK7nx2k0
When I think about what makes us who we are, I think about our origins and came up with "This is US." The concept is to showcase the Order as a grassroots organization with members who are engaged and actively support their local communities and charitable organizations. Our grassroots organization is what sets OSDIA apart from other Italian-American organizations. Dr. Mary Kovach repurposed entries from the successful Family Photo Contest into a creative and captivating video that preserves and promotes our Italian history and heritage and is one of the first in the "This is US" series. You can watch this video here, and likely see some familiar faces: https://youtu.be/QXsHrWCFajk
Podcasts of our new The Italian America Show are available on various podcast platforms. Here’s a quick link to listen: https://anchor.fm/the-italian-america-show. Developing a podcast expands our social media reach and strengthen the OSDIA brand.
NELA will be in person in Washington DC, and is looking like it will be a great event. SIF President Joe Sciame is putting together an impressive event. But, this event has limited seating, so it is imperative that you get your ticket ASAP as it appears that seating will run out given the tremendous response we have seen thus far. You will not want to miss this event, and for the first time in years, enjoy the pleasure of our company in person! You can go to OSIA.org to get the information on the NELA.
Lastly, we made significant movement on obtaining new Gold Membership program. If you have not joined yet, please consider doing so by going to OSIA.org – there are new perks to membership!
Thank you all very much for your support and I hope you are all well and safe.
Bob Bianchi. Esq.
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Sons and Daughters of Italy in America
Grand Lodge of California
P. O. Box 2467
Fairfield, CA 94533
Phone: (415) 586-1316