Bi-annual election of the Board of Directors

May 26, 2021 in DOCS, International, MOVIES, News, TV

The Amended Bylaws have been approved by the CCA membership without any opposition.

Now it is time for our bi-annual election of the Board of Directors.  I am happy to report that six of the current Board members have expressed their strong desire to serve another two-year term, while longtime Board member Sara Voorhees will transition to an advisory role.

As CCA continues to grow with multiple annual awards events, our wildly successful Celebration of Black Cinema, and several new initiatives in the pipeline, additional seats have been added to the Board to bring in some new blood and fresh perspectives.  Jacqueline Coley and Paulette Cohn have been officially endorsed by all the current Board members, EVP John De Simio and me to join the Board when the new term begins on July 1. Additionally, Teri Hart has been similarly endorsed to join the Board, becoming its first Canadian member.

However, if you wish to run for a Board seat in opposition, please read the attached official Board of Directors Election Memo as to how to proceed.

Joey Berlin – Chief Executive Officer
Critics Choice Association


As mandated by the Critics Choice Association’s new and improved bylaws, it is time for the bi-annual Board of Directors election.  While day-to-day responsibilities are delegated to the Chief Operating Officer and the Executive Vice President, the Board broadly oversees those operations. The BFCA current Directors are Shawn Edwards, Jim Ferguson, Ed Martin, Sean O’Connell, Mark Ramsey, Sam Rubin and Sara Voorhees. 

As Chief Executive Officer, I serve on the Board as well, along with Executive Vice President John De Simio.  It has been my pleasure to work closely with Shawn, Jim, Ed, Sean, Mark, Sam and Sara.  I believe that their commitment to the CCA, their wisdom, their experience, and their record of success in building the CCA continue to make them the perfect team to help run our group.  I am thrilled to report that six of the seven have stated their wish to continue on the Board and I heartily endorse each of them for re-election, while Sara will transition to an advisory role.  Collectively, their contributions to the BFCA cannot be overstated.

Additionally, the Board is recommending that Jacqueline Coley, Paulette Cohn and Teri Hart join the Board as new members and bring some fresh perspectives to the CCA leadership.  They have been important contributors to our ongoing activities and have agreed to serve.

If any other members wish to run for a seat on the Board, now is the time to throw that hat into the ring.  Members can place their name in nomination or otherwise comment on the election below.  Or any member can feel free to contact me directly with any questions ([email protected]). 

The nominating process will close on June 4, 2021.  A new article will be posted after that date, if necessary, in preparation for an election later in June.  If no one chooses to oppose the current Board members running for re-election and Jacqueline, Paulette and Teri, there will be no voting and the current Board along with Jacqueline, Paulette and Teri will serve.  

Board members serve two-year terms, beginning on July 1.  The current financial reimbursement for each Board member is $5,000-10,000 per year.

16 responses to Bi-annual election of the Board of Directors

  1. I would love to run for a seat on the board!

  2. While its great to add more women. I would like to see a Latinx representative on the board. I also would like to see someone from a non traditional media background. All the nominees while impressive resumes have or are working for main stream media. It gives the impression that one’s work isn’t of value unless its associated with mainstream. The biggest job growth in our industry is coming from small to medium size online sites. Also where is Black or minority media represented as in owned represented on the board. It’s important that when we push for diversity that it means recognizing that valid or “acceptable media” is not just in the form of traditional but it’s imperative that we recognize minority owned media amongst the Board members.

  3. This is an ideal opportunity to elect board members who you feel truly represent you. You have a choice and a voice.

    I’m in, and I’m listening.

  4. With the recent and long overdue implosion of the HFPA, I feel like now is the time for the CCA to step up and increase our visibility in the entertainment eco-system. I’d like to run for the board and represent our diverse membership.

  5. It is not my place to say whom should or shouldn’t run however at this time the board only has one poc. The membership is 25% poc but no Latinx or Asian Board members. Having real diversity means having the leadership reflect the population of the country. I also recognize that not all the new nominees are White women. We have zero minority leadership other than Shawn. Latinx is the largest growing population in this country and many of us are Afro-latinos, Asian-latinx etc. Again I applaud the board in recognizing that there needs to be more diversity however it needs to be reflective top down and one of the ways to do that perhaps is engage more with members of color. The survey was fantastic but it left no room for feedback hence I am giving it here. Also having women on the board is also great but the journey or woc or specifically latinx or black women is 100% different.

  6. Hi CCA Members,

    I would like to announce my intentions to run for a seat for the Critics Choice Association.

    As a member for more than a decade, I would love to lend my voice to lift not only the members of the organization but as a representative that can help the organization make decisions that will benefit all who are lucky enough to be members.

    I look forward to discussing my platform with the other members.

    Clayton Davis

  7. After much thought I would I like to announce to my fellow Critics Choice members that I am running for a Board Seat. I made communicated this to our President the other day. I think its time that we have some folks from non traditional backgrounds on the Board so that we can grow this organization for the next generation. I look forward to making my case.

  8. Greetings Esteemed CCA Colleagues,

    I’m very happy to see the CCA Board of Directors nomination and election process opened up for new candidates. This is an opportunity for our organization’s leadership to embrace fresh ideas and for all of us to benefit from the recognition of the diverse perspectives and wide range of expertise represented in our membership.

    As we enter the upcoming two year term for those elected to serve as Board members, CCA has extraordinary opportunities to attain even greater success and recognition for our awards shows and our cinema celebrations. However, in the wake of the HFPA implosion, our influential organization also faces challenges, pressing demands and close scrutiny that we show greater diversity and inclusivity in CCA’s leadership and membership.

    Joey and John have clearly articulated these goals, and I heartily endorse their intentions — especially with regard to the addition of three women to the Board of Directors to fill two newly created Board seats, and the seat that Sara is vacating after years of honorable and highly appreciated service.

    I’d like to point out that the membership-wide open election — or, if the current Board’s pre-election endorsements — of three women candidates prevails, the Board will still have a huge gender disparity of twice as many men as there are women. This is the time to change that. This open election can and should achieve results that better serve our constituent membership and present a better CCA image not only to the rapidly evolving entertainment industry, but also to the CCA membership’s wide and varied audiences.

    With that in mind, I’d like to announce my candidacy for a seat on the Board. If elected, I will bring unique and valuable assets to my service to our organization.

    As a proactive CCA member, I have worked closely with Joey. John, David Freedman and Chris Campbell to establish, structure and garner recognition for the Documentary Awards show, adding to the shows success and stature by getting documentary luminaries to attend the live events when they were staged in Brooklyn.

    I have served as Chair, co-Chair and ‘pod’ leader on the nominating committees for the Documentary Awards and Reality Awards shows. (Please note that mention here of my nomcomm participation is strictly confidential to voting CCA members, as nomcomm members are mandated to remain annoymous to the world at large, and I abide by that rule).

    I have had very positive and productive discussions with Joey about establishing a ‘CCA Celebrates Women in Film’ event (similar to our Celebration of Black Cinema event) and will work on that project to make it a reality.

    Additionally, as you may know, parallel to my membership in CCA, as president of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, I have for the past 15 years grown AWFJ into an influential force — one that has been fundamental to initiating the current movement towards gender parity, diversity and inclusion. I built and continue to helm, which is an ongoing, highly esteemed and sought after media platform that amplifies the recognition of women film critics and women filmmakers. Under my leadership, AWFJ is about to launch our online screening series, AWFJ Presents, boosting female-directed films and amplifying the voices of female critics who’ve served as AWFJ Presents curators.

    I can proudly report that 31 currently active 93 AWFJ members are also members of the CCA and another 14 women film critics who are currently CCA members previously benefited from AWFJ affiliation.

    The CCA Documentary show, our Reality show and the recognition of diverse women film critics and filmmakers are three of CCA’s major current and ongoing endeavors with which I have direct and effective experience. If elected to our Board of Directors, I will bring that experience to my service to the CCA and to all of you. In seeking your vote, I promise that if elected, I will energetically and loyally serve the CCA and will always be open to members’ suggestions.

    Thank you for reading my candidate’s statement and for your consideration. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me. And, please vote for me to be a member of the CCA Board of Directors.

    Jennifer Merin
    [email protected]

  9. It is heartening to see that a number of other qualified members have thrown their respective hats into the ring for seats on the Board of Directors.

    This grassroots nomination process feels very authentic.

    I think we can all agree it was a travesty that there was only one woman serving on the board and I look forward to our discussions about better representing our membership.

  10. This is my personal statement I’ve sent to the board today and I’m placing it here for full transparency with the CCA membership.


    Hollywood and media are changing. We’ve been witnessing that trend for more than two decades. As an outspoken and passionate advocate for diversity and representation, one of my goals has been to continuously combat the old school mindset that see opportunity as “tokenism.”

    As a fierce advocate, I have often used the metaphor of a baseball game: we’re not asking for an automatic win of the game because we’re minorities. We’re asking for that same opportunity to go up to bat that everyone else receives. If I strike out, hit multiple foul balls, or ground out to first, that’s on us. We just want a chance to see if we can hit a homerun.

    I have been a member of the Critics Choice Association since 2011. This year will mark a decade of my membership and I’ve been grateful for the opportunity and recognition. While CCA has brought about wonderful moments and memories, there are still too often blunders and easy wins that could be orchestrated with a couple of fresh perspectives.

    I believe in democracy. I believe in fairness. I believe paying your dues. While I appreciate the sentiment that the CCA Board has shown in a need for more diverse voices, the method of appointment now, vote later goes against the very fabric of the argument I have made throughout my career against bigoted, close-minded people who have been in power in this industry for far too long.

    Only after the HFPA started to go down in a blaze of shame, did the Board decide to poll the membership to get a sense of our makeup. This is a year of opportunity for the CCA to take the mantle that the Golden Globes have held for no good reason for 78 years, but we must do it with thoughtful, and sincere actions. The Board must be transparent in its decisions and voting practices. CCA has been long scrutinized for being a “predictor” for the Academy Awards, and I have found myself defending the integrity of not just the organization, but my own as one of its members. That shouldn’t be the case. We should all be proud for what we do and how we do it. Transparency is of the utmost importance. I want to bring that sense of pride to the CCA.

    I’m not here for cultural wallpaper for the organization. I’m here to work, to reform, to advocate for change. That’s why I want to be part of the board. I want to work with all the board members, have them learn from all members’ experiences, and how we can better engage our community.

    That’s why I’m running. I’m the Film Awards Editor at Variety, and see the inner workings of studio executives, publicists, and industry professional’s day after day. We all have to ready to take this mantle, but we need the full trust of everyone to do it.

  11. Hello Friends and Colleagues,

    This may well be one of the most important elections in CCA history. It’s truly inspiring to see such widespread interest and participation. I’m posting my personal statement below:


    That’s the key word in in the CCA timeline, and I’m all over it.

    Opportunity to further diversify our membership and leadership so they more accurately reflect who we truly are.

    Opportunity to step into a new level of visibility and accountability, with a real shot at filling the void left in the wake of the Golden Globes debacle.

    Opportunity to update and enrich our organization with initiatives like greatly enhanced social media outreach and the creation of a riveting podcast. Also to increase member benefits and mandate consistent, informative messaging from leadership, so that members can choose their ongoing involvement. Your voice needs to be heard!

    Opportunity to strengthen and enrich the TV branch by allowing more qualified members of the Film branch to join. Why? Because as one of the original, devoted members of the TV branch and as a leader in the nominations process, I know that the expertise of those film critics who also cover TV is a great asset.

    Many of you know me as an advocate for the inclusion of a diverse and talented professional base. I’ve recruited numerous members who have made positive contributions and reflect the diversity of our organization.

    As a 16-year member, I’ve consistently presented feedback from many of you, conveying your needs, opinions and contributions to the leadership.

    I’ve taken advantage of opportunities to promote the CCA on USC panels and numerous industry events, going to great lengths to strengthen CCA relationships with studios, press, publicists, sponsors, talent, members and the public in general.

    We now have the opportunity to propel the CCA to new levels of visibility, recognition and stature. To do that, we’ll need energetic board members who are tuned in to the dramatic cultural and digital landscape. And who won’t be afraid to advocate for a bold agenda.

    You have the opportunity to vote for nine board members. I encourage you to vote for me and the other candidates who accurately reflect who we are, and who fearlessly support what we can become.

    Lisa Johnson Mandell
    Cumulus/BBC Radio

  12. Hello, my name is Sammi Turano and I am the owner and editor in chief of TVGrapevine. I have been a member of the CCA since 2012 and served on several committees for the Real Awards, Critics Choice Awards and more. I would like to submit my personal statement to be a part of the Board.

    I am a 37 year old woman who has been working in the journalism field for the past thirteen years. It was a long, tough road, but one filled with hard work and determination. I came from humble beginnings, and am slowly but surely working my way to the next level of my career.

    Being on the Board would be an incredible honor because I not only represent the women in the field, but I also represent the underdogs who have worked hard to get to where they are today. We all have different stories, and I think mine is one of inspiration and hope.

    I hope you will consider me for a position on your Board and I look forward to working with you!

  13. My name is Kathia Woods, and I’m running for a position on the Board of Directors.

    I’ve been covering the entertainment industry for over ten years. I started in this field before the internet, when hip hop was still in its infancy, covering it. Due to financial constraints, I took a regular job but continued to write on the side.

    I began covering movies and television six years ago by chance. I’m running because there’s a lot of discussion about diversity, but our Board doesn’t reflect that. The presence of two African Americans does not scream true diversity. Having women on the Board is similar, but it does not solve the issue of representation. The other issue is that our industry is evolving. Full-time art and entertainment jobs are hard to come by, and when they do, it’s not for people of color. Our industry is thriving thanks to entrepreneurship, or small to medium-sized websites that have sprung up to fill the need. These websites frequently feature marginalized people, such as me. I established my website eight years ago because I was fed up with advocating for Black/Latinx talent and pleading for our stories to be shared. It’s not easy work, but it’s allowed me to tell many stories that might otherwise have gone unheard.

    In terms of leadership experience, I’ve been running my site for eight years, and we’ve grown from a few hundred visitors to 52K last month. I’m pleased to report that our audience is multinational, which corresponds to my professional history. I previously worked as a Bank Manager in a regional office where I managed a team of 25 people and generated $2 million in monthly deposits. At Vanguard (Business Development) and Bank of NY Mellon (Retirement), I also oversaw multimillion-dollar accounts. After assisting my clients through the 2008 financial crisis, I have demonstrated my ability to lead and handle crises.

    Critics’ Choice is expanding its membership and expanding internationally; nonetheless, several ethnicities are lacking from the Board. Many of the members are also multifaceted. Their identities are intertwined. For example, I am Afro-Latina. Even though we are America’s fastest-growing community, this group has never had a Latinx board member.

    Members of color, the majority of whom are freelancers, are confronted with unique challenges, and many lack the support they require at various sources.

    Diversity isn’t simply about filling quotas; it’s also about acting. We have the members, so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have more individuals of color on the Board, to bring the organization into the modern era. I recognize that for this organization to thrive, we must do a better job of recruiting younger members and aiding young people who want to be mentored into this field.

    Because of my unique experience, I am more aware of the requirements of many of our new members face than of the incumbent Board members who have spent more than a decade working in traditional media.

    I’d like to see us improve our communication with the membership.

    Our industry is already being tested, and we will no longer be able to do the bare minimum after the events of 2020.

    I’ve only been a member of CCA for two years, but throughout that time I’ve assisted with the nomination of CCA Documentary Awards and Super Awards. At our most recent in-person awards show, I also worked the red carpet/green room for CCA social media.

    I’ve been the coordinator of AAFCA roundtables for over a year as an AAFCA member. I’ll fight as hard for each member as I do for myself and those who look like me. I’m passionate about our group and believe we have a chance to create the change that our business so desperately needs.

    If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

    [email protected]

    Kathia Woods


  14. Greetings, dear colleagues.

    Below is my candidate statement, but first, a program note: I am submitting this as instructed to [email protected] and in the interest of a free and fair election posting here to help ensure all candidates, not simply the pre-chosen ones, have equal access to directly reach voting members.

    You know the saying, “I’ve seen this movie before.” None of us have seen this movie before, the one where the Critics Choice Association rises to new levels of influence, prestige and increased exposure to new audiences during this turbulent time in the industry, especially in the wake of the wreckage of the HFPA.

    It’s been exciting to watch our organization develop important new programs like the Celebration of Black Cinema, the Documentary Awards and the Real TV Awards, all of them successful enterprises, spurred on by the efforts of our Board of Directors.

    I’ve been privileged to be a CCA member for coming up on a decade now. Throughout that time, I have been actively involved by regularly participating in judging panels for the CCAs and the Documentary Awards and on the marketing and promotion committee run by Shawn Edwards.

    Last year, during the depths of the pandemic, I was proud to play a key role in the second outing of the Real TV Awards by bringing on the host, reality TV star NeNe Leakes and writing the script for her. NeNe hosted from Atlanta, where she was then a high-profile Real Housewives cast member. The virtual show, with its pre-taped segments of winners including James Corden, Phil Rosenthal, Ann Curry and Jason Hehir was as good as any of the others done during that time.

    As a board member, you can count on me to work hard to build upon what we’ve achieved in recent years, especially highlighting the diversity of our membership. I would remain open to hearing new concepts and ideas from our membership across all channels and platforms as what would possibly best serve them.

    Here are several of the ideas I would bring to the boardroom table and work to implement:

    • Develop corporate and branding partnerships around all of our shows. My idea of the ideal corporate partner is AMC Theaters, the current darling meme stock. I’d also like to see us forge deals with airlines, automakers, hotel chains and other media, like Vanity Fair, one of the entertainment trades and BET, for example.

    • An idea I conceived during the pandemic in between watching screeners is to further utilize the Critics Choice YouTube channel to showcase work of members, which could even bring in revenue to the organization if certain viewership levels are met. Should we go on TikTok? Perhaps, and we could definitely put more effort into our various social media platforms. One such idea is to run a weekly movie trivia contest on Instagram and/or Twitter, with movie passes, studio tours and posters and the like as the prizes.

    • Invite the studios and streamers to hold screenings and news conferences just for us. Hey, they did this for the HFPA, whose current demise leaves a huge void that is ripe to fill with such opportunities that benefit our membership and thus serve our viewers, listeners and readers.

    The HFPA situation is a whole separate topic that I’m sure most of you would be interested to discuss but I feel like until its recent implosion, we were treated like second-class citizens compared to them, when our group is everything they are not: qualified and diverse. We need to utilize this unique moment in history to up our game.

    I would really value the opportunity to be part of the leadership of this organization as a board member and respectfully ask for your vote. Thank you very much – and see you at the movies!

  15. FYI I did send my candidate statement to the email provided prior to posting it here for membership.

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