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Farewell Message from Maja Umek, the outgoing ERA Europe Chairwoman 2017-19

Maja Umek, Chairperson, ERA Europe, between 2017 - 2019

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to the newest edition of the ERA Europe newsletter – the only newsletter that represents the Homeshopping/DRTV industry and an opportunity for all member companies to actively participate in creating its present and future.

It’s been two years since I was invited to take over the position of Chairperson of ERA Europe and what a 'ride' this has been! Not just the whirlwind of events and emotions, but also the proof that we are a very tight community of like-minded people. The events have brought us closer together and I’m glad to see that this has influenced our day-to-day business in a positive manner, also beyond national borders. We have all received a bit of a push seeing that big dreams are allowed and 'crazy' goals can happen.

Although ERA Europe has always been financially independent of its former U.S. counterpart, we were still under huge pressure and at a loss after the U.S. so abruptly closed down its operations last year. Regardless of this, we conducted a very successful conference in Seville, Spain. In fact, the last several conferences have received five star reviews and very positive feedback from both long term members and newcomers alike.

Not only are we providing a meeting space in some of the most scenic and historic locations around Europe, but also through our educational sessions we give our members the opportunity to learn what is new, not only in our industry and in governmental affairs, but also where the new opportunities are to be found.

We welcome newcomers with open arms and this year we’ll be organizing a First-timers event where they will be able to meet with our long term members in short one-on-one 'speed business' meetings, giving them the opportunity to learn who is who in our business in a very short period of time.

I have been hearing “DRTV is dead” for several years now and I’m glad to see we’re proving the pessimists wrong as the industry is evolving, embracing new technologies and new channels, developing in ways that even two years ago seemed impossible. All the hurdles that we had to face and overcome in the last years made us all stronger, more creative, more open for new ideas… and even more importantly, companies that can be considered to be competitors are joining forces and starting new opportunities. It is therefore very important that we honour companies and individuals that are not afraid to try new approaches. Those that are not afraid to go where others wouldn’t. They say 'the world belongs to those who dare' and those are the individuals and the companies that we honour through the EMMA awards. One of the policies of the awards is that they are not fixed in stone -  they are evolving in the same way as our industry and will continue to do so. For this reason we are opening some new categories this year. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate again all the past and future winners. You are the ones changing this industry and driving it into the future!

I realize I’m sometimes like an old record (for those of you that still remember those), but when we talk about the future we must not forget that ERA Europe is a member, non-profit organization and therefore it is even more important that members get involved. The organization will be able to support our needs if we support the organization - it's plain and simple. I have been overwhelmed by the support we have received in the past year and even more to see people volunteering to help out.

Be an active member, get involved, pay your dues, don’t support freeloaders. Spread the news – tell your partners about our organization. The more companies join, the less financial burden there will be on individual companies and the more we’ll be able to support the needs of our members. Don’t stand at bay and complain, make a step and get involved!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the board members for the hard work and time put into making things happen. Our meetings have always been very constructive, productive and a huge motivation. I also cannot put into words the gratitude towards the team: Julian, Sandra and Amanda – thank you for making our ideas come to life.

As my two years as a chairwoman are coming to an end, I look at the time passed with pride. We’ve built a solid foundation with clear vision and now we need your help to get there. Please, join in! I’m looking forward to see you all during the next conference in Budapest.

All the very best,

Maja Umek
Chairperson
ERA Europe