By Renee Carter

What happens when Southern California Mingle Coordinators gather together? Magic. A few weeks ago, Jennifer S. Pitts and SCBWI-L.A. provided the venue for this special meeting.

Being a Mingle coordinatorcan be challenging. We research children’s literature, secure guest speakers, send out email invitations to SCBWI members and network to encourage the public to attend Mingles. Sometimes meetings are attended by large numbers and sometimes attendance is small. There are times we receive feedback from guests and other times we are left to interpret how the meetings are perceived. Our annual meeting allows us to brainstorm, recharge, and make sure YOU get the best mingle opportunities for the 2018- 2019 Mingle season.

This year’s prep meeting was held in a room at a local restaurant and we were impressed by its transformation into a gorgeous brunch space. The tables were set with white tablecloths, rocks and flower center pieces, and SCBWI purple folders. A corner was adorned with prizes and giveaways. The back table was covered with a breakfast fit for hungry coordinators. We knew that Jennifer Pitts worked hard, used fairy dust and a large dose of creativity to set this up.

Jennifer graciously welcomed us and encouraged us to chat. Conversation and coffee flowed as we reconnected like children finding friends on the playground, much like we all hope each of our Mingles will feel at each gathering. When we settled in our seats and each had plates of food, Jennifer led us in a kid-lit-themed game. There was laughter and joy. Prizes and giveaways were distributed. We also received an extremely heartwarming surprise in the form of a thank you note from SCBWI headquarters.

The meal was followed by a roundtable review of how the prior Mingle season went. We shared stories of successes and challenges. We said goodbye to one Mingle coordinator in the Los Angeles area. She had graciously served for many years and was moving on to other adventures. We also welcomed a couple of new coordinators.

Jennifer seamlessly shifted us to the formal portion of the meeting. She reviewed SCBWI national and local news, policy standards, and resources. Once the business portion was done, we talked about unique meetings that were extremely favorable and encouraged one another to try it within our Mingles.

As the meeting was ending, we took a series of photos, thanked Jennifer, and said goodbye to our fellow coordinators. We left charged with new ideas and excited about the upcoming Mingles we’re going to share with all of you!

The Annual Mingle Coordinator Brunch was magical. It brought together coordinators from all over Southern California. It allowed us to brainstorm, to share ideas for quality Mingles, to support one another, and to be among our peers with the same goals.

On behalf, of the coordinators of the Antelope Valley Writers & Illustrators, SFV-Montrose Writers & Illustrators, San Fernando Valley Writers & Illustrators, South Bay Writers & Illustrators, West San Gabriel Valley Writers, Westside Illustrators, Westchester Writers, and Westside Writers, thank you Jennifer Pitts and SCBWI LA for the brunch, support and another year to be of service.

And we can’t wait to share this new season with SCBWI members and non-members alike!

To find a LitMingle near you, check out our LitMingle Calendar for all the location, meeting, parking, and contact info. LitMingles are open to all and free of charge.


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Renee Carter is a coordinator for the SCBWI Westchester Writers’ Mingle. She is also a blogger and personal development coach. Renee can often be found in coffee houses reading, writing kids’ lit. or meeting with clients.

Images provided by the Westchester Writers Mingle