Introduction to Special Interest Groups
- In July of 1987 then President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the IICS,
Robert Steel started the first Special Interest Group (SIG) within the
IICS. It was for government contracting. By 1989 there was a total of six
SIGs in Los Angeles. Today the Chapter has fifteen with a proposal for
one more "Future Media" to start the first part of 1996.
SIGs are formed for several reasons:
- As a focus group to provide in depth information and looks at a particular
subject or technology.
- A way to attract prospects and encourage recruitment of new members
and especially member renewals since SIGs are highly discounted or free
to paid up members. Also the reasoning is that if a member gets involved
in a particular SIG then he/she would renew IICS membership to keep up
those contacts and associations.
- As a way to keep highly specialized members more active in the organization
so they will not drift away.
- As a way to attract industry support especially specialized software
and hardware product manufacturers who can provide product and financial
- As a way to offer additional meeting opportunities to members who can
not attend regular Chapter meetings.
- As a way to attract professionals in associated fields that have come
under the umbrella of multimedia.
- As a way to keep on top of new industry developments and directions
with rapidly developing technologies.
FAQs about SIGs
How do you pick a SIG subject?
Most of the SIGs came from member suggestions and willingness to lead
a SIG. Some of the early Los Angeles SIGs were formed at the suggestion
of the LA leadership.
- How do you get someone to lead a SIG?
- All SIG leaders must be current IICS members. Some members volunteer
to lead a SIG. Otherwise select a couple of the top people in your Chapter
who have shown an interest in the particular area you have decided to form
a SIG around and send them a letter. Ask them to become part of a formation
team to draft a charter (proposal) for that subject group within your Chapter.
- How do you attract SIG members?
- All SIGs must be open and promoted to the entire Chapter membership.
Each monthly issue of your Chapter newsletter should report on SIG activity
and include a schedule of upcoming events. If possible send out press releases,
and meeting announcements. Each SIG should maintain it's own list of members
who are mailed these announcements. Also don't forget to announce the SIGs
at every general meeting and cross announce at other SIGs. (note: large
Chapters with members in multiple SIGs may not find individual mailings
- How do you Charge for SIG membership?
- SIGs are part of the privilege of chapter membership and should be
promoted as such. That being said it is up to the SIG leadership to determine
individual meeting cost. It is generally accepted that Chapter members
should receive a substantial break in the admission price. SIG leader have
flexibility to hold meetings in any space that meets their needs, but a
SIG must strive to be fiscally self sufficient and cover meeting costs
such as room and equipment. In Los Angeles many of the SIGs are free to
Chapter members but charge non-members, others with higher attendance and
meeting costs charge members $5 and non-members $10 or $15. One SIG in
Los Angeles held a fund raiser that covered their meeting cost for the
entire year and do not charge at the door but are open only to paid up
members of the Chapter.
- How do you administer and handle logistics for so many organizations?
- Each SIG leader is responsible for setting up meetings, booking speakers
and organizing activities. She/he checks and coordinates the date with
the Chapter's secretary or whoever sets the Chapter calendar. The Chapter
calendar should list Chapter activities by date, time and location and
should be coordinated at least a month in advance. In addition if a different
person is producing the newsletter or hotline those people should also
be notified with the same information.
- How are Monies handled?
- All Monies collected by each SIG minus the costs of the meeting and
other expenses, are turned into the Chapter treasury. This is done by the
use of SIG reporting form that is submitted monthly. Each SIG leader is
encouraged to keep expenses to a minimum.
- Is there much synergy between SIGs?
- Yes. SIG leaders are encouraged to contact one another to see if there
are ways to hold joint meetings. The Chapter may want to consider theme
months from time to time (i.e. music, the internet, training and education
etc.) so that in addition to the Chapter meeting there will also be SIG
meetings that give a more in depth analysis of a particular side of that
technology or subject.
- How often do SIGs meet?
- It varies. Some are monthly, some bi-monthly, some quarterly. In Los
Angeles active SIGs are required to have a meeting at least quarterly.
- Does SIG attendance cut into or reduce attendance at general Chapter
- There is no significant evidence so far that SIGs cut into regular
meeting attendance. It appears that those who attend SIG meetings also
attend Chapter events. Most people consider SIG meetings as an extra event,
one that is added to their regular schedule of commitments.
- How are SIGs organized within the Chapter?
- SIGs fall under the office of the Chapter President. Another Chapter
may put them under the responsibility of the Chapter Past President. Also
each SIG leader is a member of the Chapter Council that meets monthly or
bi-monthly with the Chapter Officers to communicate and coordinate. It
is also suggested that a semi annual Chapter SIG summit be held to handle
matters specific to SIGs.
- Have the SIGs fulfilled their Promise?
- There is no question that SIGs do attract members and encourage membership
renewals. SIGs are one of the major reasons why the Los Angeles Chapter
has continued to grow. SIGs have attracted industry support and participation.
Also SIGs have opened up new segment of allied industries to IICS members,
such as music/audio, motion picture/video, media distribution and various
Currently the Los Angeles SIGs are:
Larry Langs 818.304.4600
Kathy Kozel 310.370.3733
Dan Culbertson 310.315.2367
Pete Benjamine 818.367.8532
User Interface Design
Dr. Jill Strawbridge
Eileen McMahon 310.450.3775
Sue Marrone 818.985.8231
David Watkinson 310.396.4084
Elaine Spooner 818-777-1917
Jerry Jackson 310.761.0474
Dave Blackburn 310.545.0369
Bill Fisher 714.474.2150
MM Audio Technologies
Chris Palmer 818.364.2577
Limor Schafman 213.850.1623
George Kopp 818.883.0651
Integrated Digital and
Expressive Arts (I.D.E.A.)
IICS Los Angeles
In an effort to establish a system of tracking on a monthly basis all
funds collected and spent by each Special Interest Groups (SIG) within
the Los Angeles Chapter of the International Interactive Communications
Society each SIG Leader will be required to fill out and return a report.
This report is the basis for tax reporting and other fiduciary responsibilities
required of the LA Chapter and International Organization by the Internal
Various other contriuost this article include:
Robert Steel, past LA president
Jerry Hamby, past LA president
Lynda Keeler, past LA vice president
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