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Executive Director’s Report

By Kristine Navarro-McElhaney
Interim Executive Director

Experience is too valuable not to share.

Like many of you, I remember wading into an oral history project early in my career and wondering, how is this ever going to work?  You have the vision, the plan and the commitment, but it seems there are so many question marks that you begin to doubt yourself.   For me, the ultimate difference was having a mentor – actually, several of them – who I could turn to for advice.

It is true what they say, that any organization’s most valuable resources are its people and knowledge. OHA is no different. We recognize that mentoring can have one of the biggest impacts of anything you can do and is a wonderful way to pay it forward.

As a mentor, you bring into play resources and experiences that someone may not be familiar with, helping them reach their potential.  It provides a tremendous opportunity for someone to gain the benefit of your experience, while at the same time giving both mentor and mentee a chance to connect with each other on a personal level.  That is one of the most important underpinnings of oral history.

There is no better opportunity for you to share your knowledge and experience with aspiring oral historians than our upcoming 50th annual meeting in October in Long Beach.  We are so fortunate to have Ellen Brooks of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, Erica Fugger of Columbia University, and Kristen La Follette of California State University Monterey Bay working hard to keep the OHA mentoring program going strong for the third straight year.

You could be the one person who makes a significant difference for someone new to the field – knowing that someday they will do the same.

If you haven’t already done so, please go to and sign up!