SMPTE, the home of media professionals, technologists, and engineers, today announced that Barbara Lange will step down as the Society's executive director at the close of 2021, which marks the end of her current contract. Lange has served in this role for 12 years, guiding SMPTE through a dynamic period of growth, extending the Society's leadership as a global standards organization, and working closely with staff, volunteers, members, and the SMPTE Board of Governors to make SMPTE a more inclusive organization that brings value to individuals and organizations across the media and entertainment industry.
"Of all that SMPTE has achieved during my tenure, I'm most proud of how we've transformed the Society into a modern organization that remains very relevant 105 years after its founding," said Lange. "I've had the honor of working with so many impressive people to help SMPTE thrive and continue to play a vital role in supporting the media industry. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of the home office staff and SMPTE volunteers, the Society today stands ready for any future challenge."
A short list of SMPTE achievements during Lange's tenure includes the creation and institution of a new, more comprehensive three-year strategic business plan process; reimagination of the SMPTE brand and the Society's web presence; the launch of the SMPTE Digital Library; completion of a successful capital fundraising campaign and celebration of the Society's centenary; publication of more than 200 engineering documents including groundbreaking standards such as SMPTE ST 2110, SMPTE ST 2067 (IMF), and SMPTE ST 2084 (HDR); production of the first virtual presentation of the Society's annual technical conference; successful navigation of the pandemic through the acquisition of government support and loan forgiveness; and the launch of the innovative Rapid Industry Solutions program.
Through technical conferences and an expanding offering of educational programs and courses, SMPTE has educated tens of thousands of professionals, helping to further their knowledge and careers. Both individual and corporate membership increased in the past decade, and the number of SMPTE Sections worldwide increased to include India, Pittsburgh, Poland, and the United Kingdom, while nearly a dozen new Student Chapters were launched during Lange's tenure.
"Under Barbara's leadership, SMPTE has become a truly international society committed to facilitating industry interoperability through industry standards, making relevant education accessible to all industry members, and fostering a vibrant and inclusive membership community," said SMPTE President Hans Hoffmann. "Every organization faces difficult times, and the pandemic crisis over the past 18 months presented new and unexpected challenges for all of us. Despite these challenges, and thanks to transformational work directed by Barbara over the years, the Society has truly established itself as a home for media professionals, technologists, and engineers around the world. We thank Barbara for her tremendous work in leading SMPTE into its second century, and we wish her well in her future endeavors."
Lange will be engaged in the transition of leadership to her successor. In searching for a new executive director through an objective process, the SMPTE Board of Governors will focus on candidates with the capacity to build on the significant progress made by Lange and SMPTE's home office team.
"For us it is important that the new leader understand non-profit organizations and the digital transformation of our industry, and that they can work with the SMPTE home office to build on their many achievements," added Hoffmann. "We look forward to a leader who will embrace the Society's commitment to being a diverse and inclusive society, and who can further transform SMPTE to generate value for our global membership and foster ongoing growth. As the media industry is in an unprecedented and constant evolution, this work will be both challenging and rewarding."
Lange's final column in the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal as executive director will be published in the November/December issue. In it she details many of the milestones and achievements that have made SMPTE the stable, forward-looking organization it is today.
"Living through this pandemic, it really makes you think about your life. As I neared the end of my SMPTE contract, I realized I am now ready to discover the next steps of my career," added Lange. "I am passionate and interested in several new directions. From working to increase the diversity in technology, particularly girls taking up STEM fields, to studying the growing concerns around sustainability in media tech, there are plenty of areas to focus my attention and offer my skills. While I will miss working daily with my SMPTE family, and particularly the home office team in White Plains, I look forward to new opportunities ahead."