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Home » Officer Columns » East Coast Meets West Coast

East Coast Meets West Coast


by Maria Warner-Dowrich, AFM EMSD East Coast Office Contract Adminstrator

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” —Helen Keller

Being a newcomer to the AFM Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD), and a part of the everyday ins and outs of that environment, has given me a new and intense perspective on what many musicians face as working professionals, not only from a musical aspect, but on what it takes to keep all corners working, connected together, in unison. The EMSD West Coast and the East Coast offices aspire daily to diligently connect all the dots and cross all the Ts, assuring that musicians reap the rightful fruit of their labor.

The routine of the division is anything but routine. On any given day, the influx of agreements contracts, session forms, and telephone calls is nothing short of amazing, and can become overwhelming at times. Fortunately, there’s always a helping hand and a listening ear to put things in perspective.

I am constantly in awe of the knowledge that EMSD Assistant Director Pat Varriale exudes. His many years with the Federation have given him a deliberate focus on the tasks at hand. Varriale is a person of great integrity and a mentor. He has taken me under his wing to help me understand the department’s functions. His advice is priceless and will always be a treasured part of my life beyond the AFM.

In collaboration with EMSD’s West Coast Office, we function under the directorship of EMSD Director William F. Thomas. As a vehicle of connection, our offices meet once a week, via video chat, to keep abreast of the goings on within each individual’s area of specialty. 

Administrative Assistant Kim Wysocki, my co-worker and go-to person, is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to backtracking the historical aspects of the EMSD. I have garnered useful and informative data to assist me with the job at hand and the work ahead. 

The East Coast Office meets the West Coast Office hand-in-hand, as a team, getting through the difficult situations and answering some of the, at times, ambiguous questions set before us. Together, we strive to reinforce the efficiency that makes the EMSD work for all.

Communication, teamwork, and dedication are the true catalysts that bind West Coast with East Coast offices. Our diversities and commonalities are brought together for one common purpose: to serve the needs and right the wrongs dealt to the musicians in concert with the AFM as a whole.

In the words of the incomparable Phil Jackson, basketball guru: “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.

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