Happy New Year, All!
As I sit down to write my last “President’s Message,” I get the same feeling I had when I sat down to write my very first message; I am way outside of my comfort zone.
As a matter of fact, serving on the board over the last six years has taken me outside of my comfort zone many times, but each challenge I/we have faced provided tremendous growth experiences.
This message -- my last one -- is a bit bittersweet. In a few weeks, I get to take a lesser role and watch as others take on a leadership role, with fresh ideas and objectives to move the organization further ahead. But before I do, I want to first say “thank you” to our membership and my fellow board members for this opportunity. The past two years have been a great honor. My/our success was well set up by our immediate past president, Lois Boyle. I was fortunate to follow in her footsteps and carry on the successes that she had set in motion.
When I first took the gavel, my goals were simple; continue training, membership growth, and celebrating VCRA’s 50th year in grand style. I have to say that, with the help of a great team, I feel that we’ve accomplished all three. We increased membership, and thanks to the presenters and membership attendance, the 50th Jubilee was an excellent success that provided valuable training from the industry’s most respected leaders.
Looking towards the future and my pending role as immediate past president, I have a bit of a riddle for you. Short of being President of the United States, what did George W. Bush, Ronald Regan, and Dwight D. Eisenhower have in common? They were all cheerleaders -- prep school in Massachusetts, Eureka College, and West Point, respectively.
When I shared that fact with several of my son’s friends, they thought it was funny and unusual that these men would have been cheerleaders. “Really?” they said. “No way!” But to me, it makes perfect sense. I, too, was a cheerleader for my high school alma mater. As a matter of fact, I began cheerleading in the sixth grade for a local football league. Who would have thought that the team-building activities that I participated in back when I was 12 years old would impart skills that I would have for the rest of my life?
As the immediate past president, my new role will be identifying, nominating, and guiding new board members. Like the people that nominated the three past presidents identified above, I will look for positive attitudes, selfless support, and participation. I learned early on that no matter where you are in the pyramid, if you are not present, the pyramid just does not work. Board participation is the same. Be here. Be present. Be active. If you are truly looking to make a difference with this organization for your fellow members, you will make a tremendous impact. If you are looking for a resume builder, I challenge you to really think this one over.
I cannot end this message without extending the biggest “Thank You” to Liz Phillips, our Executive Director. She’s the “wind beneath our wings.” She’s the silent warrior; always working in the foreground. She does more than she takes credit for. She’s a true cheerleader for our association, and I have learned so much from her dedication, participation, and guidance.
For those ready to serve, get ready to step out of your comfort zone. The only consolation I can offer is what I have found; tremendous growth experiences and satisfaction in service to the greater good. I know VCRA’s leadership is in good hands with incoming president Leslie Etheredge and that the growth and success we’ve experienced in the last several years will continue to flourish under her guidance.
Thank you, all, for your support these past two years. It has been the greatest pleasure for this lifelong cheerleader!!
Carol L. Naughton, RPR, CCR