This month my first Letter From the Chair was published in the AESP member magazine Strategies. I was excited to share my thoughts with the membership and wanted to make sure that those beyond my AESP circle could also learn a bit more about why AESP is so important to me.
There are those big moments in life that seem so far away and then suddenly they are at your doorstep in the blink of an eye. Events like your child’s first day of kindergarten. There they are, a babe in your arms, and then – blink – they are waving at you from the classroom door. That is how I feel about becoming the AESP Board Chair. It seems like only moments ago I was pondering running for the board, seconds ago I was selected as Chair Elect, and now here I am, taking on the role as Chair. I am humbled by this opportunity. Serving on the AESP Board has been a labor of love and being selected Chair is a pinnacle moment in my career.
My industry colleagues often ask me how I find the time to volunteer for AESP. They ask, is it worth it? I typically confess that it never feels like work, it feels like a privilege for me. I have always gotten more back than I have put in to AESP. AESP offers an amazing opportunity for members willing to take full advantage of their membership. This next year I hope to help each of you take full advantage of what AESP can offer.
It’s easy to say “I am so busy, there is so much else to do, I just don’t have time.” Here is why you should make time for AESP. This past year I launched my own company with my partner Anne Dougherty. Launching ILLUME required insane courage, more than I could ever have imagined. If it were not for the support of my AESP board colleagues, the lessons they shared with me, the mentors I gained, the networks and friendships I developed in expo halls, sessions and hallways, I would not have been brave enough to take that leap.
This past year the board spent a few days on intensive strategic planning. As part of that, we came up with what we called our “big hairy audacious goal” for AESP – we want AESP to be the community that is essential for building professional and industry success.
For me, AESP has been that essential community; I truly believe without my involvement in AESP I would not have had the courage to launch my own firm. So what is your professional dream? Is it to grow in your company, to find the next opportunity, to start your own firm, to be a go-to expert? No matter what your dream is, I promise you that AESP provides the foundation on which to build your professional dreams. All you have to do is take full advantage of all that membership offers. AESP gave me a network, a venue, a safety net, and courage to create my own professional vision. It gave me everything I needed to grow and, in turn, support the industry that I love. I hope over the course of my time as chair I can help AESP do the same for all its members.