My travels this year sound much like the fabled lyrics to the Johnny Cash song:
I’ve been everywhere, man. Crossed the desert’s bare, man.
I’ve breathed the mountain air, man. Of travel I’ve had my share, man.
I’ve been everywhere.
Mine was a labor of necessity. It was high time we stopped speaking to one another in the corners of the room and brought the conversation to the table. Not just the Regional Association Council table, either. To stand in front of the PPAI Board and admit that we have Associations struggling to survive was what needed to happen, and it did. The future of our continued organization is a discussion to be held by many, not by few. To decide what is best for a practitioner in this industry is only determined when you ask them, and we couldn’t find out without going and speaking to them, face-to-face. It was a lot of work, but we got it done, and I’m proud of our effort in the process.
So, now what? What happens from here?
You’ve told us what you’d like for us to do, and we are working tirelessly to create a chance for you, the community that we represent, to come together and work on the common problems with bright minds from all corners of the continent. Working together starts by understanding what kind of help is most in need, and getting the right minds together to help solve that which comes to light.
2014 and beyond have the benefit of not yet unfolding, but 2013 has the opportunity to become “the year that everything changed”. In 2013 we documented the existence of 4 Big Hairy Challenges for the regional association community:
1) Member Recruitment & Rentention
2) Leadership Recruitment
3) Alternative Revenue Streams
4) Trade Show Health
In doing so, we’ve created a unique opportunity to work together on ways to lessen the impact of these universal challenges, and focus on opportunities to improve together. We heard loud and clear your desire to create and have us facilitate a benchmarking exercise, and we are well down the path of that effort today. I cannot stress how imperative it is for us to have meaningful participation from you. This exercise belongs to you, it is merely our objective to make it happen and help everyone understand how to use the information the exercise creates in ways that help ALL regionals.
Should we be successful in our benchmarking efforts, we collectively will have a tremendous opportunity to drastically improve the value that RAC provides its constituency, and strengthen the very reason why someone might choose to participate at the Regional level.
Your RAC Board as a group has a strong sense of common purpose and an evolving skill set. With good information and collaboration I’m confident new roads will be forged and new sources of income will be identified.
I was asked recently for my feedback on this year. In reply, I suggested that my tenure as President will not be judgement worthy until some time in the future, as much of what we are trying to accomplish going forward was created in my time as President. While I can’t be assured of the success or failure of the effort, I am extremely proud of the work this Board has done in a very dynamic and often changing environment. Being on the RAC Board means something different than it did when I joined the Board and I am proud to have been a part of our transformation.
As I hand the reins over to Ted Fuehr in 2014, it becomes YOUR turn. With your input, Ted will direct our activities; we can do nothing but improve and each of you have something of value to share. While as Past President it will be my responsibility to help shape the future of our Board, I’m excited for Ted’s opportunity to seize this moment and preside over a watershed moment in Regional Association history.
Take this moment to find your own inspiration about that which you’d like to improve in our industry, and seek me out so I can help you get involved.
Until next time.