Get to know me, really

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I do government relations for an association, have my CAE, and a DELP scholar. However, I think it’s time to open up about the other aspects of this association advocacy chick. So here are some fun facts about yours truly.

1. I’m a middle child. I have an older sister and younger brother.
2. I learned how to drive at 21 and got my license the day after I graduated from GW.
3. To say I love to dance is a major understatement. I literally dance everyday.
4. My family used to own a motor home we used for family vacations in the summer. We got rid of it when I got my first car.
5. I’m a native Washingtonian. Yes, we do exist.
6. My life has a diverse soundtrack from Stevie Wonder to Green Day and everything in between. Music is a part of me as if it was another hand or extra foot.
7. I never had a grandmother growing up. Both my paternal and maternal grandmothers passed before I was born.
8. The spelling of my first name comes from the actress Stefanie Powers.
9. My Dad calls me Stevie and is the only person allowed to do so.
10. I love to travel. My favorite cities include Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago and New Orleans.
11. I was painfully shy growing up and was bullied because of it. It makes me appreciate the work my association does on anti-bullying efforts that much more.

Want to learn more? Follow me on Twitter, @sjreeves

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Finding Artesha: How DELP helped me connect with my authentic self – Guest Post by Artesha Moore

I consider myself fortunate to be surrounded by talent.  This week’s AAC post is from a rising star within DELP and the Association community.  Her name is Artesha Moore and she’s Senior Director of Membership and Technology Services for APIC, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology in Washington, DC.  Artesha is a member of the 2010-2012 DELP class and one of the most honest, straightforward people you’ll ever want to meet.  It took a little arm-twisting friendly persuasion to get her to write a post for me, but in the end, it was worth it. 

Stef

 

Almost six years ago, I started to hide my authentic professional self in order to fit into someone else’s perception of a successful executive. My authentic style is driven, analytical, people-oriented, down-to-earth, fun and funny. Some of these traits were not seen as professional or entrepreneurial. Instead, I was expected to bury my colorful, vibrant personality and uniqueness to become an executive clone (think of the robots in Will Smith’s movie I, Robot). Being ambitious and driven, I tried to do just that. I failed horribly, which resulted in anxiety, lack of confidence and feeling that I was losing my true self.

At the beginning of 2010, I decided it was time to get back me. I also wanted to find other association executives who could share ideas to help me reach my goals. I decided to apply for ASAE’s Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP). During the application process, I decided that whether or not I was accepted, I would apply as Artesha and not as the robot clone. I completed the application with gusto! Funny thing, after going through the process, I could not go back the clone version of me. It felt good to bring myself to the table; no more hiding for me.

When I got the acceptance letter, I actually cried. The tears symbolized the cleansing of my spirit, as well as the feeling of being accepted for who and what I am. I felt empowered, challenged and inspired. DELP does not change you; instead, it gives you an opportunity to connect and shine. It is really up to you. You get out of the program what you put into it. However, if you want personal and professional growth, the opportunity is there.

Today, I am more confident in my own skin at work. I walk with more confidence and pride and business intelligence than I did as the robot clone. It has caused some of my colleagues to treat me differently, not always fondly, since I reconnected with my authentic voice. I no longer look to them for approval; instead, I am a part of a rich community that embraces and encourages me. DELP has helped me connect with new ideas, new energy and new ways to shine.

As Anna Quinden says “the thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself“.  I would go a step further and say that finding a community that accepts and encourages you for who and what you are is truly amazing!

 Applications for the 2011-2013 DELP class are due Friday March 18.  If you’re interested in learning more about the program or would like to apply, please visit the DELP section of the ASAE website: http://www.asaecenter.org/Community/content.cfm?ItemNumber=45968

No, I’m not a (fill in the blank).

My career in association government relations spans 16 years with 11 of those representing individual members.  If there’s one question I get asked more often than not, it’s this…

Are you a member of the association? 

When I reply “no”, it’s usually followed up with “Why?”.  I then proceed with this long soliloquy about lobbying being its own profession and how we develop policy that benefits the members.  Depending on who I was speaking to, the reaction would either be ohh (positively) or ohh (negatively).  Regardless, there seems to be some thought that only members of an association make the best lobbyists.

Members are great advocates for an association’s issue.  They are the content experts on particular issues and the ones who can make the best case for or against a bill.  One can look at ASAE’s recent advocacy efforts with the 1099 repeal as an example of members getting involved with association advocacy.   However, professional lobbying also plays an important role in associations.

Lobbyists can identify a particular need and draft legislation based on it.  For example, in a previous job, we discovered that medicare beneficiaries who needed speech therapy had to go to a rehabilitation facility for those services.  However, those who needed physical or occupational therapy could get those services in the comfort and privacy of their own home.  So we crafted legislation to expand access to speech services.  As the lobbying staff, we were responsible for the technical aspects of the bill (i.e. how much would it cost the government to implement, how many people would be affected, etc…).   We were also responsible for getting congressional support for our issue which means many days running around Capitol Hill.   Members were brought in later in the process to give their testimonies of why this policy change would benefit them and the patients they serve.  When the bill finally passed, we recognized it for what it was: a perfect collaboration between the lobbyists and association members. 

Sure, having the member experience can be useful in lobbying.  However, it’s not necessary.  Professional lobbying provides associations a great opportunity to work with their local, state and federal legislators to improve the lives of our members and the people they serve.