I’m thankful for my parents Jean and James and my siblings, Tasha and James Jr. even during those times when I swear I was adopted.

I’m thankful for being single when I could be trapped in a loveless relationship.  I know that very soon, I will be with that one great guy.

I’m thankful for my health and wellbeing.  There’s room for improvement, but I’m happy that I’m on my way to finding my physical and mental health sweet spot.

I’m thankful for having a career that I love as a lobbyist.  I’ve had more good employers than bad.  I’ve had more good bosses than bad.  I have a job I enjoy that pays me a livable wage that allows me to bless others.  Not too many can say that even in a good economy.

I’m thankful for my friends.  Those I grew up with.  Those I met only a few months ago. Whether we met through mutual friends or work, you all mean the world to me.  I’m especially thankful for Reed Franklin and Hoey Best, two friends who are no longer here in body, but will always be here in spirit.

I’m thankful for the association community.  Despite the challenges we face, we are committed to helping one another learn, grow, and succeed.  If it wasn’t for you, this blog wouldn’t exist.

Finally, I’m thankful for you.  Those who read this blog.  Those who tweet or retweet the posts.  Those who contribute as guest bloggers or commentators.  Those who found this blog by accident.

Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes for the happiest, healthiest holiday season imaginable.


What blogging and the Foo Fighters taught me about acceptance

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending Progress U’s Blogger Summit (PUBS) sponsored by DelCor Technology Solutions. Led by the lovely and talented KiKi L’Italien, I spent an entire day learning from some of the best association bloggers in the world (yes, they’re that good). How can you miss with a line up that included Maddie Grant, Jamie Notter, Maggie McGary, Jeff De Cagna, and Deirdre Reid? Topics included developing content, using blogs for advocacy (LOVE!), getting motivated to blog and so much more. Not only did I attend the summit, I was also asked to speak on a couple of panels. At that point, I started doubting myself. I don’t have the experience (or followers) of the other speakers. I’m a newbie. What could I possibly add to this conversation?  For all of my bellyaching, I put my fears aside and contributed. Turns out, people did care about what I had to say.

The following evening marked an important milestone for this music fan: my first Foo Fighters concert. I’m not a fan of alternative rock, but I love this group. The music is just so good. When I saw them on SNL, I swore that their concert will be my next big rock show after seeing U2 in Baltimore over the summer. Little did I know that Foo would shortly thereafter schedule a stop at the Verizon Center. Since most of my friends do not share my schizophrenic taste in music, I got my single ticket in Section 118, row w, seat 7. As I walked into the venue, I suddenly felt nervous. Clearly, I was going to be in the minority in so many ways at this concert. However, after two hours and 45 minutes of singing, dancing and laughing at Dave Grohl, the only person who cared that I was the only black person in that section was me.

I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. These events took place because I needed to learn once again that yes, I did belong. No one at the blogger summit or the concert cared about my years of experience or race. The only thing that mattered was that I wanted to be there to take part in this shared experience. Thank you PUBS and Foo for showing me acceptance in its purest form.

The following is an association fairy tale or is it?

Once upon a time, there was an association princess who had a task force report magically dropped into her lap. She reviewed it and discovered a number of wonderful new projects based on the results. With the help of her fairy godmother (her boss), the association princess set out to spread the word of the report findings to her subjects (the members and general public). Soon, proclamations (legislation, media outreach and congressional briefings) were trumpeted throughout the kingdom. The subjects were very grateful to the association princess for the good work she was doing. This did not sit well with the wicked witch (the staff liaison to the task force) who hated the report and quite honestly, the association princess. The wicked witch tried in vain to get rid of both. However, protected by her fairy godmother, the association princess’ efforts continued to thrive.

All the attention she received led to an invitation to the Ball.  There, the association princess met the handsome prince (an award) who fawned over the good work she did with the task force report. Her fairy godmother spread the word far and wide (by email) about the association princess’ good fortune. The wicked witch was pissed. “If it wasn’t for MY report, she would never have the prince!” she remarked. The fairy godmother responded, “When you no longer cared about the task force report and dropped it into the association princess’ lap, it was no longer your report.” Stung by the fairy godmother’s tongue-lashing, the wicked witch retreated to her evil lair (her large corner office).

And the association princess lived happily ever after (or until the wicked witch decides to go after her again).

What Prince can teach us about association management – the movie

During ASAE11 in August, I had the honor of participating in one of the two Ignite sessions. Preparing for Ignite was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. That said, I highly encourage everyone to do it at least once. It’s amazing how creative you can be when you’re given 5 minutes and 20 slides that auto advance every 15 seconds to make your point.

IMHO, the Ignite sessions were among the best at ASAE. Each speaker brought a passion to their topic that’s rarely seen during a presentation. As someone in the audience pointed out, you rarely heard “umm” or “ah” as we spoke. We all put a lot of time and effort into our presentations and it showed. When you get a free moment, please check them out. In the meantime, here’s my presentation on lessons on association management from the artist currently known as Prince.