The seven lessons I learned in 2011

Things will go wrong and that’s okay

Last week was not exactly a stellar week for me.  I moderated a webinar where the first 10 minutes were marred by a glitch in the software.  The meeting I hosted was delayed 15 minutes as we scrambled to connect a participant via conference call.  On Saturday, I  thought my car had been stolen at the mall only to have security locate it using their cameras. I bought the wrong yogurt. I lost one of my favorite hats. I used to beat myself up relentlessly over things like this.  Now, I take a deep breath and push forward.

Rejection can never be the final answer

I submitted a proposal for ASAE11 only to have it rejected. It was my first experience doing an RFP for any ASAE conference and I swore to never do it again.  Except I did.  I submitted a proposal for the healthcare associations conference and it was accepted.  I submitted a proposal for Ignite at annual and it was accepted.  I just submitted proposals for ASAE12.  Even if neither of them are accepted, I now know it’s foolish to give up so easily.

I am surrounded by greatness 

When I think of the people who I regularly interact with, I can’t help but to feel overwhelmed by how good they are.  Whether it’s the association community or my APA colleagues, I’m connected to passionate, kind, hardworking, thoughtful people.

I still don’t give myself enough credit

I freely admit that it’s hard for me to take a compliment. As someone who has heard all sorts of things from “you’re ugly” to “you’ll never find a better job”, getting the opposite feedback is a little hard to take.  I had my performance review earlier this month and still can’t believe the things that were being said about me.  I know I’m a good worker so why is it hard for me to believe it when someone else says it?  Never fear, this is something I’m actively working on.

It’s time for DELP to step up

Whether you’re a current Scholar or alumni, it’s time we emerge from the shadows of the association community.  We didn’t make this journey into DELP to hide away from giving back.  We are capable, we are powerful and dammit we belong here.

I can make time for the things that are important to me

This year, I’ve made a serious effort towards a healthier lifestyle.  I exercise 60 minutes per day 6 days a week.  How do I do it?  I break it down between morning and evening workouts.  I’ve blocked out time on my calendar to attend regular meditation classes.  Whenever possible, I’ve pushed back meetings so I can participate in Tuesday’s Association Chat on Twitter.  If I want something bad enough, I will move heaven and earth to do it and still get a good night’s rest.

I do have enough content for a blog

When I first started my blog, my biggest fear was not having enough to say.  However, that fear was never realized.  Right now I have a running list of 30 topics to choose from if I ever get stuck. Many inspired by daily interactions, others by some of my fellow bloggers.  Either way, I think I should have enough to talk about in 2012.  Doesn’t seem to be much going on next year anyway ;).

As we wind down to the Holidays, I’m going to take some time to reflect, sleep, write, dream and get a facial. To those who came across Association Advocacy Chick in 2011 either by choice or circumstance, thank you for your support.  Without you, this blog would not exist.  Best wishes for a fantastic 2012.  You deserve it.



Same script, different cast?

I like college football.  But, for the life of me, I do not understand the Bowl Championship Series also known as the BCS.  The BCS was created with the understanding that 10 of the top ranked teams would be showcased as the top two teams battle it out for the National Title.  While we can all agree that the top two teams should have the honor of playing for the #1 ranking, the selection process for the other 8 teams is a bit hazy.  So much so that those involved are accused of making at-large selections solely based on potential TV ratings and the ability to fill hotels.  In other words, teams with better name recognition have a greater chance of getting into a preferred bowl game than teams without.

When we’re thinking about speakers for association conferences, are we following the same model?  We all want someone engaging, thoughtful and intelligent as speakers.  If they also have name recognition in the community, well that’s icing on the cake.  However, what about those who are just as good, if not better, but not as well-known?  Being invisible can be a harsh reality for someone looking for their opportunity to shine.  What are we doing to make sure the Boise States of the association community get their moment in the spotlight?

Lobbying is not a four-letter word

Earlier today, I attended a breakfast at ASAE with some of my government relations colleagues.  Our guest speaker was Anna Palmer, a reporter for PoliticoPolitico, as you would imagine, covers national and international politics.  Anna’s beat is the world I live in, lobbying.

During the discussion, someone commented on the use of the words lobbying and advocacy in the news.  Specifically, they noticed that when the story carried a negative tone, lobbying and lobbyists are used.  When the story is more upbeat, advocacy and advocates are used.  Don’t believe me?  Watch the recent 60 Minutes interview with Jack Abramoff.  Lobbyists are referred to as crooked and arrogant.  Abramoff even used the word moral as if the majority of lobbyists are corrupt.  The word advocate?  Yup, never mentioned.

However, don’t be fooled: they mean the same thing. Government Relations, Advocacy, Lobbying.  All three describe the work that I do for my association.  However, the word lobbying has been twisted into something short of an epithet.  We have presidential candidates who insist they’re not lobbyists but acting as concerned citizens (Hi Newt!).  I have colleagues who have lobbied for years, but insist that they be called consultants.  We’re at the point where we encourage our association members to go to Capitol Hill as advocates not lobbyists because advocacy is good and lobbying is bad.

This madness has got to stop.  Lobbying is not a bad word.  It’s protected by the Constitution. It has helped bring about positive change.  There’s way more good in lobbying than bad. It’s time we take our word back from those who misuse it.