Breeda, Mimi, and Eleni. Just three of my many mentors in my years on the NSA Michigan Board

“Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life.”
~ Pythagoras

“Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present your 2018/2019 President and Board of Directors for the Michigan Chapter of the National Speakers Association”

With those words I complete my four year odyssey as a member of the Board. I have been the Vice President of Programming, President Elect, President, and, finally, Immediate Past President. Now I walk off that stage and take on a new role as a simple member.

Oh, but what I have gained in that time.

If you are considering a your first Board position, please let me encourage you. Yes, it will be a lot of work, but your will walk away with so much more than you contribute. Sure, you’ll develop great connections with your business. You will have the opportunity to give back to the organization. Heck, you might even pick up some business. The biggest rewards, though, as they say, are the intangibles.

For all my efforts, this is what I gained.

  • From Sherene McHenry who served as my Immediate Past when I was President, I learned leadership. She taught me how to be an authority without being a bully.
  • From Mimi Brown, Director of Marketing, I learned courage. Mimi never met a cliff that was too high to climb.
  • From Breeda Miller, the President I swore in today, I learned innovation. She never believed that we had to do things the way we had always done them and proved we could forge new paths time and again.
  • From Eleni Kelakos, who, while we never served on the Board at the same time, I learned generosity. She is always there with a word of advice or a compassionate ear.
  • From Kurt Kazanowski, Director of Membership, I learned the importance of delegation. When you spend half your life on the road, you can’t do it all yourself.
  • From Ken Wachsberger, VP of Programming and editor of my book, I learned that asking for critique from the right people can only make you better in the end.
  • From Amy Jones, our amazing Administrator, I learned patience and the ability to see the long view. Having watched so many Presidents and Boards come and go over the years, she taught me that the bad situations tend to fade in time.
  • From Penny Rosema, the first President under whom I served, I learned to face challenges with serenity.
  • From all the past Presidents who responded to my call, I learned to value and cherish the people with whom I worked and to ask first “How are you?” before I asked “What did you get done?”

My entire four years was a classroom and the people with whom I served were my teachers, mentors, and friends — and still are. They made me a better speaker, a better leader, and a better person. If you are considering serving on a Board, I truly believe you will experience lessons that you, too, can treasure and grow from in the years to come.

There’s an old saying: “If you are the smartest person in the room, you need to find a different room.” I’m truly grateful to NSA Michigan for giving me the opportunity to be in the right room for the last four years.