For those of you who don’t know me, I have a long history with our association and it holds a special place in my heart. I attended my first international conference in Miami in 1965. My parents took my brother and me to the conference held at the Fontainebleau Hotel. I will never forget ice skating and being able to watch people swimming through an underwater window. In 1965, I thought that was the most amazing thing ever. I attended Pittsburgh 1966, Houston 1968, Los Angeles 1970 and New Orleans 1972. I got to see the most amazing things, like Disneyland, and meet people from all over the country through Teen IAPES.
My second job after college was with Unemployment Insurance in Lexington, KY. My first week of employment I asked about joining IAPES and was told I would have to wait until the fall when the new membership recruitment began. I joined at my first opportunity. Due to the arrival of my first child, I didn’t attend any meetings that first year but my second year I attended the spring statewide conference in Louisville with my parents. I remember listening to the state chapter president give a speech and wishing I had the courage to stand up and do that. As time went by I regularly attended subchapter and state meetings. At one subchapter meeting in Ashland KY we even had Billy Ray Cyrus and his band play at our dance. He was a file clerk in UI files. I was asked to run for subchapter representative to the state board. Although my opponent asked people to vote for me – I LOST! I was crushed over that and thought maybe I was just meant to be a good member rather than a leader. However, my friends kept after me to run for office again.
Over the years I served in most capacities on the subchapter and chapter board. Kentucky was selected to host the international conference in Louisville in 1989, so I knew it was important for as many Kentucky members as possible attend and promote the 1988 conference in Chicago. That was my first adult experience at an international. Once again it was an amazing experience. I was hooked again. Since then I have attended 22 internationals. Over the years I have served as district director 3 times, international program chair, local arrangements chair, marketing and publications chair, and education chair along with serving as a member of several committees. I finally reached the point in my personal development where I actually could get up and talk before a group of people and found out they were actually listening.
This organization has been a part of my entire life. It has meant so much to my personal and professional development that I can’t even begin to describe. But more important than that are the friends I have made that have enriched my life beyond words. I love this organization, and, with your help, I believe we can bring back to the association the excitement I remember. The past year has seen a number of important changes. They are changes that the times demanded. Change isn’t easy and it isn’t painless but it is necessary. Our expanded use of social media has brought us before a new audience of potential new members. Our webinars are enabling us to offer value to everyone even if they aren’t able to attend conferences. Our new executive director has worked tirelessly to do what is necessary to breathe new life into our association. Closing the office in Frankfort, although it did bring a tear, was vitally important to reduce the overhead and the drain on precious funds. With your help and support I believe we will continue down a path that will shine with new growth and put us on the cutting edge of educating those in the workforce development field.