2017 Conference Reflections
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Board members and staff pictured (from left to right): Keith Timko, Jeff Branch, Molly Penn, Anne Yurasek, Marissa Q. Paine, Carlo Cuesta, Curdina Hill, and Cindy Leonard
As I reflect on our national conference, I can’t help but smile as I am reminded of the conversations, learning, laughter, and powerful moments that I had the honor of experiencing with those who attended our conference in Grand Rapids. There was an energy and a buzz among our attendees. People were excited to connect with each other, to learn about each other’s work and perspectives, and to “break bread” together as a community. And we did just that…
The conference kicked off with a welcome breakfast where Marissa Paine, our Interim Executive Director, Keith Timko, our Conference Chair, and I shared our perspectives about how the hashtag #iamthealliance resonates with us. Our stories and journeys to finding our passion in the work of capacity building were different but there was a common thread: Each of us believe strongly that the Alliance for Nonprofit Management is our community of colleagues, our peers, and our mentors. We stressed how our organization is the only association that welcomes all those who interested in the field, those who would like to contribute to the field and those interested in growing their own skills and improving their practices.
Each day was filled with workshops and sessions that introduced new ideas, shared practitioner experiences in the field, reflected on findings from research efforts, and allowed attendees to consider how they would weave this new knowledge into their work in their communities. We also had the opportunity to support one another, build relationships, and deepen our connection to our professional community.
For me, our annual member meeting held on Friday brought the whole conference together. As I looked out at the audience, I watched people greet each other warmly, engage in providing feedback on our emerging priorities for the coming year with excitement, and consider how they could contribute to ensuring the Alliance continues to become a best-in-class professional association for those interested in furthering the field of capacity building. My call to action was simple: one member, two members, or three members cannot do it alone. Our organization will thrive if each member brings their passion, their curiosity, and their experiences to our national conversation.
There is much news to share and I hope that if you were not able to be with us in Grand Rapids, that you will join one of our upcoming Member Updates to learn more about where we are headed and how you can engage.