President's Corner for April 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Some of my friends thought for sure something must have come over me as it was not July 4th but my Facebook status on Thursday, April 7 was about me being proud to be an American. After participating in a criminal trial as a juror, I appreciate living in a country where I matter and I “count” as a citizen. My vote at an election counts and because I am an eligible citizen, I can serve as a juror. Voluntary participation of the majority is what makes the system work. And while the American system is nowhere perfect, the good news is that it is better than most. Yes, I am proud to be an American.

If you excuse me to use the same analogy, AHEAD can and will work if we all participate voluntarily. AHEAD may not be perfect, but we can continue to work together to make it better. It is election time for AHEAD; an opportunity for us to choose our next set of leaders. I congratulate Jamie Axelrod, our incoming President. We need someone to work with Jamie as he has worked with me over the last two years. Please take time to elect colleagues for Directors at Large and the President Elect for this session. And right after that, we will also have time to recognize the good work of our colleagues by nominating them for the different awards.

This is likely my last HUB message as the President of this wonderful organization. What a wonderful opportunity you, the members of this organization, have afforded me! Thank you for your generous contributions of talents and continued commitment to this organization we all love. Being in this position has given me the opportunity to better appreciate how committed the membership is, and how engaged many of you are and continue to be. There are many who work behind the scenes and many more who do remarkable work. To one and all, I say thank you. It is only through the generosity of the volunteers that we are able to realize efficiency as we work with very small staff. I have learned and grown in the last four years and together, we have accomplished a lot.

I am thankful for the Board members who are committed to ensuring that we are true to what we were elected to achieve and volunteer their time to work on different aspects. I appreciate the time they spend away from their desks and their families to enrich the association. I am thankful to the Standing Committee Chairs and for all the work they do to help give focus and direction on their areas of focus. I am thankful to the SIG chairs and for the leadership and forum they provide in the different areas. I am thankful to each one of the conference leaders—the local and program chair and co-chairs; for the laser focus and attention they provide to ensure that members have great time of learning and socializing. I am thankful to the liaisons to many organizations, for the work they do as they continue to present and elevate AHEAD at different tables to make our voice and our work relevant. I am thankful to the JPED leadership and editorial board for promoting good scholarship and research. I am thankful to the Affiliates and the work they do to support the needs of members in their region and the manner in which they support the fundraising for our scholarship efforts. Your work helps extend the reach of the organization. I am thankful to all our Management Institute trainers; thank you for sharing your skills and knowledge at the different places where we need you. I am thankful to the AHEAD staff who work incredibly hard to provide so many services for every facet of the Association and for your dedication to this organization and its membership. I am thankful for the past presidents who have reached out to me and offered confidence, encouragement, counsel, mentorship, and friendship. And finally, I am thankful to the membership for your trust and encouragement throughout my tenure as President of this great organization. I am a beneficiary of the generosity of many of you. AHEAD cannot function without each of these parts and because we all work together we can accomplish more. Let us continue to do so for many years to come.

In closing, I thank the 2016 Conference planners, presenters, and proposal reviewers. I also thank our partner, pepnet2 for their collaboration over the years and their joint efforts at this upcoming conference. I join Jill Sieben-Schneider and Chris Stone (Program Co-Chairs) and Robert Plienis (Local Chair) in looking forward to seeing everyone for a time of great learning and fun in Indianapolis.

Remember to vote when that time comes. Increased engagement and participation will move us forward.

Many many thanks,
Bea Awoniyi