I remember the exact moment when I knew I wanted to be President of MPI’s Greater New York Chapter. It was roughly four years ago and I was sitting across the table from then President-Elect, Dan Paradiso. We were discussing my involvement for the upcoming year and I told him I wanted to be the next President-Elect. He chuckled. Then it dawned on me this was not an option as I had never been a Director or a VP and, in fact, had only been a chapter member for about two years.
To be honest with you, back then I didn’t know what it would take to a run this chapter but I did know one thing for sure, I knew without a doubt that I could make a difference. That year I applied to be President-Elect and I actually became VP, Programming. The next year I applied again to be President-Elect and I ended up becoming VP, Finance. And then, finally, the following year…third time’s a charm…I received the President-Elect nomination. So here I am the 2012 - 2013 MPI Greater New York Chapter President!
I could not be more excited to be leading this chapter at this moment in time. It’s time for change. It’s time to get back to basics. It’s time to listen, to ask why, to re-define the vision and to provide real value for your membership dollars. And there is no better team in place than the 2012-2013 Board of Directors, all of whom share my passion. These dedicated professionals have agreed to operate with two values. First, to keep an open mind to new ideas and second, to foster an environment of trust and accountability. Yes, it’s that simple and it starts with them. But it certainly doesn’t stop there.
The Board and I know that our overall membership numbers have declined in the past few years. Our annual survey, distributed by MPI International back in March, indicates that we could be doing better in many areas. We know that your chapter experience, whether it be at the membership level or leadership level, is not always what you want it to be. We have even heard that the vision of MPI International has come into question and that there are uncertainties as to the direction in which the association is headed. That said, we are doing some things well. We kicked off our July fiscal year with the Annual Golf Tournament sponsored by Destination Quebec and, by all accounts and despite the bad weather, it was a huge success. In August, we partnered with HSMAI and 13 other associations for Summer Bash 2012, to provide a supersized networking event that attracted over 500 industry professionals. This is a start, but we know we have much more work to do.
I have a vision for this association and know that I can make a difference. However, I also understand that the Board and I cannot do it alone. This is where we need your help. Do you want more out of your membership experience? Then get involved. Be a part of the conversation. Host an education event. Join a committee. Answer a survey. Attend a Board Meeting. Be a voice that tells our story. Be a part of the solution. Bottom line: the more you put in, the more you will get out. Together we can make a difference.
Have faith in us. You have my promise that I will do everything in my power to run this chapter like a business by ensuring that all decisions made by the Board of Directors are made on your behalf, with your best interest in mind. I don’t think for a minute that it is going to be easy but I do know it is going to be rewarding. This is an exciting time for the Greater New York Chapter, for MPI International and our industry as a whole.
Recently I returned from St. Louis where the overall theme of WEC 2012 was “Creating the New Connectivity”. This got me thinking of how important it is for chapter leadership to do a better job connecting with our membership. In fact, we all need to improve our connectivity with each other for it is connections that power our ideas, our businesses and our spirits. So instead of hearing my thoughts on WEC, take a minute and connect with Greater New York Chapter members who attended and unleash the peer power from WEC 2012, click here.
Personally, WEC was an intense conference. I learned so much that will certainly help me in my role as Chapter President. At the Chapter Leaders Forum, I listened to Cindy D’Aoust, interim CEO of MPI, speak about the pivotal role chapters play in the overall success of MPI. Through discussions with other Chapter Presidents and advisors, I learned valuable information regarding what it takes to ensure a chapter remains vibrant to its members. From these conversations it became clear to me that I needed to change some of our plans, fine tune a few of our goals and redefine some action steps for the upcoming year. All of the details will be outlined in September, however, let me share one of the most important goals we have in the area of Leadership Development. Our goal is to have 146 active volunteers by June 30, 2013. To achieve this, we need you! Consider this your personal invitation to become part of the team that makes our chapter the best it can be. In addition, you will make important industry connections while enhancing your own professional development. To join a committee or become a committee chair, click here.
In closing, I will leave you with one thought: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead. I am honored to be your President, leading a team that will create a richer, more valuable experience for our members and I am looking forward to a powerful year.
Meghan Schilt, CMP
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