Thursday, March 17, 2016

Nashville... Here I Come!

I’m an only child, but in some ways – I have more brothers and sisters than you can count.  They’re my APRA brothers and sisters and they’ve been a big part of my life for many years.  I haven’t seen some of them in a few years, but hope to catch up with as many of them as possible come late July.

Yes!  After not attending an APRA conference since 2012 – I’m excited to say, I’ll be there in Nashville for the APRA International Conference on Prospect Development.  It’s been far too long; the longest stretch I’ve ever had between conferences and I need this in a big way.

In 2012, my term was ending as a member of the APRA Board of Directors and I was about to start a new job at the University of California, Irvine. It will be nearly four years and a lot has happened during that time and now here I am. 

For three years, I was knee deep in “stuff.”  Some of it was great and some of it was definitely challenging.  I was busy working, and managing a growing team of seven analysts.  Even though I was surrounded by prospect development professionals, I often felt isolated because I wasn’t connecting with my long-time APRA brothers and sisters during that time.  It was even rare for me to make it to a CARA event during that time. 

Something happens to us when we become disconnected from our friends and colleagues in the field.  I believe we start to become run down and sometimes we even struggle.  Not having the opportunity to connect with people going through the same things is not the way to travel through your work life. 

I don’t know about you, but I need to connect with my APRA family as often as I can.  There’s something special about seeing smiling faces who are glad to see you and can’t wait to catch up.  It’s fun when you are learning together in an environment that’s all about collaboration and sharing.  It’s energizing to see what’s new, what’s working and what’s coming.

I’ve enjoyed every APRA conference I’ve ever attended and I always come away a little more knowledgeable, inspired, and energized.  There’s value in all of that and APRA definitely provides that. 

I don’t know who’s going just yet and I’m not even sure which sessions I will be attending, but I can go with great expectations and I know I won’t be disappointed.

APRA is essential to our professional and personal growth.  It’s where the learning curve was reduced for me. It’s where I realized that I can do this work.  It’s where I decided I wanted to do this work. 

It’s where we meet leaders in our field who are accessible and willing to share.  It’s where relationships are built and networks are developed. 

Sound too good to be true?  Trust me on this.  Even major gift officers who attend find it to be among the best conference they’ve ever been to.  You want to learn about best practices?  You want to know about what’s on the cutting edge?  How about some case studies?  It’s all there. 

I cannot overemphasize the value of attending the APRA conference.  It’s so valuable that some colleagues have paid their own way there because missing it was not an option. 

You need this.  I need this.  We all need this.  Now… let’s go!

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