ASTD’s Eastern PA chapter is in a period of growth and change. So this week, it’s a great time for reflection on the anniversary of our chapter’s 49th year to see not only where we’ve been, but where we’re headed. We started small but. . .well, small. And now we’re trying to live up to our new slogan: “small, but mighty!” Next month, we’ll kick off the run-up to our 50th year by talking about our Golden Anniversary Event, but this month we want to take inventory before we forge ahead into new territory.
First, let’s step back so we can see the wide screen, national view of where we are. We had a few organizational issues at a national level that needed to be ironed out so ASTD could run more smoothly, and in concert with national and other chapters across the country, those issues have been attacked and resolved with a lot of effort on the part of some very energetic and dedicated people around the country, including some right here in our home chapter.
As part of the national organization’s efforts to address some housekeeping items head-on, we’ve been out in front helping chapters across the country build their new Wild Apricot websites online. We’re also working with national to get our membership database organized in a way that makes it easy to use for those administering it and for our members who use it. Our President Rick Kerner, VP of Technology Rachel Kubel, and VP of Membership Anita Freeman have been putting in overtime, over coffee in the evenings, working on the member database transition for our chapter. Now, our members should be able to log in, create a personal profile online, and keep track of your membership status on your own. It’s easy, but if you have questions or problems, send us an email on the board contact page and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
Next, let’s take a closeup look at what our chapter’s been doing over the last few years. We have a strong board of involved people who are working hard to keep the programs coming at you. Our VP of Programs, Suzanne Weaver, should be insured by Lloyd’s of London, as she maps out over 80 meetings a year for our chapter, and in some cases organizes them right down to whether your snacks come in a box or on a plate. For those of us who love our snacks, peppered with interesting speakers and lively networking events, Suzanne is doing a great job and deserves our applause and support.
We’ve got lots of other board members doing jobs behind the scenes that keep those cards and letters coming over your email everyday (Hi, Andy Cook, VP of Communications) and some who are making sure people in the Greater Lehigh Valley know what we’re doing (Hey, VP of Marketing, Gus Garcia). We also have those indispensible board members who are picking up all those little duties that need attention like VP of Operations, Kim Wright (many of you may remember her as Kim Weissbein) who fill in to facilitate meetings and jump in to check reports and organize data to keep things running smoothly and according to our CORE operating principles.
Then, of course, there is the person who sits in the board seat where so much of the action is really centered in a professional organization like ours – the VP of Professional Development, Dr. Bill Kleintop, the Associate Dean of Business and Management Programs at Moravian College. Dr. Bill is one of a handful of academic and subject matter experts leading an 11-chapter CPLP study group over the next four months for more than 50 ASTD national members who are working toward the CPLP exam in the fall. I am one of five Eastern PA chapter members in the program, and it is a lot of work supported by an incredible amount of real-time and virtual learning supports. The CPLP study group experience in itself is a microcosm of how to do adult learning well. We’re using workbooks as the basis for our body of knowledge, online classroom sessions, online document storage, two instructor-led training sessions, and plenty of opportunities to interact online with other students using discussion groups in LinkedIn. We even have a Twitter hashtag (#CPLPstudygroup). It’s adult experiential learning at its best. Even if you didn’t read the materials, you’d learn a lot about best practices just by being part of the study group. I’ll be blogging more about the CPLP later. For now, I wanted to give everyone a glimpse of a very exciting program this year to advance our professional credentialing, that hopefully, we will repeat in subsequent years.
Gee, why would we use our 49th Anniversary blog to extol the virtues of our hardworking board? We have a very bright membership, and you have probably figured out by now that, while there is a faithful and hardworking core, we need more!
In 2010, we reorganized our finances online using Quickbooks and an online banking system. Now, in a few minutes a month, we enter our expenses, add our deposits, reconcile our bank account and send the report to our board in advance of our monthly meeting. Now that we’re set up, we are seeking applications for a VP of Finance to take over this task. Also, some board members will be moving around or moving off in the next year or two, and we want to invite others to step up and contribute new ideas to keep the programming and events fresh and relevant. The world keeps changing, and we want to keep getting better along with it. After all, learning and knowledge management is what keeps organizations moving ahead. We have lots of volunteer positions at the director’s level where people can learn the ropes and decide if they want to become more involved and take on a permanent board position.
We have some people in directors’ chairs right now doing some cool things: Jim Byrnes is our Director of Volunteers and you may find yourself strong-armed (or sweet-talked?) into helping out with an event or a task by Jim one of these days. Zach Zavadel is heading up our Talent Management Special Interest Group where a lot of meaty discussion takes place. If you’re up in the Poconos or Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area and don’t want to travel to the Lehigh Valley for an event, the Pocono Geographic Interest Group brings a road show re-enactment of some events to the northeastern corner of the state with Kate Jendral acting as our Pocono GIG director. For internal best practice SIGs, Joan Zachary of Martin Guitar puts together topics of interest every other month; and for external consultants, Pat Abel leads a Consultant’s Forum in conjunction with the Reading Area Trainers Organization (RATO) and an ex-board president and founder of the Consultant’s Forum, Marilyn Marles, is our board liaison director for the CF.
As we wrap up our 49th year, we sure are proud of all we’ve got going on. But we also are daunted by the amount of things we could be doing and want to do to keep this organization vital and relevant for another 50 years. If you’ve got energy and ideas to share, we invite you to “C'mon down!”