November 2017 President's Message

We are a diverse group of individuals who have the opportunity to come together for networking, professional development and fun!  No matter what our backgrounds or experiences are, we have the opportunity to spend time together each month enjoying good company, a good meal and excellent speakers!  As working and retired professionals, our schedules often allow us little time for ourselves.  Through membership in ABWA, we have the opportunity to join other women and spend time as the saying goes, “doing something today that our future self will thank us for” (Anonymous).

I experienced this concept recently at the ABWA National Women’s Leadership Conference which I attended with chapter members Sue Tyson-Parker and Sheryl Glore.  Sue did an amazing job with her Top 10 speech, which inspired many as she told the story of her struggles and triumphs. Kudos to you, Sue!  Sheryl is an amazing travel planner, finding the best restaurants and things to do!  There was never a dull moment, and a treasure trove of great flavors and experiences to be remembered for a lifetime, not to mention a whole lot of fun!  You could not ask for better travel companions! I hope you will consider going with us next year to the NWLC in Augusta, Georgia.

In addition, I love those “Aha” moments that occur when we hear something profound.  We may have heard it many times before, but this time it sticks!  The session that stands out most in my mind from the national conference was the 21stCentury Women’s Leadership track.  I have attended a lot of leadership training in my career and the three ladies that lead this session are excellent presenters.  What stood out most for me was when one of the speakers was talking about the importance as a leader in our communications to help people know that first you recognize where they are and what they are going through instead of rehearsing in your head what you are going to say back to them.  I know I am very guilty of this.  I want to immediately jump in and solve the issue.  This is truly not listening.  The presenter advised us to first acknowledge with words that describe what you see and then give them an opportunity to express and get out what they are feeling. For instance, “I can see you are struggling with…, tell me more.”  Or, “I heard you say…, that is so exciting.”  Help them first to be heard.   That was my “Aha” moment from the conference.  Have you had any “Aha” moments lately? 

I look forward to seeing all of you at the holiday dinner.  It will be a great evening of music, storytelling and awesome food as we start into the holiday season.  Bring your friends and have some fun!  You deserve it!

~ Cindy Schmitt


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