By Roland Rhynus, CRA, FAHRA
July 2011–It’s July (already) and we’re celebrating Independence Day. What fun it is to celebrate our country’s heritage, to revel in all things accomplished by those who went before and envisioned what we could become and how best to get there. We make progress by uniting in common cause and engaging and supporting those who we lead. And let’s not forget the food! I’m sure by the time you’re reading this; you are likely trying to figure out what you’ll have to go without over the next few weeks in order to reduce the gains from barbecuing with family and friends.
The annual All Star baseball game is another July event. We tune in to see who was selected and to support our favorite players. But here is where we forgo the ardent support of “our team” and just root for the game, because it’s July and this is baseball!
How is celebrating our country and baseball parallel to celebrating our AHRA? Almost one year ago, I wrote about my focus as president for the year ahead. Three things I wanted us to work on were:
- Analyzing our heritage. Who are our All Stars and how has the AHRA impacted their careers?
- Membership growth outside the traditional boundaries. What can each of us do to increase membership, which is the engine that drives AHRA?
- Membership engagement by contributions to the Education Foundation. The Foundation is a significant marker of an engaged association, something all major sponsors evaluate in their contribution decisions.
These items have been my focus and I’ve been speaking to them in one way or another in each of my monthly articles. One convenient component of digital distribution is ready access to current and prior issues of Link, so in case you missed learning about some of our All Stars, just search the archives. I’m confident that, although I did not specifically mention them as “All Stars,” you’ll know who they are. One per month is clearly not enough, and my list of our key players would be way too long for one year of Link. I’d like to thank the many “players” who have impacted my career and our association, and I’m very pleased to see so many still actively engaged. I hope each of you maintains regular connections with your AHRA All Stars, and that you give them kudos for jobs well done.
At the Annual Meeting each year, the current president has the honor of selecting his or her favorite “All Star” and presenting that person with the AHRA President’s Award. Traditionally, this person’s identity is shielded until the last moment, and the recipient is called up to the stage in a wave of emotion. But this year I’d like to use this space to announce my selection and show my appreciation to my friend, colleague, and mentor, Brenda Holden, CRA, FAHRA, MBA, RT. I say “my” appreciation, but this extends to all who know Brenda, and I’m confident there are thousands in that category. How can I be so confident? Well, to be an All Star not only do you have to be talented, you’ve got to share those skills with the team. And Brenda has shared. Brenda joined the AHRA in 1979 and was mentored by our founding fathers Dave Stone (past president, charter member, BIG All Star), Jim Conway (past president, Gold Award recipient, and on and on…), and Royce Osborn (just go to the AHRA website to read about one of his home runs and namesake – the Osborn Scholarship), and many more. I met with Brenda recently, collected her annual member EF contribution (see photo), and enjoyed once again reviewing all the AHRA awards, plaques, and memorabilia proudly displayed in her office. These are the “trophies” for years and years of service to her beloved association. She mentioned (like it was no big deal) that she has held every elected position within the association, and for those of us still around since the regional structure, you’ll get the picture. That’s all posts in the Western Region and all posts on the National Board. Talk about some big time stats. Those are reminiscent of Babe Ruth!
I asked her for some high points of her AHRA involvement – you know, grand slams, the most memorable. She listed three (sound familiar?):
- The huge network of long time trusted friends and colleagues. Sounds like heritage to me.
- The numerous opportunities, when traveling, to meet colleagues and potential AHRA members. Sounds like growing membership to me.
- Pride in our association and the personal and professional satisfaction with how the AHRA has matured. Kind of sounds like engagement with annual giving – after all, no money… no mission. Well, that’s what I went with and I’m sure she would agree. Right, boss?
I also asked about any regrets, and her comment was that she misses the closeness the regional structure provided. She clearly understands that we needed to go national, but wishes we could have come up with some hybrid model. Sounds like AHRA regional meetings to me. (By the way, have you initiated one in your community? Why not?)
So it’s July. Go out and have some fun, welcome some colleagues to join AHRA, and of course when you’re walking the halls of the Annual Meeting inDallas(you are coming, right?), make sure you give Brenda loads of big hugs, kudos, and congrats on her latest award.
Grab your boots and cowboy hat, pardner! See you in Dallas.
Roland Rhynus, CRA, FAHRA is President of the 2010-2011 AHRA Board of Directors. He lives in Loma Linda, CA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.