My First IAPD Board Meeting
On my flight to Atlanta I took my seat, happy as can be because AA upgraded me. That doesn’t happen very often any more. I ordered my customary Bloody Mary and started thinking through what I thought the day and the next three would hold. And as a brand new IAPD board of director member I really had nothing to anticipate other than what my mind could conjure up. I wondered how I would fit in, after all this was an organization that was more than 50 years old and most of the “team” in place had worked together as an executive board, board of directors and committees for quite some time.
I expected to find a good ole boy environment where it was hard to break into the inner circle and really become a part of the organization. I desired to contribute but wasn’t sure I could or worse be allowed to. My thinking was the fact that I had been a member of NAPD and now IAPD for well over 25 years but had never given anything back to an organization that was there supposedly for the members benefits. I say supposedly because I was not convinced that was the case at all. I did not go to my first meeting with a good heart or attitude. But I did go with an open mind. I wanted to learn and make a contribution. The learning part I knew would happen I was skeptical on my ability to contribute and even worse would they let me.
I arrived at the hotel where our meetings were to take place. I grabbed my luggage from the trunk of my car, paid the driver and headed in doors. As I grabbed the door handle I heard my name being called out, which was a shocker because I did not think I knew anyone that was attending these meetings. As I turned I thought maybe it was an old high school friend or old neighbor or such. It was IAPD President Jane Saale. I had never met Jane, but as she stuck out her hand as a greeting and after that a hug I can’t tell you how impressed I was. I knew Jane was going to be the next IAPD President, and I was looking forward to meeting her. So being greeted by her right upon my arrival was a welcome I had not anticipated. I left that encounter impressed on so many levels. My attitude improved after that. I felt like part of the team without being at a single meeting. I remember thinking this girl had done her homework. I was encouraged and I wasn’t even in a room yet. Cool!
The rest of the week was nothing like I thought it would be. I found the executive board, board of directors and all committee members open, not just to me as a new member, but also to my ideas. What I expected to find in a good ole boy club did not exist. What I found were a large group of men and women who cared for not just their companies, but mine as well. They were passionate about the industry and how we could work together to further plastics distribution and the perception of the product. I thought that with a room full of competitors I would find tight lips, closed minds and a difficult task in working together. I found the opposite. I did not see one person that was not willing and able to work hard on behalf of the IAPD members. These people were serious about this organization, all its members and everyone’s success. They worked long and hard hours to meet the needs of all member companies and even addressed small issues that seemed to make little difference, but to someone it did. This group of leaders really cared about being productive and making an impact for our industry. They cared about my company and me as much as they did their own. It only took a morning of meetings to change my mind and heart. I put my head on my pillow that evening thankful for the opportunity to mix within this talented and gifted group of leaders. I was impressed with these folks and proud to be a part of this organization.
You see it was not that long ago that I was not supportive of IAPD. Sure I made the conventions and took away what I could. I never realized the effort that went into anything regarding IAPD and how much of it benefited Regal Plastics and me personally as a professional in the industry. I never stood up for its leadership when I was within a group of plastic peers. I would always agree with the complaints and just move on.
Trust me, from this point forward I will be an advocate. I will be a team player. I will be involved, which is where the real value of membership resides. I will no longer sit on the sidelines and shake my head in disgust as to why things are not as I feel they should be. I plan on stepping up and stepping out in favor of IAPD. After all, my future and your future depend on all of us being in the mix and involved at some level. I will no longer complain I will contribute to be a part of a solution.
You may have thought like me or you still do. May I make a suggestion, take the time, get involved and care about this organization as much as the leadership of IAPD does. And I speak of staff as much as volunteer leadership. I would put this staff up against any organization in our country. We are blessed to have them by our side.