Have you ever stopped to think about all of the good teachers that you have had in your lifetime? Don't just think classroom, think about the mentors that you have had this far in your professional career. I am sure that you can easily recall examples of both the good and bad. How many of you have actually reached out to a former teacher or mentor just to let them know how important they were to you? If you have, great. If not, then you need to do it by the end of today.
I grew up in a family of teachers. My mother was a teacher, her mother was a teacher and both of my sisters, not to mention an aunt and a nephew, spent time in the teaching profession. My mother started teaching in a one-room country school at age 16. Yes, age 16. All you needed then was a high school diploma and you were ready for duty. Even at that point in her career, though, she knew that she could not rest on her laurels. So, well before she retired from teaching 46 years later, she had earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that I do enjoy teaching. Throughout my career I have mentored many individuals and, hopefully, it was a positive experience for them. It sure was for me, as I know that the more time I spend mentoring others, the more I learn myself.
Education is very important to society. Continuing education is absolutely essential in today's business world. No matter how much success you enjoyed this past year, no one is going to walk in their boss's office and say, "Things went well, and we are going to do the exact same thing next year." We all realize that continuing education will enhance the value we deliver to our employers and in return to us.
One of the strategic goals of IAMC is to develop and deliver educational programs for our membership. We do this through a number of methods such as speakers to address specific trends in our industry, personal growth and management skills. In addition, we offer programs presented by IAMC members who share their specific experiences with others in the industry.
This fall I became the chairman of IAMC. I will be the first to admit that becoming chair was not on my mind when I attended that first Professional Forum in Charleston back in 2002. The more I interacted with other IAMC members, the more involved I became with the organization. I know that one of the key turning points in my professional career was my increased involvement in IAMC. My level of involvement with IAMC and my career growth have occurred together, and neither one would have happened without the other.
Becoming a member of IAMC places 500-plus industry professionals at your fingertips. It is up to you to engage that resource. Get involved with a committee, reach out to a member. More importantly, take calls and return notes from other members. You never know when you will become someone else's mentor.
Thank you for naming me chairman. I look forward to serving the organization for the next year. Our ninth year promises to be a great one, and I will do my best to make it educational and occasionally entertaining.
As for that call to the teacher or mentor who really did a lot for your career, do it now. As for me, I think I'll give my mother a call.