Like a train pulling into the station, we are getting ready to celebrate our Annual Conference this next week which concludes one year and begins another.
This past year, I’ve had the unique opportunity to serve as your WSEMA President and I thought it would only be fitting to close out my tenure by sharing some more personal thoughts about WSEMA, leadership and our future.
You probably don’t remember, but I didn’t choose this role. I wasn’t even at the conference where I was nominated and elected as President. As I recall, prior to the 2010 conference, I received a call from a WSEMA Board Member, asking if I might be interested either in serving as Secretary or President-Elect.
I said “sure” but I wasn’t really sure. Honestly, I hadn’t really been around long enough as an Emergency Manager to know really what WSEMA did to serve its membership. I’ve always stayed focused at the local level and while I have served on a few statewide committees, I still had a lot to learn.
This year, I have seen….
- People with wonderfully diverse perspectives and ideas on how to solve problems that we all face,
- The willingness of people to engage if they feel their opinions are valued and heard,
- The importance of kind encouragement….Never underestimate the power of a nice thought or note, particularly to those who serve in volunteer positions of leadership and,
- The critical need to consider the perspective of others from their vantage points when receiving criticism or difficult feedback.
There will always be issues in the world of emergency management that will elicit differences in opinions on how to organize, respond and prepare. But we need to be cautious about whether we allow those issues to impact our relationships with others. Because, regardless of how we may disagree, at the end of the day, we will be more resilient as a state with good relationships in place, when disaster strikes.
My wish to for WSEMA, as an association in the coming year, is to continue to set progressive goals that illustrate a solid commitment towards information-sharing, providing value for all members and growth to include professionals from all industries that have a role in coordinating emergency preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.
We all, as members, have a responsibility to ensure that this Association is strong because we strongly support its mission and commit to sharing information with each other. We owe it to our communities to be supportive allies, partners and resources because in the end, our residents deserve our best.
It has been a true pleasure to lead the organization this year! From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate the opportunity to serve. And I would be remiss if I didn’t say thanks for the incredible support I received throughout this year.
- Thank You is completely insufficient to my amazing secretary, Beth Vaughn, who put in as many or more hours than I did this year, to ensure that every committee had agendas, meeting summaries and follow-up completed. She grew to read my mind and never complained about the significant tasking that resulted everytime I “had an idea.”
- To my Executive-Board, thank you for your regular feedback and support throughout this year.
- To my Boss & CRESA Staff, thank you for your patience and support with my many absences, diverted attention and the workload involved.
It has been a great year. I sincerely hope you’ll join me in celebrating the progress of this past year by being even more involved in the coming year. Let’s work together to make WSEMA a thriving & supportive association.
We have updated the WSEMA Conference webpage to include both the schedule and links to the various presentations of the speakers so that you can easily access them electronically throughout the week.
Look forward to seeing you! Sincerely, Cheryl Bledsoe