By Mary Knopf, ASID, LEED AP BD+C
I just returned from the annual ASID President’s Forum. The experience was full of great people, wonderful food and fabulous showroom parties! And of course, we also accomplished a lot and gained invaluable insight on where the Society is today and where it is going.
I arrived in Houston early Wednesday evening to find presidents, chapter support team members and ASID staff in the hotel lounge; it was great to have a chance to refresh my memories of these colleagues and put names and faces together before the meetings started!
The event officially began on Thursday, with an update from ASID President Lisa Henry, FASID, LEED AP. She addressed many of the issues and discussions going on at the national level, including the hot topic of the new Associate membership category. She clarified the strategy behind this change: “By including others in our discussions we all have opportunity to grow.” So far, those applying for Associate membership are people like a nurse who is now working full-time with designers to help them understand the best approach to design a clinic or senior living facility so that the staff may safely perform their daily duties. I think it is important to broaden our discussions, and I view this as a positive move! (In fact, I found out when I returned home, that our chapter has its first Associate member!)
We also participated in a great interactive session, brainstorming about tactics and ideas to implement the strategies that form the Society’s strategic plan. The national board recently had their first round of planning and the timing was perfect to ask for our input. This was a very intense session and it was fantastic to see the ideas that came from 60-plus people putting their heads together!
It wasn’t all fun and games, we also covered some of the less inspiring—but still essential—topics such as chapter contract negotiation and insurance programs. Did you know that ASID has some of the best individual and small business policies for our members? We need to do a better job of getting this information out to people! Paying the relatively small premium now could save them untold headaches in the future.
Overall, the weekend was a whirlwind of activities. Although this is not my first term as president, each year and each event is different and these retreats are always good for building friendships, networks and ideas. Besides learning more about the Society business, I always gain insights and lessons that apply to my life and my business—an invaluable experience!