Search icon Looking for something?

Behind the Scenes of Creating Value
2004, Q3 (February 21, 2007)
Victoria (Vici) Koster-Lenhardt, Director-Sponsor for Region 2

Vici Koster-Lenhardt
Vici Koster-Lenhardt

There's a lot of talk about member value these days on the STC's transformation Web site (http://www.stc.org/transformation). In my opinion, two types of events significantly contribute to the value a member receives from STC: a local conference and a strategic planning meeting. Although these events are seemingly different, they share the same behindthe- scenes characteristics. They always include people who personally care a lot about their STC community (chapter or SIG) and they always focus around the question "what do members want?"

Two chapters this year tried their luck at running a one-day, local conference. And, I'm happy to report that both conferences were very successful. The James River chapter held its conference in January and the United Kingdom chapter held theirs in June. (Both have the challenge of providing value to members who live hours apart.) I had the honor of attending both conferences.

What I enjoyed the most was seeing the similarities regarding the behindthe- scenes work. What I saw were the concerns about whether all participants who signed up would attend, the creativity around designing the conference communication and program theme, the careful selection of speakers, the details of financial management, the feelings of joy in putting together an awards banquet, and best of all, the exuberant looks on organizers' faces at the end of the day and the discussions about all the things to do better the next time.

These same characteristics are common of strategic planning meetings. These meetings, usually held once a year, are used to plan activities for the next 18_36 months and to ensure that funds are available to run events. This is where financial planning is done, meeting programs for the year are created, discussions occur about how to increase membership, and to-do lists are created. Sometimes these meetings are held as a chapter meeting; sometimes they're a weekend retreat with administrative council members (that is, your president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and immediate past president). The TransAlpine chapter (TAC) held its strategic planning meeting the last weekend of June in Basel, Switzerland, in the treasurer's home. The event was combined with cocktails and an informal dinner with local TAC members. The Carolina chapter held its event, which it calls Vision Day, during its June chapter meeting, where members could speak up about their needs.

My point is that there's a lot of volunteer work that that goes on behind the scenes by chapter members to create value. Today, I'm inviting you to get involved so you can take part in and benefit from creating value. Before you think, "I'd like to, but I don't have time," read on.

Mary Merrill (http://www.merrillassociates.net) was the keynote speaker at Leadership Day at the 2003 STC annual conference. Back then, she talked about the lack of time people have to volunteer and how membership in an association doesn't mean active involvement. It's still true today. However, she offered the idea of a "thirty-minute volunteer workout." What's that? It's finding something that needs to be done and that only requires 30 minutes (or less) of your time. (Think of proofreading a story for the newsletter, calling the local newspaper about a chapter event, or sending an email to a new chapter member to say "hello.") This is the future of volunteering: You can be a volunteer and still manage the life/work balancing act.

Please give some thought to the value of your STC membership. Ask yourself "can I find thirty minutes between September 2004 and May 2005 to do something for my chapter — behind the scenes — to create more value for me and others?" I'm confident that the answer will be "I can."

Vici Koster-Lenhardt, Director-Sponsor for Region 2, can be reached at vici at vkosterlenhardt dot com. End of article.

More articles like this...
Comments powered by Disqus.