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The last one…
The final final.

I can’t believe 15 months have flown by and feel like I am just getting started.

I should have known better. When I was president of my local, I said the same darn thing. I'm ready for another year! But it is time to hand the torch over to our third female NAIFA CA president, Sarah Martin.

Allow me a moment to reflect on the year. COVID was at the forefront, for yet another year so how we framed delivering value to our members had to be creative. In fact being in COVID almost became the norm and getting together live was the novelty!

If there was one message I wanted to communicate, it was the idea of COMMUNITY throughout the year. We all have our reasons for belonging to an organization like NAIFA, but it’s about the people and connections you make. These relationships both serves us professionally and personally.

But, driving a volunteer organization has it’s challenges.   The Why sometimes feel elusive…but for me, I know what the why is. Simply put, Membership, Advocacy and Member Benefits and once again, the COMMUNITY.

We fought to grow membership, we drove hard to raise advocacy dollars and we strived to deliver great programs throughout the year. And we had great sponsors that supported us throughout the year.

We had a strong advocacy year, driven by the governance committee and the hard work of Michael Mares, our PAC chair.   He helped to EXCEED our PAC goal! That means you, our members, understand the importance of the PAC contributions you make. The importance of supporting our efforts with our lobbyist Shari McHugh to fight for us, for our clients. Our governance committee was led by Peter Buechler.   Peter assembled a strong GR committee who also took on the impending LTC legislation that we have on our horizon.

We held some great programs virtually to bring content and value to our members. Hopefully you attended one of our Roadshows as we had speakers like Tom Hegna, Van Mueller and Tom Petersen. Our Roadshows were a great reminder that NAIFA CA provides implementable and informational ideas for you to take back to your businesses immediately.

And speaking of programs and the novelty of being together, we ended this year with the opportunity to attend a LIVE NAIFA meeting, and we did! Many of us from California flew to Washington DC to support our national president Tom Michel, long time NAIFA CA member. And we got to catch up with many of our friends from NAIFA chapters across the country!

Many NAIFA CA members were in attendance and we had the chance to also celebrate Joanna Dellosa, who was recognized as one of the Four Under Forty!

I also had the chance to see our San Diego affiliate rise up as our new affiliate leader Marc Simon joined us to help grow the community of San Diego members! If you are reading this and in the San Diego area or know a GA or a potential member in San Diego, let’s get them connected!

And speaking of affiliates, I was able to close out my year with the opportunity to attend the Fresno Holiday Party.   What I saw there was a group that has built that community and the room was abuzz with laughter, conversation and a little friendly competition for some great raffle prizes. I had the chance to meet a lot of members…and I was honored to be in a room that had FIVE state presidents in the room! Besides the holiday cheer, what it reminded me of was the Why…and that community matters and that even if its not “like the good old days”, that’s ok. Today is today and we keep connecting, support and networking with each other.   My term may be over, but my dedication to NAIFA is not. Whether you are a local or an affiliate, I am here to support you.

But let me close out by saying, thank you for supporting me during my 15 month stint. Thank you for belonging to this community. Thank you for supporting each other.

Best wishes for a prosperous and healthy new year!

I’m sending you a virtual cheers and a clink to celebrate us!