Reflections from our 7th President – Tim Harding

As I sat looking out my window watching a snow fall, I reflected on the past several months of working with a group of dedicated and innovative SoACE board members who had committed themselves to re-thinking each of their areas of responsibility with an eye to enhancing relevance and expanding services for an association that we all highly valued.

Tim Harding & Jay Killough at “Snow-ACE”

But wait . . . some of you may know that I live in Tampa, FL, so how could it be that I was watching a snowfall? Had climate change really impacted us so much that it was snowing in Tampa? While it has happened in the past, the fact is I was sitting in my Chantilly, VA hotel room getting ready for our annual conference that would infamously become known as “SNOW-ACE”!

Tim Harding & Jay Killough at “SnowACE”Our numbers for that conference suffered from the many flight delays and cancellations, road closures, and other transportation headaches resulting from a winter storm that snarled travel from Texas to Virginia and everywhere in between. In the true SNOW-ACE…I mean, SoACE spirit, we forged on making adjustments to the breakout schedule, presentations, and events. We sorely missed our stranded colleagues, but those who did attend made the best of the conference and experienced the same high quality professional development experience to which we are accustomed. They even made light of the situation with one creative member, who is still unknown to me, christening the conference as SNOW-ACE.

That same committed spirit that made the best of a challenging situation is consistent with all of my SoACE experiences, and it is what drew me to volunteer and continue to serve in whatever capacity I can to support and promote an association of colleagues who have made such a difference in my life, both professionally and personally. The association’s work has been fun, challenging, fulfilling, and ALWAYS worth the experience. I can say, without reservation, that I have learned far more from my SoACE experience than I have been able to give.

The SoACE boards on which I was honored to serve worked hard to:

  • Expand the professional development offerings beyond the annual conference to year-round offerings;
  • Reaffirm our commitment to diversity and created two association awards to recognize both individuals and organizations who actively demonstrated that commitment in their work;
  • Recognize individual’s creativity within our association by creating an annual “Imaginative Spirit Award”; and
  • Grow the membership recognizing the changing trends of our profession and blending of departments within colleges and universities.

While all of these realized goals are rewarding, the friendships and sense of family developed in working with the dedicated SoACE members are the most rewarding. It has been a few years since I served on a SoACE board, but those special relationships remain strong. If there is such a thing as a “professional family”, I found that in my beloved SoACE colleagues.

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