I just finished listening to the most recent episode of The Potter’s Cast by Paul Blais, (special Public Service Announcement Edition with NCECA leadership).  It was fabulous and insightful, as I would expect it to be.  (PS Thanks for the shoutout Rhonda et al.!)

So the main message for today’s update post comes from that episode and is “please be patient.”  

A little further explanation from our President Elect, Pete Pinnell, (paraphased). Our conference is big and that gives the impression that NCECA is a really big organization.  But the fact is that the NCECA staff is small, and this whole thing happens by a really tiny but very cohesive group of people who have set up excellent systems and work well together, but this is a whole new thing and we cant flip a switch and make a set of new things happen.  In other words, there is not some huge hall where we can say “operators are standing by”.

I just thought that was both amusing, how he explained it and terribly accurate.  Which is pretty standard Pete Pinnell, who is one of the most articulate people i know.  I strongly suggest listening to and sharing this podcast episode.  

Here’s what else is happening on my front:  Over 40 people have signed up to help on task forces. Surprisingly, and happily, it’s a really great balance of people across all of the options i came up with.  I suspect there are more of you out there who would be willing to help.  If you are reading this, you can help simply by sharing updates about what NCECA is working on.

3.17 edit: the previously created form for interest has now been closed.  Opportunities to help may still be available.  If you want to be involved, please email office@nceca.net

Yesterday, I contacted folks who had signed up but weren’t quite sure where they fit and I am in the process of sorting all of the people into groups by task force preference.  Later today, I will be speaking with Director-at-Large candidate, Cat Traen.   As a reminder, we DO still have an election happening to find out who will join the board next year.  IF you haven’t already watched the candidate videos and voted, now is a good time to do that.    Information & details are available here on this blog post

I am also meeting with the current NCECA Secretary, Jill Oberman and Director-at-Large, Julia Galloway to start putting together all the pieces and prepare a propsed action plan for the upcoming NCECA board meeting.  I would like to note that these two outstanding individuals (as well as a few others) are coming to the end of their service to NCECA and would have been honored for their service at the conference.  Personally, i’m trying to think of a way to recognize all of them for their efforts.

I also want to be clear about something, going back to the theme of “please be patient.”  There are a lot of great ideas being kicked around and everyone is excited and wants action.  The energy is great.  But i also want us all to maintain a realistic view of what is happening.  The NCECA staff is limited.  The board of directors are all volunteers with full-time jobs.  NCECA’s actual ability/capablity to bring ideas to fruition will be dependent on actual resources.  As a single example of this…NCECA has an amazing graphic designer/webmaster.  Candice handles nearly all of the NCECA graphics and manages the entire NCECA website as well.  Anytime you say the word “online,” whether it is in regard to an online cup sale or putting presentations online, it’s going to probably require some level of effort from Candice, and again she is only one person.  To solve this problem we need additional resources, either money to hire contractors, or people who know various website languages.    I don’t mean to get into too many nitty-gritty details, that can be saved for discussions within the task forces.  My intention here is to encourage all of NCECA to do two things please:

  1. Instead of saying “NCECA should,” think instead “WE should” because #WEareNCECA.
  2. Then think of exactly how YOU would need to go about actually facilitating the idea you have.  What would you need to accomplish it.

By doing these simple things, you can REALLY help our organization and our membership get through this.  We have an amazing opportunity to grow as a community and as an organization.  Usually, my favorite pithy aphorism is “secure your oxygen mask before assisting others”  but right now, i’m liking “necessity is the mother of invention”  Our organization is full of creative thinkers, and so many of us have talents and gifts to share that can help us come through this better and stronger than before.  I continue to see the silver linings in how we are all treating each other and coming together.