By Brenda Kress
This January I had an opportunity to work the NARI National Booth at the IBS/KBIS show in Las Vegas. I did this because I wanted to support NARI in some manner besides volunteering for a leadership position (which I have done in the past). As I am a subcontractor, going to KBIS was on my time, not my client’s – so I really felt this was my way of supporting NARI (because quite frankly they are a great client!).
While I thought this was all about me giving, I am actually the one who received! I got to meet so many new people from different NARI Chapters around the country – those who I might not see at a National meeting. I also met people who were interested in NARI, and I was able to share the benefits from a Chapter perspective. Whether from Florida, Texas, New York, Kentucky, Arizona or California (to name a few), each person I met truly was proud of the industry they were a part of.
Also, it was great to be such a huge show and have our logo splashed all over the booth. For us to be at one of the largest industry shows in the country really solidified, for me, that NARI is in the game!
I had an opportunity to better get to know several from the National staff. I must admit, there have been times in the past where I felt a division (what is national doing for us?). Yet, after working side by side with Fred Ulreich, Dan Taddei and Steve Carasso, I really felt a part of the team. Number one, we’re all staff, not members. Number two, we all want to do a good job for those we represent. I also found they genuinely wanted to hear what I had to say (let’s be honest though, being together in the booth for three days you kind of have to listen to each other!)
I like the fact that we are a part of a National organization. There is more clout in that. I highly recommend involvement, in some manner, with National NARI. Offer to work a trade show when one is in your area. If you’re a chapter executive, participate in the monthly calls or on the listserv discussions. Attend a National meeting. Remember all the reasons we want our local members to become involved in our chapters? Those can apply to our National involvement as well.
About the author: Brenda Kress, through her company Just Imagine, provides leadership mentoring, organization management, and private mentoring sessions. She has recently completed a two-year practicum in Contemplative Dialogue/Active Engagement through the International Centre for Contemplative Dialogue and is certified as a DymanicDialogue mentor through the Bread of Life Center in Sacramento, CA. Brenda has served as executive director for NARI of Greater Sacramento for 17 years and the same position with the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of NARI for one year.