Tuesday, August 25, 2009

NAR Leadership Summit '09: Report from Monday

Bart Stevens reports: Awoke to an absolutely spectacular day here in the Windy City – sunny skies, warm temps, no humidity and no wind. We were in our seats before 8 AM prepared for a full day of enlightenment.

We weren’t disappointed – the day was packed with insightful sessions. I was particularly struck by how different this conference is from other leadership sessions I’ve attended. The emphasis is much more subtle – none of that “do it this way, do it that way.” This conference is geared towards “real life” skills – it’s not the obvious which distinguishes a great leader from an okay leader, but rather the way we choose to tackle our daily lives and challenges – how routine and day-to-day issues impact our ability to lead in the face of so many changes and challenges bombarding us daily.

Sessions ranged from meeting NAR’s 2010 Leadership team - led by President Vicki Cox Golder (AZ) and President Elect Ron Phipps (RI - a New Englander!) - to an incredible keynote ending. Chicago’s Second City comedy troupe helped introduce the 2010 Leadership Team with a twist.

2003 NAR President Cathy Whatley and St. Paul (MN) AE Keith Holm lead us through an entertaining session focused around the "marriage" between the President and AE. We were given “pre-nups” to fill out and sign detailing how this important relationship will evolve over the next year. Successful marriages require a lot of work and understanding – very similar to the AE/President relationship!

Our very own Cindy Butts has been appointed NAR's 2010 Liaison to Technology by President Vicki. We know Cindy’s love of technology and wish her the best of luck.

The day’s session ended with the highlight of the day – keynote speaker Alison Levine’s talk entitled, “Oxygen not Included.” A truly dynamic young woman, she overcame much diversity to climb high peaks on every continent, served as the team captain of the First American Women’s Everest Expedition – and skied across the Arctic Circle. Her presentation offered a unique perspective on types of leadership, teamwork, innovation and dealing with a changing environment. Taking risks, knowing when to turn back, understanding the importance of having a strong team apply to both mountain climbing and leading associations – truly moving.

Our group of 8 ended with a group dinner at The Cheesecake Factory – oh those desserts! It was just one of those wonderful summer evenings that make you want to wander the streets, taking in the sites and sounds of this wonderful city.

Just remember, as one of the speakers said, “It’s never crowded along the extra mile.”

Bart Stevens is the 2010 president of the Kennebec Valley Board (and currently president of Maine Chapter of CRS & Treasurer of MREIS)

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