Position:COMMUNITY FOCUS - Succession planning - Interview

Because the theme of this year's Summit is leadership and innovation, we are asking chapters how they have made strides in their chapters through effective leadership, and how innovating has helped them in their careers. Read what the Arizona, Colorado and Sacramento chapter presidents and members have to say.

Arizona Chapter Bret Lawson:: Chapter President

With the growth that your chapter has experienced, what challenges do you foresee with regard to succession planning in your chapter?

Our growth is due to many factors, but one factor was financial incentives by FEI-National with a reduction in dues, and a promotion by the Arizona chapter offering free dues for the first year of membership. We want to get new members involved in the chapter--attending events, networking and meeting other members and sponsors, and volunteering to serve on one of our committees--thus demonstrating the value of membership. Our challenge will be in year two, when these new members renew their membership and must pay the full dues to FE! National and the Arizona chapter. Hopefully they will see the value of their FEI membership and renew. An engaged new member is a renewing member.

All of these new members mean that there is new vitality, new ideas, and new volunteers to serve the chapter. We have to capture that resource and keep our board fully staffed, our committees fully staffed and our committee chairs thinking about succession planning.

How has your involvement in FEI leadership enhanced your abilities professionally?

Professionally, I can directly connect my current position as CFO at 'pro Tech, LLC, to my FEI involvement. I learned of the opportunity through my FEI network, from both a fellow member as well as a sponsor. In my role as CFO, my FEI involvement has meant that I have a rolodex of service providers that I can lean on and have engaged for commercial real estate, insurance, audit/tax, banking, office equipment, etc.

What are the best ways that you have discovered in finding the next generation of chapter leaders?

Our board takes note of members who are active in the chapter, regularly attend events, have a passion for our activities (e.g. academic awards, career development, programs, etc.) and are enthusiastic about the value that FE! offers. We also look to those members who serve on our committees. The Nominations Committee engages these future leaders in a discussion, clarifying responsibilities and expectations of a board member, and encourages them to join the board and shape the future of the chapter.

How do you employ mentoring relationships at the chapter level?

New members are appointed an "ambassador," who is responsible for engaging the new member. They encourage their attendance at events, welcome the new member and make introductions to other members and sponsors, and encourage involvement at the committee level. An engaged new member is a renewing member.

What role does leadership training play in your chapter?

The Arizona chapter pays all of the costs for the President, 1st Vice President, and 2nd Vice Colorado...

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