President’s Corner

By Suzanne Nichols, Washington State IAWP Chapter President

Dear valued members:

As I enter the last six months of my presidency I have taken some time to reflect on what I have learned about this organization and our members. I have learned that no matter how big the challenges we face in our daily work, like budget cuts, layoffs and new projects, IAWP is and always will be an avenue for continued learning. We strive to provide our membership with the opportunities to continue to develop their personal and professional skills.

I have learned that our members want to learn and they want to continue to develop both in their personal and professional lives.

I have learned that they value being recognized for their efforts. Each year IAWP seeks input from our executive leaders, administrators and area managers to nominate staff for their efforts on workforce development and customer service. Not all that are nominated are IAWP members.

Last year it became very clear to me just how important recognition is. At our Annual IAWP Conference in May 2015, I listened to an award recipient speak about how she had worked for our agency for 25 years and this was by far the most valued recognition she had ever received. The added bonus was having her bosses, Susan Hettinger and Jan Weston, present the award to her. Some of our executive leadership team shared how valuable it was for them to present the awards to staff and they were grateful to have the opportunity to thank them in person for their hard work and dedication.

I learned from another award recipient how little acknowledgments of their contributions can revive their passion and commitment. I learned that we each come to the table with different viewpoints, different ways of communicating, and we all learn differently. By far the hardest but the most important lesson for me to learn was it is okay to fail. I know over the past few years through the lean process we have heard this mentioned time and time again. For a person who has a hard time with failure, this was a huge growth opportunity for me personally.

As the President, it has been frustrating not to be able to deliver on some of the things our members want and need the most. I had hoped that we would have launched a new website by now, yet it has not happened. Reconstruction is harder than we originally realized.

In our last printed Clarion, I mentioned that IAWP will no longer produce a printed version. We have intentionally delayed producing Clarions due to our commitment to reduce the printing and mailing cost. Our desire is reinvest that money into our membership.

As we move towards an online version, our hope is that we will be able to bring you the latest news and events in a more cost effective method. Although this is a huge change and it will take some time getting used to, we value our members input. The new version will be informative and will have all the colorful pictures you have grown accustomed to. Our goal is to provide consistent and timely information that brings high value to our members.
We appreciate your continued patience with the launching of the new website. Our hope is that it will be running by years end.

Should you have suggestions or want to provide feedback on how this new form of communication is going, please email Janelle Guthrie at  Janelle is our Washington State Communications Chair.