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The Gavel is Passed
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Jim Hodges, Director of Conference and Event Services at Duke University became the new President of the ACCED-I Board of Directors during the ACCED-I 37th Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. Here you can read Immediate Past President Lisa Salazar's, CCEP, farewell speech and Jim's welcome speech that were presented as she passed the gavel to him during the closing event at Cuba Libre on Tuesday, March 28th. Lisa will remain on the Board of Directors through March 2018 serving as Immediate Past President.


Lisa Salazar's Farewell

Buenas Tardes, mis amigos! Bienvenidos a Cuba Libre! I hope you’re all enjoying the evening.

It has been my pleasure to serve as the Board President for the past year. Last year, I challenged our membership to be ‘get to’ people, and really take advantage of all ACCED-I  can offer. I know many of you took that challenge to heart.

My experiences as a volunteer leader for ACCED-I have been a direct result of interacting with a lot of ‘get to’ people; people who recognize the value of and share a passion for the Association and industry as a whole. At the risk of missing someone (and I’m sure I will), I’d like to recognize a handful of people, without whom, my involvement in ACCED-I would have been far less fulfilling.

First and foremost, my family. My husband John has been supportive in more ways than I can count, even when I couldn’t adequately explain how traveling and a lot of extra work would benefit my career and family. It does truly take a village to raise a child (in this case, three children), and my husband and parents have always made sure that my boys were well-cared for (or at least survived) when Mom went off to ‘special work’.

My very first ACCED-I involvement was at the encouragement of my director at the time, Deb Orr. She was a CCEP and attended the Annual Conference on a regular basis. When her career focus started to change, she suggested that I attend the Regional meeting at Illinois State University in 2002. Regional Leaders Chris Sharp and Becky Lee were persuasive hosts who saw something in me and I left that meeting a little dazed—and as the new Regional Director-Elect.

My experience at my first Annual Conference in Orlando in 2003 was overwhelming and amazing. I made a connection with a mentor that year, and she has continued to inspire me and so many others, the indomitable Ann Knoebel.

In 2010, I joined the Board with two other newbies who have become dear friends and mentors to me. We’ve all come a long way since sitting silently at the pre-conference board meeting in Louisville. Heather Roden and Dan Dykstra, thank you both for your friendship, counsel, and guidance.

I’m so very blessed to work with an incredible group of women at Lewis University. They are the absolute best, and I certainly could not be as involved as I am without them. To my ‘boss’ and dear friend, Julie Penner, I’m so happy you were able to come to the conference this year. We’ve overcome so many challenges in our operation, and as you’re fond of saying, “We’ll get there!”

To Karen, Diana, Devin, Lori, Sandy, and now Jenn, you ladies are the foundation of ACCED-I. A heartfelt thanks to all of you for your incredible work. You make us all look good.

And finally, to my friend and colleague, Jim Hodges. You are a southern gentleman with a great sense of humor. You are challenging, kind, and inspire me on so many levels. I have greatly enjoyed serving with you and I know you’ll do great things as Board President. And so, my ACCED-I people, will you please join me in welcoming your new Board President, from Duke University, Jim Hodges.

Jim Hodges Welcome

I’m humbled speaking to you this evening.  I think about my journey here to stand before you tonight.  Almost 30 years ago, as a college student looking for a summer job, I became a Conference Assistant. 

I’ve grown professionally with ACCED-I.  I remember my first conference and the energy and enthusiasm that program gave me.  My hope is that all of you share that feeling.  As a new professional I was awed by the impact my colleagues had on their campuses.  I feel this same way today when I see all  you do.

One day, one of you will be in my place speaking.  Those in leadership serve and move on to make way for others to lead.   ACCED-I is an ever changing, growing and evolving organization.  It’s our “Circle of Life”.  What is a speech in Orlando without a Disney reference? 

ACCED-I must grow and adapt to the changing needs of our membership.  I deliberately say “OUR”.  One gets from membership what one is willing to put in to it.

Think about this – “Why is it a good idea NOT to participate in ACCED-I?”

 ACCED-I is participating and volunteering:

  • Participating here this week
  • Participating at one of our educational forums this fall
  • Volunteering to host a drive-in meeting
  • Volunteering to host a hangout
  • Volunteering to present a session
  • Call your regional leadership team and volunteer to help lead your region

Go home and tell your supervisors and colleagues about the educational and networking opportunities you have experienced.  Tell them how much fun you had but tell them how much you learned.  

Go home and proudly proclaim “I am a member of ACCED-I and now let me tell you about it.”

Over the next year ACCED-I will continue to offer more networking and educational experiences for you. 

ACCED-I strives:

“To improve, promote and recognize excellence in the collegiate conference and events industry”. 

The Board continues reviewing our offerings and services that enhance your experience.  This work is not always as transformational to the Association like our regional realignment, but is as strategically important. 

Continually we review the strategic plan on topics of education, service to members, partnerships, along with governance.   These statements are all well and good to say – but please remember those of us in leadership positions in ACCED-I are volunteers.   I volunteer because I see the importance of ACCED-I enhancing my professional experience as do my fellow board members I recognize tonight:  Mary Kay Baker, Ofelia Dominguez, Tammi Clanton, Meghan Webb, Kim Araya, Heather Roden, Cal Seelye, Treasurer Rick Glass, President Elect Sherry Ebrahimi and Lisa Salazar as Immediate Past President.

This dedicated group works to chart the course for our Association.  We that volunteer depend on the professional staff to make things happen.  The ACCED-I professional staff in Ft Collins works tirelessly helping us promote ourselves. 

At lunch yesterday, Lisa thanked our staff.  Here tonight I add my thanks for their efforts, implementing our vision.  To Karen and her team:  Diana, Devin, and Jennifer with Lori and Sandy staffing the office back in Ft. Collins, Thank you!

Tomorrow, next week, next month will be the times to implement what you have learned these last few days.  Go home, work hard, and see you soon at a drive-in, an education forum or digitally when answering a post on our communities of practice.  Tonight is time to celebrate ACCED-I.  Play tonight and see you next March in Minneapolis!