Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ATR: My FAI Thank You Speech

As many of you know, at the ARMA International Conference in Orlando, I was privileged to be named to ARMA International's Company of Fellows. As Fellow #43, some wags refer to me as "W" or "Dubya"... short pause while you think about that...

When I received the official Lucite plaque, I was offered five minutes for some remarks. I now publish them here, for those of you who may have missed the Awards Reception.

++++++++++++++++++++++

My Dear Friends and Colleagues:

As I stand here today, the first thought that comes to me is, in the immortal words of Wayne and Garth…. “I’m not worthy!” But here I stand, nonetheless. I’ve been given about five minutes for some comments, so I’ve prepared my remarks tonight, mainly, as many of you know, because I am often incapable of speaking in increments of less than an hour and fifteen minutes.

I am humbled and honored to be here tonight. Almost 20 years ago, I sat in a hotel ballroom in San Francisco and watched the first Fellows be introduced to the Association. At the time, I never imagined that I would someday be able to count my name among those luminaries. I was, after all, but a little records manager at the time.

There are many people that I need to thank tonight. I’ll start with my colleagues who nominated me. I am humbled to be so honored by them. Larry Bates, Beth Chiaiese, and Tim Hughes, I am forever in your debt for your nomination. Thank you. Next must come my family – my wife and daughters – who have often wondered what it is that I do when I traipse off to some exotic locale like Kansas City, Boise, Omaha, Milwaukee, Detroit, Appleton, or Bloomington. You see, the road to this honor was paved with many visits to many places where there was no doubt that I had to be speaking or learning. But airport t-shirts and key chains are small substitutes for dinners missed, so to them, I also say thank you for allowing me to grow in my craft and share what I know with others.

I must take a minute to thank Jac Treanor, my dear friend, colleague, and mentor. Without Jac allowing me time, early in my career, to give back to my profession, and the opportunity to speak in public, I would not be here today. Jac is also the boss who gave me my first computer and the opportunity to learn how to use it. Yep, he’s the one to blame.

There are many others along the way – such as the officers of the Chicago Chapter who welcomed me in to their midst, gave me responsibility, and bought me many a soda from the bar; or Mike Pemberton, who asked me to participate on the Task Force that developed the Code of Professional Responsibility; or John Phillips, who asked me to help launch ARMA’s first website; and ARMA’s Education staff, who put up with my “just in time” style of preparing presentations for Conference.

I also want to thank the Chapter meeting and seminar leaders and the Program Committee members through the years who have thought well enough of me to invite me to share my thoughts with our members. And of course, I want to thank all of you who have put up with my unanswerable questions, long-winded stories, and bad jokes all of these years. I trust that you actually learned something from me.

I’d also like to thank the many International Board members and the staff of the Association who put up with my griping from time to time, then welcomed me as a Board member so I could see how the sausage was made.

There are many others who also deserve thanks and my gratitude for their wisdom, their friendship, and their encouragement. Some of you know who you are and I thank you, even if I don’t name you here tonight.

I think this is the part where I am supposed to impart some wisdom or some special insight into the future of our profession. What I say tonight is what I often say in my presentations… Never stop learning. Never stop growing. Use this Association to network and to step beyond your comfort zone. I believe that our profession is at the cusp of significant changes that will redefine what it is that we do as records managers and how we perform our work. We have to embrace those changes and welcome the opportunities that come with change.

My present boss is fond of saying… “There are no challenges, only opportunities.” In these times, and in this profession, those are words to live by.

Party on… and thank you.

No comments: