Did you know that the SIETAR USA Board of Directors holds an annual retreat meeting? At the beginning of March, the members of the Board of Directors flew to Atlanta and stayed in the 2019 conference hotel (the Marriott Airport Gateway) spending several days getting to know each other better, learning how to work together (we have 4 new Board members), and working on association issues. We even had a Board member join us virtually from Cuenca, Ecuador. It was good to have the Local Groups Director, Julia Gaspar-Bates chiming in on the discussions.
One of our goals for the retreat was to test out the hotel to make sure it was the right place to hold the conference in the Fall. We were all pleasantly reassured that the hotel has a SIETAR USA vibe. Outside the session rooms are groups of tables and seating areas for networking, resting, or reflecting. The Gateway Marriott could not be more convenient to the airport—just a free, 5-minute ride on the Skytrain. The area around the hotel is not a mass of airport parking lots; there are trees, grass, and flowers. The hotel is well soundproofed—you can be aware of planes but not overwhelmed by them. Come see for yourself!
What do we do at the Board Retreat? Good question—and it varies with each President, Board, and situation. At the 2019 retreat we used tasks related to SIETAR USA issues to get better acquainted. For example, we want a mechanism to reach out to members and get to know them better, as well as helping members get to know who shares their membership in SIETAR USA. We tried out a getting-acquainted exercise then worked on fleshing out the idea, developed implementation plans and we intend to roll this out soon. Stay tuned for this in the Newsletter and on social media.
We also spent time working on our Standing rules, which document our policies, procedures, definitions and job descriptions. This isn’t glamorous work, but needs to be addressed periodically. We had robust discussions about professional development ideas, plans for the fall conference and future conferences that will support SIETAR USA’s mission while building excitement for the Society.
The retreat agenda was full but it allowed time for some in-depth discussions as well as fun. After 2 ½ days, we felt that we accomplished a lot, reached clarity regarding the structure of the Board and our roles on it as well as learning how we want to work together as we go forward. We concluded with a list of Kia Ora questions to acknowledge each other and reflect on our time at the retreat. We headed for the Skytrain renewed and excited about the health and future of SIETAR USA.
If you have ever thought about taking a leadership role in SIETAR USA or any other professional organization, contact a Board member and ask how they felt about the Retreat. What did they get from it for themselves? What did it do for their ability to contribute to the association? What do they see for the future of SIETAR USA?
Sandra M. Fowler
President SIETAR USA
Holly Emert (Immediate Past President); Monica Mumford (Advisory Council); Justin Sitron (Secretary); Sandy Fowler (President); Julia Gaspar-Bates (Local Groups); Sherri Tapp (Membership Outreach and Diversity); Karen Fouts (Administrative Officer); Melinda Bullen (Professional Development); Brett Parry (Communication)