When I walked into my first ITC meeting 26 years ago, I knew only 2 people in a room of about 25; and I hadn’t a clue what ITC stood for. I certainly didn’t know there was anything beyond that Club, nor that there were other clubs doing the same kind of training. The one thing I did know was that I did not like to stand before a group of people I didn’t know and have to say something..…even if it was only to say my name.
Who would have guessed that as a result of the evaluation, support, and encouragement I received at those early meetings, the benefits would find me standing here tonight, no longer afraid to say my name, and to thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your 2015-2017 International Training in Communication President. This is an honor and a privilege humbly accepted.
I know that being International President is not an easy job. However, please know that I, and your incoming Board members, will always try our hardest to do the very best job we can.
Before we set sail on this voyage, there are some things I should explain. First, I know the Kiwi’s love to sail . . . and, so do I. Therefore, sailing is the general theme I’ve chosen for the ensuing term.
If you imagine that all one needs to do to sail a boat is raise the sails and a gentle breeze will push you through the water, let me assure you that vision is far from true. Skippering a sailboat and being skipper of an organization like ITC are very much alike. Both require a lot of hard work.
Before we cast off on our next ITC voyage, your officers will spend the next couple of days taking an intense look at our vessel and determining the challenges of a two-year-long voyage. As we chart our course, we must think about sailing into ports where we can pick up crew members and finish our voyage with more crew than we started with. We will sail forward with increased enthusiasm and, more importantly, have our returning crew members step forward to say, “Hey, I could do that … again.”
Our organization isn’t the size of an aircraft carrier; but, it isn’t a dinghy either. No matter the size, it takes a whole crew to sail a boat or an organization; and, it takes the whole crew, working together as a team, to achieve goals and to win a race.
It is not just the officers who will establish ITC’s goals for this term - the goals also need to come from you, the crew members. Therefore, you all have tablets of paper on your table please write down your goals, your ideas, and your suggestions and put them in the Goals & Suggestions box, which you will find on the President’s table as you pass through the reception line following the close of the Installation. (Or, email your ideas and suggestions to me.)
I mentioned earlier that I love to sail. In part, it is an inherited characteristic. My father was a boat designer and builder—of mostly sailboats … so sailing is in my blood.
Perhaps I love to sail because I am also competitive. I started my sailboat racing career at the age of 7 in an 8-foot, or 2.3 metre, El Toro - a dinghy.
By the time I was a teenager, I raced an international one-design 23-foot, or 7 metre racing sloop.
I remember that period of time as if it were yesterday. There was a fellow who won every race in the class; no one seemed to be able to beat Jake. Jake became my challenge. What did I have to do to beat him?
The challenge was that there had to be a better way to sail my boat so that I could cross the finish line ahead of him. To do that, I had to change the way I was sailing.
I kept trying new things, until the day the race outcome finally changed and 45-year-old Jake finally had to shake the hand of this 19-year-old sea-gal who had finally beat him.
Why did I tell you this story? Because, as I said earlier, ITC is like a sail-boat. Our ITC has been drifting along; and as we’ve been drifting, the winds have shifted and the tides have changed. But have we?
Our ITC now needs to handle strong winds and rough seas ahead. Our boat is certainly seaworthy and the seasoned members of our crew are well-trained. Our boat is not a cruise ship; it’s a training vessel; and everyone must help sail. The harder jobs will be asked of the more experienced members of the crew. However, we also need new, less experienced crew members who we can train as you and I have been trained.
Our goals for increasing membership have been like trying to win a race without making any changes to the way we sail. It’s time to come about and set sail on a new tack. One way to do this might be to stop trying to re-rig existing boats; it’s time to start launching new ones - that means new clubs; new clubs in places we’ve never had clubs before.
I agree, that may not be easy...and, as I said earlier, sailing is hard work. But unless we change course, we won’t have clubs to sail or crews to sail them.
As we chart our course over the next few days and set our sails on new horizons, be sure to read the next issue of From the Boardroom when it comes out (the end of August) to see what some of our course plans will look like.
By your presence here tonight, I know you can be counted on as dedicated crew members. And, I thank you for that.
Which brings to mind; I mentioned earlier that the general theme for this term is sailing. More specifically: “Leading the way . . . through Shifting Winds, Changing Tides, and . . . the Oceans of Opportunities our POWERtalk training programs provide.”
Before concluding, I want to recognize some very special crew members. The crew skippered by Val who have all said they will continue to help us sail . . . Anita, Maria, Judy, Sue, Akemi, and Marilyn. . . . And your new ITC crew officers . . . Mary Flentge, Marilyn Robinson, Maria Trujillo-Tough, Mary Remson , Marijke Slager, Akemi Kosuge, and Wyn Bowler, who have already demonstrated they are very capable of leading the way.
A special thanks goes to my installing officer, Irene Johnson for her creative and fun installation.
There are many more of you to thank; however, I fear any attempt to name you all would only leave somebody out. You know who you are; so, give yourselves a pat on the back and please accept my “international” thank you’s. Merci! Grazie! Xie Xie! Domo Arigato! Many, many, thanks to all of you.
There’s one more member of the crew who is not here but needs special recognition for his support…and, for taking over the galley chores at home…that’s my husband Elliot.
I thought about launching this venture just as one launches a boat——by christening it with a bottle of champagne——but I knew the hotel wouldn’t be too pleased if I broke a bottle of champagne over the floor, so that leaves us with two alternatives for a launching celebration…to have you meet and greet each of the officers in the receiving line following the close of this convention; and to invite you all up to the Royal Suite once members are through the receiving line.
With this picture, you’ll just have to imagine that bottle of champagne breaking by this sea-gal who is not quite ready to outgrow childhood.
Let’s continue to sail forward.