The following article originally appeared in the Q3 2016 issue of Connections.
A new season has begun, and so has the annual change in the leadership of Apra. I am humbled and honored to begin my term as Apra’s president. I entered this field over 20 years ago, and while much has changed, much stays the same. I am continually inspired by the growth of the profession, the continuous innovation and evolvement, and the collaboration of our colleagues. My connections, networks and relationships are very important not only to me, but also to the organizations I have served over the years.
Building relationships is key to fundraising success. As evidenced by the sharing and engagement that took place at Apra Prospect Development 2016, prospect development professionals know a thing or two about coming together! Connections, networking, relationships: Apra Prospect Development 2016 delivered all this and more. Just a few weeks later, we are still talking about the incredible turnout and experiences had by all at this year’s annual conference in Nashville. Against the brilliant backdrop of Music City, attendees interacted in a high-energy, fun and productive event. It was a very special time to be there to learn and connect with friends, new and old (especially meeting new friends while getting lost in the huge hallways and gardens of the beautiful Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center).
Risa Mish’s keynote address, “The Art of the Sale,” shared the power of persuasion, the influence of finding our core values and the impact of confidence. (I know I’ve been practicing my power poses!) As a profession, when we come together, remarkable things happen.
If you weren’t able to attend, browse through #APRAPD2016 on Twitter for highlights from the conference. So many people were tweeting amazing insights — literally creating a buzz! Social media use definitely increased this year as attendees shared news and happenings. It truly brings us full circle with one of the conference’s main themes: Get out from behind your desk and go talk to someone! Be brave and volunteer. Find friends in the workplace. Use social capital to amplify your network. Stepping up to expand your network is crucial to success, not only in prospect development, but in every profession.
Apra’s push for advocacy in the profession continues. We are Apra, and we’ll continue to unveil how we make an impact.
Apra will host the Fall Symposium Nov. 3 and 4 in Alexandria, Virginia. The theme of this year’s Fall Symposium is Advancing Leaders. True to its name, education will focus on leadership and career growth beyond the day-to-day work of prospect development. This event is a unique opportunity for industry leaders to gather to share their ideas and lessons learned. Don't miss this chance to network and learn with other senior leaders to spark inspiration for the future of the industry.
I look forward to serving you in the coming year; it truly is a privilege. I encourage you to connect with me with questions or suggestions.
Jill R. Meister