The idea for Apra Walks began at the end of Prospect Development 2013 in Baltimore. I had just been elected to the board of directors and was attending my first meeting before the conference. It was a week of sitting. Sitting in meetings. Sitting in conference sessions. By the end of the week, I felt incredibly sluggish. It didn’t help that, at the same time, studies were touting that sitting was the new smoking and detrimental to your health. I was determined to avoid this at future conferences.
Fast forward a year to Prospect Development 2014 in Las Vegas. I announced I would walk for 30 minutes in the morning before the board meeting and before conference sessions. This was pretty significant because, first, I’m not a morning person and second — it’s hot in Vegas. When you walked out of the climate-controlled, scented hotel, you hit a wall of heat.
I posted an open invite to any conference attendee to join in. Many loved the idea, but not necessarily the start time of 7 a.m. It was a small but mighty group that year.
At each Professional Development conference and each Chapters Summit in Chicago since then, there is a faithful group of Apra folks who proactively seek the opportunity to walk in the mornings. It’s a great chance to chat about all things Apra and get to know your fellow members.
If you think things aren’t very exciting at 7 a.m., that isn’t the case at all. In Las Vegas, we found Apra members playing the blackjack tables (apparently the starting bets are lower in the early morning). In New Orleans, we finished off the walk with a Café du Monde beignet and more great conversation. In Nashville, the Gaylord was large enough that we could walk for 30 minutes indoors and not retrace our steps. We even got lost one morning. And in Anaheim, the LuLaRoe conference attendees made for fun people watching.
I cherish my Apra Walks and love it when people decide join in. Some of my closest Apra friendships have been forged during these walks.
To have the Foundation host this event is extra special for me. The goal of the Foundation is to provide funding to help advance our members’ professional development. It has been in existence since 1998 but was dormant for many years. Two years ago, during my term as treasurer, I had the honour of breathing new life into it. It is now reinvigorated with an enthusiastic and dedicated board of trustees.
Bond Lammey, our current Apra treasurer, also feels strongly about the Foundation’s work. She recounted to me how, at the start of her career, she worked in a one-person shop with limited resources. Joining her local Apra chapter was tremendously helpful in networking and learning from others, and today she sees the Foundation as a prime resource for supporting and expanding access to educational opportunities within our industry. The work they do and her personal experience is motivating enough to give back, which is exactly what Bond has pledged to do.
Yes — this event keeps getting better. For every donation made to Apra Walks, Bond will match it, up to $2,000 total. We are moved by this generous offer and hope you will join our challenge. Donations will be accepted up until the day of the event.
I hope you will join us on Friday, August 10, for Apra Walks. For a modest donation of $10, you will be getting some much-needed exercise after sitting in all those great sessions, and supporting educational opportunities and professional development for your fellow Apra members. If you aren’t a morning person, please consider sponsoring a fellow walker. A donation at an amount comfortable for you will be greatly appreciated.