I first entered Tallahassee via US-27, Apalachee Parkway, on a dark and stormy night in 1994. I was in the cab of a Ryder rental truck with a half dozen tropical fish, and my fiancée, soon-to-be-husband, driving. As we crested a hill and the headlights illuminated a billboard, the truck slowed. Robert said, “Can you read that?” As I read the billboard’s proclamation, We play both kinds of music here… Country… and Western!, the gravel and 3 gals. of water in a 20 gal. aquarium started sloshing, and the truck turned and started heading back to Orlando. I said, “Whoa, we can’t go back, I accepted the promotion, and you’re going to grad school here.” Fast forward 25 years; I have a 30-year career in criminal justice, and he is the University Department Chair for Math at Keiser. Turns out… Tallahassee also plays Jazz, Pop, Blues, Hip-hop, Classical, Rocks, Folk, and World.
Tena Pate (LT 32) recruited me for LT, told me it was an experience of a lifetime, did not provide me with any details- said she wanted me to have the full experience. I remember thinking, the amount I am spending to participate in LT, I could go on a nice vacation. Was I making the right decision? I was already waking: had traveled to 53 countries, had life-changing experiences- also thought I was involved in my community. But for me, entering the world of LT was like in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy opened the door, and everything was suddenly in color. When I walked through the LT door, my life changed! My community was suddenly full of bright, new colors, and my zany, civic-minded classmates and I began an amazing journey together. My experience with LT Class 33… PRICELESS!
It was surprising how strongly LT 33 bonded, and it didn’t end there. After graduation, I attended get-togethers and participated in LT committees. I helped with the Class Program Days, Opportunity Tallahassee, and the Membership Committee; I attend the Distinguished Leadership Awards
, Building Better Boards,
LT Socials, and the Best Lunch Ever. And that’s when I realized my LT class had a cherry on top. Actually, 32 cherries (the 32 previous classes of LT Alumni, and another graduation to look forward to every year). I must surely be over the rainbow now! Every time I attend an LT event, I connect with more leaders and learn more about my community. I have been able to blend my professional expertise and contacts in the criminal justice arena with Class Program Days providing new opportunities for building relationships and providing a service to both LT and my profession. LT Alumni is a beehive of leaders working to make an impact on their community. I continue to be educated on the challenges and opportunities in my community, and I have fallen in love with my community. I continuously update a list I carry in my handbag of stores, restaurants, events, art venues, and historical sites in Tallahassee that I have not been to; there is no better place to explore than my own backyard. It’s true…there is no place like home.
Today, I am super ecstatic! I have the privilege and honor to chair this year’s Building Better Boards. I have styled myself as a servant-leader, getting out of bed each day looking forward to serving others. A perpetual optimist, my license plate reads “Carpe Diem.” Serving on the boards of numerous organizations has been one of the most rewarding and valuable decisions I’ve made. My community board experience is invaluable. Bringing your knowledge, energy, and expertise to the table is something that benefits the organization and benefits you. As a board member, you’ll care more than you thought you could. Interested? Mark your calendars for May 5th, because you do not want to miss Building Better Boards: an interactive seminar providing invaluable information and resources for board members and staff, both novices and veterans, in the world of not-for-profit organizations; where… dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true.