sherryChange The Odds

A former United States President once said, “Volunteering is an act of heroism on a grand scale. And it matters profoundly. It does more than help people beat the odds; it changes the odds.” I’ve spent quite a lot of time thinking about that statement in the past few months and I’ve great news for all of you who are reading this: as members of NACM, you are well-positioned to truly change the odds.

Let me share my thoughts on why I think you are well-positioned to change the odds as an NACM member:

Opportunity: When I attended the CFDD Pacific Northwest Credit Conference last fall, I heard Albert Mensah speak on the United States being the land of opportunity. He was both motivating and inspirational! We are very fortunate that Albert will serve as NACM’s Super Session Keynote Speaker in Nashville. One more reason to attend Credit Congress!

At every opportunity, you must do your best, always and at all times. You must always be willing to give 100 percent and to work as if you are always in the spotlight. Whether it is at work or while participating in an NACM activity, you have to step forward and volunteer. Don’t wait to be asked.

The first time I attended an NACM event, I sat back and waited for someone to welcome me and no one did! So, I didn’t return for several years. The next time I attended a meeting, I didn’t wait to be welcomed. I put out my hand and introduced myself and I’ve been doing that ever since. What a difference it made when I took the initiative.

In The Winner Within, Pat Riley related that a friend had pointed out to him: “If you go to a baseball game and sit in the stands hoping a ball is going to get hit to you, you’ll have to wait a very long time. You’ve got to get out on the field.” When the opportunity arises, you want to be the one who comes to mind for the next promotion or advancement.

Mentors: I would not be where I am today without good friends and mentors. My friends told me what I could do long before I had thought about it. I had mentors in Alice McGregor, Dee Christianson and Leola Miller. I had teachers in Leslie Reedy, Deems Urqhardt, Mike McDowell and Andrea Bledso. I had promoters in Terri Carter, Madge Hanson, Don Conklin, Alice White and Bobbi Whisler, to name a few. And, I have my very own cheerleader in Heidi Lindgren Boyce. Albert Mensah told us during his speech that it “takes a village”—how right he is. I haven’t done this alone—I had so much help!

Volunteer: Volunteer to serve. Join a CFDD Chapter Committee, a local Affiliate Committee or a national Committee. Volunteer work opens so many doors and opportunities: you’ll learn, you’ll meet new people, you’ll hear so many new points of view, you’ll make lifelong friendships and, most importantly, you’ll grow.

When you volunteer, give 100 percent! Don’t be a resume-builder, collecting titles, without giving of yourself. Do what you volunteered to do: attend meetings, assist with the projects, and above all, participate! Give the project your all and that includes turning off your cell phones and Blackberries while you’re doing it! Volunteerism is hard work, but the reward is fantastic and one that I wouldn’t exchange for anything! Every thing that I’ve volunteered for has only helped me grow.

We’ve come full circle—volunteering changes your personal and professional odds. NACM provides you with unlimited opportunity to change your odds: it presents countless opportunities, which, when leveraged, assist you with both your professional and personal growth. NACM is your mentor network; your professional peers and NACM staff stand ready to help.

Consider being a hero. Consider making a difference in your future! Consider making an impact on the future of our profession! Leverage every opportunity you can to participate!