My Friends in Retirement,
I am so pleased to be writing this message to you today. It is summer, the weather has been absolutely beautiful and there is much for us to celebrate. I find it amazing how the weather impacts our very beings. When the sun is shining and the temperatures are warm, everything seems right with the world. On top of that, this year has been designated as “Come Home Year” in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. That usually means the anticipation of family and friends, living elsewhere in the world, taking the time and opportunity to return home, to reunite with family and to celebrate all the wonderful traditions that make this place so very special. It is my sincere hope that you all have an amazing time travelling throughout the province, exploring various places that you haven’t yet seen, sharing time with family and friends and really enjoying so many of the attractions, festivals and amenities which our province has to offer. However, in light of the fact that COVID is still with us, and will continue to be for the unforeseeable future, I strongly advise that you be safe and continue to wear your masks at public indoor venues.
It’s hard to believe that my term as President of NLPSPA is coming to a close. The past two years have flown by so quickly! It has certainly been a very busy two years and I have learned so much and, hopefully, have accomplished all that I set out to achieve. The overall goal was to bring the Association into the 21st Century. The first step in accomplishing this was to begin to transition the Board from a Working Board to a Governance Board in the hopes that becoming a member of the Board of Directors of NLPSPA may be more attractive for volunteers well into the future. This could not have happened without the hiring of an interim Executive Director, in the person of Sharron Callahan, who has been integral to moving this forward in the most efficient and effective way possible. The process has been ongoing for the past two years and I am pleased to say that I feel we have almost arrived. The last step is the hiring of a new Executive Director and, as I write this message to you today, that process has begun. The recruitment for this position is now underway.
Throughout this process there have been many things that had to be done to reflect the move toward the 21st Century. The first step was to have us enter into a “Green Environment” as a way of doing things. Hence, we saw our Pensioner Newsletter going green, thus eliminating the printing and mailing of in excess of 5000 paper newsletters and bringing that number down to approximately fifty, for the members who, for various reasons, are yet unable to fully access the internet.
The second step in that process was to eliminate most of the paper use and photocopying at the Office, especially as it related to meetings of Board Directors and the many communications in between. That was accomplished by providing our directors with their own laptop computers and having all communications, including meetings and meeting materials, uploaded onto the computers for easy access. This also meant that every director had his/her meeting materials well
in advance of up-coming meetings and were much more prepared, due to having plenty of time to familiarize themselves with the materials provided.
The third step was introduced as a direct result of COVID 19, believe it or not. Since in-person meetings were not permitted, at that time, we had to resort to the use of virtual meetings, via Zoom. We soon discovered that this was a very effective and efficient way to hold Board Meetings, committee meetings and meetings with outside partners. While it doesn’t eliminate the need for face-to-face meetings, it will surely reduce the number of such meetings in future, thus cutting back on a lot of personal vehicle usage, wear and tear on the body as well as the vehicle and, the expense to the Association. Tied into this revelation was the fact that we could now offer many events virtually as well, thus allowing us the ability to offer many important information sessions to our membership, their friends and families. Sharron, our ED, went to work immediately, seeking suggestions from everyone as to the topics of interest they would like presented. Speakers were invited to present their expertise on the topics identified and the sessions began. We have received all kinds of wonderful comments about these events, province-wide, and hope to continue them into the future.
The fourth step was to make NLPSPA totally available to its members, their families and friends, the business community, government, various volunteer associations and basically, anyone who had an interest in discovering who we are, what we do, how we do it and why. This could only be done through the use of technology, of course. So, with the leadership of one of our board members, Clifford Reid, who quickly became our technical guide, Sharron, our Executive Director, and our Administrative Assistant, Cheryl, we soon had a new, fully interactive Facebook Page launched. Having said that, I would encourage each of you to go in and check it out. Read the articles, check out the activities the Association has been involved in, comment, contact the office or any individual member of the Board, but most importantly, please take the time to “like” and “share”, since this will continue to increase the outreach among the membership and bring more awareness of the Association to like-minded groups of people, families and friends.
However, this was just the beginning of our technical upgrade. Subsequent to establishing our Facebook Page, we made contact with our contracted technical support company, Triware, and started the process of establishing a new Webpage. You’ll all be glad to know that this is the final step in the process, which is why I said, at the beginning, that we’re almost there, in terms of our entry into the 21st Century. Once again, under the guidance of Clifford Reid, Chairperson of the technical side of the Communications Committee, along with oversight by Sharron and assistance from Cheryl, this process is now in its final stages and launch can be expected sometime in October.
My hope, in telling you all this, is that you will take as much pride in the new status of your Association as the Board of Directors, the staff and I do. When we started this, we knew it was going to take a lot of time, research and hard work. We never expected that it would have been completed in two years. However, when you have the kind of support which was given to this project, along with the expertise required, things just start to fall in place. There’s been a lot of work and many, many hours gone into bringing all this to fruition. Nothing of this magnitude gets done without that kind of commitment from everyone involved. The professionalism, the amount of work, the dedication and commitment, the support of all was, without question, what made all this possible. We can move forward, with great pride, in what is now a truly professional association, representing you, its members, well into the future. We can stand proud and take our place with any other professional association anywhere in the world. We now have that kind of reach and capability. Yes, my friends, your Association has arrived!
Yours in retirement,