Greetings to all of my Fellows,
I am deeply honored and humbled to serve as your president for the next year. Through these newsletters I want to inform you about various things concerning the operations and workings of the College that you might not know. Why do our meetings cost so much to attend? Why isn’t it easier to get a hotel reservation for our meetings, and why doesn’t our leadership fix this? Why have our dues gone up? What does the future hold for the College? I will address those and other topics in future newsletters.
My first order of business is to thank our immediate past President Kathy Sherby for the great year just ended. Under Kathy’s leadership we had meetings filled with both fun and work, in great venues. Beginning with the beauty of Dana Point, and continuing with the timeless charm and lagniappe of New Orleans, and ending with the beautiful beaches of Marco Island – and having avoided the ACTEC weather curse – the work of the College was carried out in wonderful venues. Kathy and her husband Jim made extraordinary efforts at outreach to all of our Fellows by crisscrossing the country to attend numerous state and regional meetings. Kathy worked hard to reinvigorate the College’s ties with the National College of Probate Judges. She represented the College in presenting submissions to Congress, the Treasury Department, and the Internal Revenue Service.
Thanks are also due to Duncan Osborne, who has now rotated off the Executive Committee after six years. The next time you see Duncan and Betty or talk with them, please give them your thanks for all of the time and hard work they have given to us.
We are an organization of volunteers. A really big number of Fellows give their time to us: our state chairs, committee chairs and vice chairs, regents, executive committee members, and officers. There are so many others who give their time also: members of our state membership committees, our national substantive and administrative committees, and of course every Fellow who joins and attends and participates in the work of our committees.
My point here is not to recite a long list of names of people to thank, even though each of them has my own heartfelt thanks for what they do for the College, and though each is deserving of individual mention. If I were to do that in this space, I would be like the director of a documentary film attending his first Academy Awards ceremony, thanking everyone from my wife and children and parents to my elementary school teachers to my co-workers! I would lose your attention. The point I make here instead is that you – we, all of us – we are an organization of volunteers. The work of the College is done by volunteers, not a single one of whom is paid anything for the time we give – assisted of course by our highly professional and dedicated staff in the national office.
You – we – are the best and the brightest in our profession. Each one of us was invited to become a Fellow, in recognition of our accomplishments and our service to our profession. You did not apply to become an ACTEC Fellow. You were nominated, and your peers agreed that you have earned your place among us. There is no higher honor in your career than being admitted to the College as a Fellow.
The next time that you are at a gathering of Fellows – whether it is at a state, regional, or national meeting, or at a local study group – look around you. Stop for a moment and reflect. We are the best at what we do. You are part of the best and the brightest. Be proud of that, and enjoy being a Fellow!
I want to make your experience as a Fellow as enjoyable and rewarding as possible. I will work with the other members of your executive committee, our executive director Deb McKinnon, and our national office staff to do just that. You deserve no less. If something isn’t right, or if it can be done better, please tell me. If there is anything that I personally can do to help you in the College, call me or write me. My contact information is in the roster.
Thanks to each of you for what you do for the College.