This week I am missing for the first time in many years a great gathering of some of my favorite people in the world. It is the Annual Conference of the Association of Continuing Legal Education professionals, aka ACLEA. Having worked in the CLE space for over 11 years, these people became much more than professional contacts, clients, and competitors, they became my friends. What is so neat about having a group like ACLEA that you see on a regular basis is that they are from all over the globe. From UK to Australia to Cleveland to NYC to Seattle and Denver. It’s a wonderfully, geographically diverse group of folks. Most people, I don’t believe, have the privilege of building deep, lasting friendships with others on such a global scale. It’s an awesome feeling. I love that if I ever am stranded on a layover, in just about any city in the US, I have a friend I can call for dinner or lunch.
What’s even better is that through the magic of Facebook and Twitter, I am able to keep current with these people far beyond our industry work. I know whose kids made a mess of the kitchen last week because I saw photos. I know about great vacations and they know about mine. Sitting down over a beer is just as comfortable as it is with my friends I see on a weekly basis around Atlanta and Peachtree City.
If you have an industry association that is on a global scale, I encourage you to GIVE yourself to it. The only was associations work is if you give to them. The organization has nothing to give. It only has what it’s members give. Give of yourself and you will find that the organization rewards you with lifelong friends that you would otherwise probably never connect with.
So to all my friends at ACLEA in Denver, enjoy, and I will see you soon!