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Aug 08

President Kelly's Message - August 2018

Posted on August 8, 2018 at 10:17 AM by Denice Cox

My how time flies! It is difficult to believe it has been 60-plus days since we departed the lovely City of Norfolk where Alan Bull, MMC, and our Region II Hosts continuously sought to remind us of the 2018 nautical conference theme “All Hands-on Deck…Global Networking for Shared Success.” It was truly an outstanding conference. There were so many highlights; one hardly knows where to start - from the pre-conference academies, the Athenian Dialogues, the music and food at the All-Conference Event to the roving young musicians at the Annual Banquet, not to mention the General Sessions and the numerous educational sessions; the naval theme emphasis reminded us why we came together for this conference: network, collaborate and communicate. We were encouraged to soak in the knowledge to help us stay on top of the waves and/or weather and the rough seas on our individual voyage. If you have not taken time to look at the conference photos, I recommend a peek by visiting The pictures offer a mere glimpse into the Norfolk conference experience.

On a personal note, I extend my sincere gratitude to members who took the time to offer words of encouragement and showed their support of me in various ways during the conference. Preparation for and attending the Norfolk conference was bittersweet in the wake of my husband’s sudden passing in January. He was looking forward to attending Norfolk, would have enjoyed every moment and likely have talked to everyone in his path. I know he was there in spirit, which strengthened me immensely.

Since Norfolk, there has been no lull in activity centered on IIMC. To begin with, shortly upon returning home, we had an unprecedented resignation of two Region Directors within the same week. We express our appreciation to former Region II Director Heidi Brunt, MMC, New Jersey and former Region VI Director Dan Buchholtz, MMC, Minnesota for their service to IIMC. Both Heidi and Dan were dedicated members of the Board during their tenures. We regret the circumstances that led to their individual decisions but wish them well in all their future endeavors. Following the process for filling Board vacancies outlined in the Constitution, the new Region II Director is Diane Pflugfelder, MMC, Municipal Clerk/Administrator of Liberty, NJ. The new Region VI Director is Audra Etzel, MMC, Deputy Clerk of Rockford, MN. The oath of office will be administered to both during the October Mid-Year Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas. We extend a hearty welcome to our new Directors.

One conference no more ends than it is time to begin planning for the next. Having said that, there’s Magic in the air in Birmingham, Alabama, the host city for the 2019 Annual Conference. I, along with Executive Director Chris Shalby, Assistant Director of Professional Development Ashley DiBlasi and Event Planner Sharon Ozimek recently visited with the Birmingham Host Committee for an exhaustive site visit. The Host Committee plans to lay out the red-carpet and showcase their amazing southern hospitality. You should start planning now to attend IIMC’s 73rd Annual Conference. The Host Hotel is adjacent to the Birmingham Convention Center. Unless we completely fill the Host Hotel, all conference attendees will be in the same hotel. If, however, we exceed the capacity, the overflow Hotel is just across from the host hotel. Based on initial plans, Birmingham will be a memorable experience in educational sessions and more! You do not want to miss the magic that is in store.

My theme for the year is “Together, WE can!” The word “together” is seemly a simple word; frequently used, but sometimes misinterpreted. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “together” is an adverb, meaning “with each other”: “in or into one place, group, mixture, piece, etc.”: “in a close relationship”: “in or into association or relationship”: “by combined action.” In addition, the word “together” can be used as an adjective; defined as “appropriately prepared, organized or balanced”.

When thinking of the word “together” in the context of organizational structure, some may think all members ought to be of like minds; when actually nothing is farther from the truth. There are countless wonderful ideas and suggestions within the hearts and minds of our members that have yet to come forward. Please explore opportunities to share them. Our best future depends on building upon the great accomplishments of our past. Author and historian Edward Hale once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Togetherness leads toward unity, mutual respect, cooperation and growth. Remember, “Together, WE can!”

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