Time marches on. As we approach the end of the calendar year, we are still in the midst of a convergence of trauma – the continuing pandemic, political uncertainty, racial unrest. Our associations and businesses are challenged, and we are emotionally drained. Most likely there is more unrest to come. How can we focus? How can we thrive both personally and professionally?
I have written before about the importance of associations – the need to be part of something greater than yourself. This was proven true once again at NYSAE’s Engagement Lounge on October 16 where close to 50 of our members heard Robert Beck, a clinical social worker and therapist, lead a discussion on our mental health and the importance of taking care of ourselves during a crisis.
For many, our feelings were validated as he spoke about how a crisis like the pandemic affects us all, creating a loss of safety, stability, predictability and hope. We have lost trust in our leaders. We are scared, isolated lonely. Our sense of purpose both professionally and personally is altered.
Instead of retraumatizing us by focusing on the data and metrics, this NYSAE session provided an avenue to center ourselves both professionally and personally. Robert Beck advised that we cultivate a sense of connection and hope and reestablish a sense of stability and predictability. He talked about mutual support – how we can help each other with coping skills based on our own life experiences and how we have survived trauma in the past. He talked about cultivating trust and reducing a sense of isolation be relying on the support of our peers. He talked about the ABC plan: Awareness of how each of us has reacted personally and professionally; Balance in work and life; and Connection to reduce a sense of isolation as human beings and as professionals.
When you connect the dots, he was talking about NYSAE. What better support group to help our members navigate these turbulent waters. We need to make sure we do everything to help our associations survive. That can be an overwhelming task. We have had to counsel our Boards on our new scenarios, while they are distracted doing the same for their own businesses. We have had to revamp budgets with no crystal ball into the future and to transition everything we do to virtual. We have had to support a staff worried about their jobs, their health, their futures.
In such challenging times as leaders, it is comforting to know that we are all in this together, as association professionals, we can lean on each other to figure out next steps, to make the right next decision.
We need to connect in order to share solutions, and to be an early warning system for repercussions coming down the road. We need to come together to help each other figure out next week, next year, the future ahead.
NYSAE is the perfect conduit for connections. If you are not yet a member, now is the time to connect with other professionals just like you who have solutions and also may have questions where your expertise could help. Click here for membership information. If you are already a member, engage with us more. Click here for our calendar of events. NYSAE will help you in your position, we will offer you support, and you will meet a whole new group of professional friends.
Joining NYSAE (or engaging more) will be one of the best professional decisions you make this year.
Joanne S. Barry CAE
CEO/Executive Director, New York State Society of CPAs