Friday, September 22, 2017

You Have to Look Backwards Before You Can Move Forward

Have you ever pulled out of a parking space without looking back first, even if just a little bit? Most of us can probably admit to having done that at some point. If you have and you were lucky, you may have gotten off easy. No accident - just the blaring of a horn and some undesirable hand gestures directed your way.

Looking back is a necessity before setting a car into reverse, and doing so can be equally as important when considering options for the future.

In November, I will have reached the halfway point of my term as president. As I think about the new PTA year ahead, I’ve paused to take that look back before thinking about how to move forward. At Convention 2016, I shared my vision for NYS PTA and some ideas about how to make that vision come into focus. Each of you so graciously added your energy and commitment, and supplied a vast array of fresh ideas that turned a vision into reality. Together we have made a difference and have witnessed some very noticeable progress!

In just one year, we have significantly widened the scope of our impact and expanded the reach of our powerful voice. We’ve changed the way we apply our resources on Lobby Day, having advocates split into smaller groups that deliver our Association's concerns to their own representatives. This targeted approach not only produced a significant increase in the number of legislator meetings, but heightened the quality of the meetings in that the elected officials heard directly from their own constituents.

Virtual Lobby Day has also seen a renovation. Advocacy alerts are now split and delivered to legislators by issue rather than bundled together. This enhancement to an already effective program has generated a 375% increase in the number of emails conveyed to legislators, highlighting the size of NYS PTA and commanding the reception we deserve.

As if that weren’t enough, the new Strategic Alliance Program has presented benefits and opportunities that enhance NYS PTA’s positive impact on the member experience while increasing non-dues revenue on the balance sheet.

A new insurance program, AIM, Inc., provides 24/7 access to our units’ insurance needs, and streamlines the administrative process, freeing up NYS PTA staff resources to address other significant matters.

So much for looking back! All’s clear and we can shift into drive! Looking forward, new initiatives are being implemented and are sure to catch your attention. Our new website is about to be launched. I am confident that you will find it to be an exciting new resource.

New leadership training webinars covering a series of six different topics are scheduled for this school year. The first webinar, "Building Great Relationships with School and District Leadership”, is being held next week. Please consider participating and becoming a part of this exciting new training opportunity.

A new Legislative Summit has been planned to advance our advocacy work, and will be held in February 2018.

Some of these new initiatives include MemberHub sites which facilitate communication between the units and their members, and, which conveniently ensures federal compliance requirements are maintained.

The importance of looking back applies to many aspects of our lives. In the physical world, it can provide safety. In our emotional world, it can elicit good feelings that conjure up nostalgic memories of good times. Here at NYS PTA, we look back and see the sturdy building blocks set in place by our past leadership teams, and even sneak a peek at the not-so-distant past and see the important progress we’ve achieved. The portal to the past gives us a view that can be used to guide us into our future.

Keep up the good work!


Gracemarie Rozea, President
Leading the Way