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    It Doesn’t Have to be Lonely at the Top

    After a lot of great feedback resulting from last week’s blog post, I am going to give you all a little break from the serious decisions that lay ahead for the fraternal community and turn things over to a guest blogger.

    Jackie Felling CEO, National President Degree of Honor Protective Association

    Jackie Felling
    CEO, National President
    Degree of Honor Protective Association

    For this week’s post, I am pleased to put the reins in the very able hands of Presidents Section Chair, Jackie Felling, CEO of Degree of Honor.

    I will occasionally be recruiting other guest bloggers to share their thoughts and opinions in this space. I think the Alliance has a great many talented volunteers participating on behalf of our member societies. By adding some of their voices to the blog on various topics, my hope is that we can keep the conversation dynamic and enlightening. With that, I am pleased to turn things over to Jackie!

    _____________________________________________________________

    Thanks Joe! I feel honored to be the first guest blogger and will do my best to keep things lively.

    Last week, one of the points that Joe covered in his message was about the need for courageous CEOs ready and willing to dream big and embrace change for their societies in planning a successful future. It got me thinking about some of the less glamorous aspects of the CEO position. Yes, we usually get a corner office with more windows; yes, we get to travel on industry business; and yes, we get to enjoy the limelight in frequent messages to our staff and members about the state of our societies. But due to our strategic and fiduciary responsibilities to our organizations, the proprietary information that we have access to and the responsibility of knowing that, in the end, the buck stops with us, our lives as CEOs can sometimes be very isolating.

    An Inc. article last year detailed the results of a survey conducted by consultancy RHR International of 83 CEOs at public and private companies with annual revenues of $50 million to $2 billion. The results indicated that fully half of the top executives reported feeling a sense of isolation that could potentially hinder their ability to do their jobs. The article went on to point out that first-time CEOs are particularly affected, with nearly 70 percent of indicating that they felt lonely in their post as leader.

    Reviewing these results makes me feel especially lucky to be a part of the fraternal community and an active participant in the Alliance’s Presidents Section. Thanks to the community of peers that I have found through my participation in the section, I can share that things are much less lonely at the top because the Presidents Section surrounds you with colleagues who understand what you are going through and who are a great source of support and wisdom to draw upon when things get challenging.

    Every spring, I look forward to attending the Alliance’s Presidents Mid-Year Meeting to check-in with my network and learn and share our unique experiences together. I find that the Presidents Section program provides information on the “big picture” issues we have to deal with as CEOs. The Alliance truly listens and delivers the information that we need to succeed.

    As Chair of the Council, I invite all my CEO colleagues to participate in this year’s meeting in Washington D.C. on April 7th-9th, and especially those that may be new to the CEO position. I am confident that you will find a welcoming and supportive community of peers and a top level program that will leave you positioned for success in the years to come.
    I also encourage you to support your staff’s participation in the other section Mid-Year Meetings as a part of their professional development program. Through participation in these events, your team members will have access to peers and experts engaged in economic, operations, marketing, member benefits, and community service roles. As Joe blogged a few weeks ago, ‘Mid-Year Meetings are where the work gets done – marketing partnerships are formed; cooperative relationships are built; mergers are negotiated; knowledge is shared – in a “roll-up-your-sleeves’ forum like no other in the industry.”

    On-line registration is available for both the Fraternal Operations Mid-Year Meeting, sponsored by the Secretaries/HR Section (April 6-8), and the Presidents Mid-Year Meeting (April 7-9). As usual, these meetings overlap and are held at the same location – the Marriott in Crystal City, VA (right across the river from Washington, D.C.).

    Take a look at the exciting programming we have planned.

    2013 President’s Mid Year Meeting Program

    2013 Fraternal Operations Mid-Year Meeting

    Why not register with your COO or number-two person and attend both meetings? There is a special rate that will save you $160 per person.

    Just a reminder that Presidents Meeting participants should plan on arriving on Sunday, April 7, in time to attend the welcoming reception and dinner that evening, and to depart on Wednesday, April 10, in order to participate in the Capitol Hill visits on the afternoon of April 9 and the reception in the Capitol that evening.

    I encourage everyone to get involved with a Section through the American Fraternal Alliance. No matter where you are or what you do for your society, you can find a community that will ensure you never have to feel lonely again.

    Thanks to Joe for this opportunity and I look forward to seeing everyone in Washington!

    4 Responses

    1. Great message Jackie! It is fellow CEOs like you who, by living the fraternal values of our system, make the excellent programs at the President’s section even more meaningful. Thank you.

    2. Thanks Jackie! Great to feel a sense of team in the fraternal community!

    3. […] to Jackie Felling from Degree of Honor for her terrific guest blog last week. She spoke in ways I couldn’t about the value of attending the Presidents Mid-Year Meeting and, […]

    4. Well said! I recall that Jackie was the first CEO I contacted in deciding to come to CHFS and she cheerfully provided her insight and wisdom – and encouragement such that I felt comfortable that I was not alone.

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