2017 AACRAO Leadership Meeting brings members together in Old Town Alexandria

Earlier this month, AACRAO leaders converged in Old Town Alexandria for the annual Leadership Meeting. The principal purpose of the meeting is to bring together the professional activity committee chairs, meeting directors, the Board of Directors, officers from all of the state and regional ACRAO’s, and AACRAO staff to discuss pressing issues for our professions and for higher education in general.

This year the meeting hosted members from 38 states plus Canada. Following the opening lunch on Friday, the meeting began with a recap from our Executive Director, Mike Reilly, on the developments over the calendar year within the office, including;

  • The purchase of office condominium space

  • The purchase of a new ERP, and

  • The pending website upgrade.

William Gil, Director of Government Relations, provided updates on recent regulatory developments and the most current news from the House on the Higher Education Act Reauthorization and what impacts that it could have on our members’ work. The Board also engaged the group to take part in strategic initiatives focusing on student success and supporting state and regional associations.

The keynote address on diversity, access, and equity issues on campus focused on the experience of three professionals at the University of Missouri. Donell Young, Ryan Gavin, and AACRAO member Brenda Selman graciously shared their stories about the events which culminated in campus-wide protests and a 30% drop in enrollment.

Following a candlelit tour of historic Mt. Vernon, state and regional officers (primarily presidents-elect and treasurers) split up into their own meeting on Saturday to discuss the shared challenges and opportunities of local organizations, including meeting planning, hotel contracts, session generation, membership management, and attracting new members.

Meanwhile, the rest of group met to formally kick off planning for the 2019 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles. (NOTE: 2018 Annual Meeting planning began last December.) The chairs examined their committee rosters and collaborated on overall strategies for a successful meeting that would address the professional needs of new members, experienced professionals, and mentors alike. (Session proposals for the 2019 meeting are being accepted now.)

The meeting wrapped up on a sunny winter afternoon, after which attendees went to enjoy the sights and sounds of historic Old Town during the Holidays – including a Scottish Christmas Parade and boats decorated with Christmas lights trolling down the Potomac River.

Next year’s Leadership Meeting will be held in June. Want to come? Get involved! The meeting is invite-only. Volunteering for AACRAO or your state/regional ACRAO is professionally rewarding and can provide a personal network that many keep for life.