Having recently left the Board of the Greater New York Chapter of the MRA, I find myself reflecting over the many years of change I have experienced during my long tenure on the Board.
First I will share a few early recollections:
Lynda Manning of Data Development approached me at an ARF and asked if I would be interested in getting more involved with the MRA.Â I, of course, knew of the organization, but perceived it as a group of data collectors and field services who mainly worked from their homes.Â Please remember this is MANY years ago. And so, I gave it a try and came to a few meetings which were then at the Princeton Club.Â The rather sterile atmosphere and stilted evening lectures did not do much to encourage my interest but I did meet a few members who strongly suggested I give the organization more of a chance.
My first conference was in Atlantic City.Â Knowing very few people made this a bit daunting. It did not take more than a few minutes before Ilene Kaplan and Ruth Ann Chesnoff, literally strode across the crowded meeting room and greeted me and my business partner with such warmth and enthusiasm that we immediately became part of what heretofore seemed like an â€˜in-crowdâ€™. The proverbial ice had been broken!
There were others who were key in my becoming more involved.Â Mary Wang, SPSS/IBM, who although already a personal friend, furthered my involvement by asking me to volunteer for a task force which revised the Code of Ethics, Â Standards and Best Practices.Â And so I became familiar with one aspect of the organization â€“Task Forces â€“ which are formed to deal with periodic activities, such as By-Law updates or other initiatives that come up with less regularity.Â
Then at an End-of-Year installation event, I wound up in conversation with Steve Gerzovich of KantarHealth, who was then the President of our Chapter.Â He spent the time to talk to me about the benefits of becoming more involved. Â I then got trulyÂ â€˜hookedâ€™ and never spent a minute regretting it.
The process continued:
I slowly learned about the structure of the Chapter, how the Board functions with many Committees to steer the activities which make us achieve our goals of educational and networking events, publishing a quarterly newsletter, organizing a Joint Chapter event with the Philadelphia Chapter, to name a few.Â There are Board liaisons who work with Committee Chairs and their Committee members to keep communication going and to execute the various activities throughout the year.
This is all possible through VOLUNTEERS.Â The most wonderful volunteers at that.Â
The best part:
Besides the rewarding aspect of being part of the Chapterâ€™s Board as a Director-at-Large for more than 2 terms and as President, there was an amazing benefit that I had not anticipated. I hope I have engaged your interest enough so that you will follow me to the end of this journey.
As an integral part of the Chapter, I saw the changes over the last decade. We have grown into a truly professional organization with educational events that make one proud.Â We publish an online newsletter that is informative and sophisticated. We run events that have more networking time since our Membership Survey has shown us that is what members want.Â We have a better relationship with the National organization and we interact with other Chapters. We have evolved into an amazing organization and we also have fun!
There was a lot to learn and a lot of effort was made to bring us to where we are today. I, for one, have a great feeling of pride in our Chapter and the MRA. We have truly â€˜come a long way, babyâ€™.
For me, it has been a life enhancing experience.Â I learned the joys of volunteering. My business has been remarkably increased by developing many more associates through the organization and now for the VERY BEST PART—
I have made the most wonderful friends whom I hope and trust will be lifelong ones.Â This was the hidden treasure of my experience and one I wanted to share above all others.Â And lucky for all of you (and for me), one of them is your new President, Janet Baldi of RTI Research.Â She is an absolute joy and her energy, warmth, intelligence, dedication and her constantly bright glow all attest to the wonderful year you will have ahead.
I will stay involved and encourage all of you to do the same. Donâ€™t be shy. Contact me if you need a little nudge.
This is a GREAT organization. Try it. You will definitely like it!!