We’re all so busy with work, family responsibilities, and additional demands on our time by the professional, spiritual, cultural and community groups and activities in our lives that we rarely have time to take stock of things.

So it’s interesting that both National Federation of Press Women leaders and my Nebraska affiliate board have done member surveys and are taking serious looks at what the responses tell us about the future of our organizations.

At Saturday’s NPW winter board meeting at the Grand Island Independent office, were immediate past Nebraska president Bette Pore and Nebraska Contest Director Terri Hahn both work as copy editors, we did our immediate business in the morning and then spent a couple of hours in the afternoon taking stock.

A committee led by Membership Director Judy Nelson of Lincoln conducted the survey.

Judy asked us to share things that surprised us … or didn’t … in the survey results. We talked about the individual comments written, looked at our demographics and looked for trends.

Then we worked the old-fashioned way by using white newsprint type paper stuck to the walls and Cheryl Alberts Irwin writing our responses to Judy’s questions. We ended up with four topic lists: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for NPW.

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Some words made two or more lists.

Before we left, everyone was asked to select the top five things on each list and give those answers one point.

The goal Saturday was not to create a strategic long-range plan, although we were sent home with a question to fill out about how NPW should brand itself, which also is part of the process to write an updated mission statement.

Judy and her team will compile the results for our work session and direct us toward that next step at our spring convention April 24-25 at Lexington.

That’s the weekend following the spring meeting of the NFPW board and directors at which President Teri Ehresman of Idaho will lead us in a similar long-range planning effort.

Members will hear a lot more about what we learn and what we plan to do with that knowledge at the 2015 NFPW Conference Sept. 10-12 in Anchorage, Alaska.

Taking stock is time-consuming and difficult, especially for those willing to share their talents to lead the process. But it is so important to NFPW and our affiliates.

We discovered Saturday that it also is fun to sit around the table with Press Women friends to network, share common interests and have a laugh or two. Judy did a good job of bringing us back to the focus of our discussion when our conversations strayed a bit.

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Oh yes, and the catered taco buffet at lunch, plus all the chocolates, cookies and other snacks provided by board members were quite tasty.

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