A long weekend in Las Vegas may sound like a wonderful time of good food, bright lights, laughs with friends and entertainment, whether it is seeing a show or spending some time in a casino.

There was some of that last weekend during the NFPW board and directors meeting, but much more time by far was spent looking closely at our nearly 80-year-old organization and its future.

The team of Cynthia Price of Virginia and Karen Stensrud of North Dakota led us through a strategic planning session for nearly all of our eight-hour meeting time on Friday and most of the final session on Saturday morning.

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We discussed what we had learned from a member survey and broke into small groups to define our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. We considered the professional needs and wants of our members from different generations.

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The sessions included looking honestly at our financials, and developing some specific tasks and goals under assigned leaders in the areas of conference, advocacy, membership and contest.

You will be reading a lot more about this in the spring AGENDA, which editor Cathy Koon is putting together now, and in the coming months from the monthly eletter and at the 2015 NFPW Conference in Anchorage, Alaska, this September.

Setting a course for a journey, a family, an organization or a career is difficult and, yes, a little scary. No matter how much information we gather or how much we know when making plans, there always are uncertainties.

Although we joked about it in Las Vegas, we know we can’t count on hitting the jackpot to ensure that we can do all the things we’d like to do for NFPW and still have a balanced budget.

Some luck may part of our future, but the hard work and dedication of your current leaders, the willingness of other leaders to step forward on the affiliate and national levels, and our ability to change as the roles of professional communicators change will actually determine our future.

I hope all of you will be a big part of that future.

A first step is to come to the 2015 NFPW Conference. I guarantee that attending a first conference will forever change your opinions and expectations of the National Federation of Press Women.

It sure did mine in 1987 and I have missed only two conferences since then.

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