I’m about ready to call it a weekend as far as chores and Nebraska Press Women events-treasurer duties are concerned, but I wanted to post a few comments about our wonderful fall convention.

That’s a pretty corporate-sounding name for the spring and fall meetings I’ve attended for more than 36 years as an NPW-NFPW member. It really does feel like a family reunion every time, even to the point of celebrating birthdays with President Sherry Thompson and Scholarship Director Jill Claflin Friday night in the hospitality room following our board meeting at a Columbus steakhouse.

We’re really trying to rebuild the hospitality room tradition that for many of us longtime members was such a great networking time at every conference. We would sit on the floor listening to our older members who were great mentors tell us stories about their careers as professional communicators.

Hospitality room, Kerry Hoffschneider, Barb Micek, Barb Batie

At the board meeting and Saturday’s convention at the U.S. Indian School and Interpretive Center Museum in Genoa, about 20 miles west of Columbus, a huge part of the discussion was development of committees and their leaders to go forward with action items from the strategic planning our affiliate has been working on the past year.

Business meeting, action plan, U.S. Indian School and Interpretive Center, Genoa

It has been interesting to sit in on the process at the Nebraska and national levels. NFPW leaders also have focused on strategic planning and already have started the action phase. I hope – expect – that there will be things we can learn from each other.

As one of our NPW workshop speakers on infographics said, there is no shame in “stealing” or at least learning from good ideas developed by others.

One interesting idea Jill had for generating enthusiasm from NPW members to volunteer to serve on an action team was to provide cake. Judy Nelson, another member of the action team planning group, along with Kerry Hoffschneider and Sherry, encouraged us with generous amounts of chocolate candy and distributed party favors that allowed us to “honk” approval when instructed.

The cake featured our logo and three panels representing our three main action areas: membership, visibility and programming/member services. It was decorated like a sheet cake, but below were help-yourself cupcakes. Jill said it’s an incentive she often used when leading communications at Habitat for Humanity headquarters in Georgia.

Action plan cake - cupcakes1

Now the work begins. Action area leaders – Jill, me and Glennis Nagel – will meet in a few weeks to identify the first critical steps to move forward with the plan.

NPW will celebrate our 70th anniversary as an NFPW affiliate in 2016 with special events at our spring convention in Lincoln and fall convention in the Kearney area. And we’re already talking about a caravan style road trip to Wichita next September for the 2016 NFPW Convention.

I hope both Nebraska and NFPW leaders will have great things to report about our accomplishments.