Grant Axtell, Outgoing President
As my term as Chapter President closes, a friend and colleague recently asked me how I would summarize the past year for ASTD-Cascadia. I had a simple, one word answer: INCREDIBLE! In just one short year, we have seen the rebirth of our chapter.
- Membership surpassed 500 for the first time in over four years.
- Participation increased in events increased by more than 30% over 2011.
- Our program revenue more than doubled over 2011 while we kept expenses low.
- We brought noted speaker Tom Kuhlman to Portland in event attended by 100 people from as far away as Chicago.
- Our conference this month drew 100 more participants than in 2011.
- National ASTD honored us as Chapter of the Month in October and for six Share Our Success submissions.
Many of you may not know that just two years ago there were very serious conversations about whether our Chapter had the resources to continue to operate. I am very happy to say that we are now on solid financial footing. The Board will continue to look at ways to grow revenue and keep expenses low while at the same time making sure we are investing in you, our members.
This year that investment came in a number of ways. Let me share with you some of those investments and outcomes.
- Low cost learning events - Not only did we keep the cost of learning events low to our members, we had a full schedule with over 30 learning events including workshops, Learning Leader Forums, series, SIGS, and FREE webinars! Participation in our programming increased more than 20% over the previous year.
- New Chapter Website – We are making a significant investment into an entirely new chapter website that will launch earlay in 2013. For the first time, we will have a “members only” section that will allow us to provide you even more benefits!
- More networking opportunities - We continue to hold our quarterly member meetings (the next is December 6 at the Lucky Lab on Quimby). This year marked the return of networking sessions open to all interested in workplace learning. In addition, long-term members are now available to meet and network with new members over coffee!
- Conference returns to Portland - The conference returned to Portland and was a smashing success with keynotes from Allison Rosette, Jack Zenger, and Tyson Wooters. It was incredible to see so many workplace-learning professionals in one place! And mark your calendars NOW as the Conference Committee is already planning for next year. The conference is scheduled for Friday, October 4, 2013 and will feature author and speaker Peter Block!
- New chapter leadership model – This year we changed how we manage the chapter. Kathleen Bergquist stepped into the role of Executive Director. She spent her days focused on day to day operations as well as reaching out to past chapter leaders and implementing the vision and goals of the board. The new Chapter Leadership Team (CLT), comprised of the board and committee chairs, met on a regular basis to talk about and work on solving tough issues facing the chapter. Our new student scholarship program funded through ChIPS is one outcome of the CLT meetings.
- Student Scholarship Program - 50% of revenue we receive from the Chapter Incentive Program (ChIPs) is now used to provide workplace learning students membership and program scholarships. Remember to use CH8029 on every purchase from National ASTD to increase the amount available for scholarships.
- Emphasis on volunteers - Thank you to each of you who spent time volunteering for your chapter over the past year. Not all of what we accomplished this year would be possible without your time and commitment. Please join us November 8 at our annual volunteer appreciation reception at the Kennedy School.
The next board is already hard at work looking at how we continue to invest in our chapter and you, our members.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you as Chapter President. It has been an incredible year and I look forward to many more incredible years as our chapter continues to grow and prosper.