By Michelle Smith, Jameson Babbitt Stites & Lombard, P.L.L.C.

ALA held the annual CLI in Minneapolis this year from July 19th – 21st.  This was a wonderful opportunity as a new board member to go through an orientation, training and networking event with other chapter officers and volunteer leaders.  This was my first opportunity to attend a national level event let alone exposure to ALA’s Board of Directors, Regional Representatives, Chapter Leaders, National Business Partners and members of the ALA Headquarters staff.  I attended this conference with Tara Binge, Arun Mistry, Christopher George, Denny Krantz, Barbara Paige, April Campbell and Lisa Sterritt.  

I was initially overwhelmed and more than a bit intimidated.  Was I going to be able to learn as expected?  Was PSALA going to be happy that I was selected to attend?  My worry was unnecessary.  Once I got my app for the event uploaded and my sessions selected I was ready to go.  Talk about a whirlwind!  Since I am currently involved with the Business Partners I wanted to attend as many sessions with a Business Partner emphasis as possible.  I also attended sessions regarding Chapter Membership, Leadership and Engagement.  The keynote speaker from the first morning gave me a new perspective on Millennials.  It was so refreshing to hear positive not negative comments about this up and coming generation.  My favorite part was meeting other members from across the country as well as the globe (one attendee was from Brazil).  The ideas that were exchanged were wonderful.  I came away with contacts that I will be reaching out to in the coming months.

The united enthusiasm for ALA was definitely contagious and I returned to Seattle with a new level of excitement for this organization both at the chapter and national level, as well as my job.  I wanted to hit the ground running and I am extremely excited to implement what I have learned into my role as VP of Business Partner Relations as well as my role as office administrator for Jameson Babbitt Stites & Lombard.