Viewpoint: The Courage to Conquer Requires Responsibility!
Viewpoint: The Courage to Conquer Requires Responsibility!

A message from our International President.

When I was a candidate for Third Vice President, I remember being asked the question, “What is one of the biggest leadership lessons you have learned?” My response was that as a leader, you couldn’t be everyone’s friend. I went on to explain that as leaders, you have the ultimate responsibility of doing what is right for the organization. Sometimes doing what is right is not always what is popular. And that is not easy.

Now here I am as your President, writing this December message. Anyone who knows me would expect me to be writing about the holidays. It is my favorite time of year. Others might expect me to be directing you to take a close look at where you stand at this halfway point of the year.

Instead, I am conveying a recent decision by the organization’s leaders. In February 2007, the Board selected Sydney, Australia, as the site of the 2010 International Convention. At the time, it was believed this was the right thing to do. As anyone reading this knows, however, our world is very different today from when that decision was made. The global economic downturn, along with unstable fuel prices and a volatile airline industry, have had a huge negative impact on our ability to uphold that decision without major financial burden to the organization. As a result, the venue of the 2010 convention has been changed to the Desert Springs JW Marriott Resort and Spa in Palm Desert, California. We have held conventions at this popular site twice before, with great reviews.

When the Board presented preliminary considerations for the new governance proposal, the question members asked repeatedly was, “How much will this cost?” With extensive financial analysis available, it became evident that implementing the entire scope of the plan would be impossible. As a result, responsible changes were made. This is a very similar situation.

The plan of taking the Convention outside North America at this time is simply not financially responsible. So in order to uphold our fiduciary responsibility to you, the member, the organization had to make a change. I invite you to read the announcement on page 28. While we fully acknowledge that many of our members will be disappointed, we could not ignore our primary responsibility to be prudent with your funds.

I so appreciate the efforts of Host District 70 Chair Elizabeth Wilson and her team to support the Convention in Sydney. I hope they, and all of our members, understand this was not an easy decision. It was never about not wanting to go to Australia. It was about doing the right thing. For all of you serving in leadership roles, there will be times when you are called upon to make tough decisions. I wish you the ability to do the right have the awareness that the Courage to Conquer requires responsibility!

Jana Barnhill, DTM, Accredited Speaker
International President