I spoke with Doug Coffey on the phone this week. I think the last time we spoke was when I was a young Soldier working as a reporter for Stars and Stripes in Seoul, South Korea and he was the PAO at 2nd Infantry Division in the 1980s. He, of course, is now the president of the Army Public Affairs Association. I am still a journalist at heart, although I have a few grey hairs. One thing was very clear in our most recent conversation; we both share a passion about the value and potential of the association he now leads.
A few years ago two individuals I consider my mentors – Jim Fetig and Carol Sobel – approached me about becoming a charter member. As I have done with many opportunities in my life, I let it slip. I felt it was a good initiative and definitely supported the idea of having a sense of belonging that comes with a professional association. I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, away from the activity in and around the National Capitol Region. So being able to really take advantage of the opportunity seemed like a stretch at the time.
In any case, I finally took the plunge a year or so ago. I am not a charter member (sorry Jim and Carol), but I am proud to be part of this professional association. Mainly, I guess, because it is a community that is more needed today than ever before. And it is not limited to the boundaries of the NCR, especially with the potential that social media tools provide us today. But anyone who looks around the landscape today knows these same tools contribute to the very complicated and difficult communication environment we live and operate in today.
So as Doug and I spoke about accomplishments the association has made since it formed in 2009, I realized there is no better time than now for a late-bloomer like me is to roll up the sleeves and get to work. I guess the bottom line is that through Doug's and all the other charter member's hard work during the initial years, we have a vibrant association today that has great untapped potential. Another aspect that is helpful toward building a healthy organization is that the association can accept corporate members.
This blog was another way to say I was thrilled to accept Doug's offer for me to become the association's communication chair. So let's get going. I mean, think of the mixing pot of experience in an association that all Army public affairs professionals today and yesterday can join. We need new members. We need existing members to re-engage. We need to spark the discussion. What better time than now? Join the discussion as our website, FaceBook and LinkedIn pages all develop in the coming weeks and months.