Posted December 17, 2012 by Michelle Smith 

No Deposit, No Return

As we approach the semester break and I reflect on these last few trips for ACUI, I am reminded of the things that mean the most to me. Have you ever thought about applying the "no deposit, no return" concept to your everyday actions?

Several times on the last few days of my extended trip I was asked "Are you doing okay?" or "How are you holding up?" I felt very comfortable saying that I was doing well. I wasn't putting on a game face; I felt I was really doing quite well. After all, staying at two Ritz Carltons and a JW Marriott wasn't all bad. Working with people who love what they do and strive to make the world a better place doesn't feel like work at all. This, my friends, is doable.

I think what really kept me going was the fact that whether personal or professional development, everyone was willing to give their all. At the Women's Leadership Institute, I saw speakers giving up their free time to share coffee or a meal with someone who had follow up questions. More than once I witnessed a younger delegate ask a more seasoned one some advice, and I received more than one email thanking me for the work I had done and the association for being brave enough to discuss issues that were tough. The program partners were engaged yet plotting for next year. I felt everyone was giving and getting much out of the experience.

In the last leg of travel, our volunteers for the 2014 Conference Program Team and 100th Anniversary Task Force inspired me to keep going! Their balance of things back on campus and engagement in the brainstorming was admirable. The pure excitement about the job that lie ahead was inspirational. It reminded me of kids opening gifts. Their willingness to open up and share ideas and dreams and also to challenge the process was commendable. This association is lucky to be led by these exceptional people. I look forward to reviewing the applications for new volunteers that were filled out while I was traveling. These people know that what you give is what you get.

Thanks to those who kept thing moving at the Central Office. These people are special to me and to many of our members who are lucky enough to engage with them face-to-face, to work on projects to advance the profession with them, or to serve on a long-term volunteer assignment with them. I look forward to seeing all their work in the annual report video review at the conference in St. Louis. I am equally proud of them and the work we do.

That said, I missed my husband, daughter, family, and friends terribly. I can't wait to have coffee out of a ceramic mug instead of a Starbucks travel mug and enjoy Bloomington's famous Mother Bear's pizza and an Upland Wheat. Giving locally is important, too. As Marsha Herman-Betzen told our delegates, “If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning." I hope to smile right through the holidays and into the new year.

Looking back, I feel like I deposited the proceeds of a winning lotto jackpot this year! How much did you deposit?

Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith is the Director of Corporate Partnerships and Events at ACUI.


Great column, Michelle...thanks for all you do for all of us and for ACUI. Happy holidays!
Z. Paul Reynolds
Comment posted 12/17/2012 11:08 AM
Michelle - Great post! Thanks for all that you and the rest of the Central Office do for us as members and as volunteers! We truly appreciate all of the little details that you work on to make sure that ACUI programs are successful! I know the 2013 CPT can't wait to celebrate all our hard work with you in St. Louis!
Comment posted 12/18/2012 9:09 AM
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