The pandemic has reminded me how important relationships and connections can be. I think I took them and personal contact for granted prior to lockdown. As we begin getting back out of our homes, I am so thankful for our state and national associations that can bring us together to learn and to connect personally. While it was great to experience all the virtual training and conferences, I am so excited to see people face-to-face again. Our associations are providing opportunities for networking, sharing lessons learned, forming new relationships and contacts as well as re-connecting with old friends. These events offer chances to contribute, serve, and get involved. I remember back in 2012 when I committed to run for national office with NENA. I had gotten so much from the association for years, and I wanted a chance to give back. I was well into my journey to Next Generation 9-1-1 with over 40 small to mid-size ECCs, and I wanted to share real stories and encourage others to start their NG journey as well. What I didn’t count on was the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people as I was able to travel to numerous state conferences. Each one was different, but the same. They all shared a mission to advance our industry and opportunities to meet amazing people with incredible ideas and passion. While I was not always successful in championing change and inspiring people to step away from the legacy mindset; I was blessed with new friendships, a network of subject matter experts to help me navigate my own journey, and hours and hours of sessions that taught me what others were doing around the country. It was an honor and privilege, and I will forever be grateful. I remain a technology and change champion for the 9-1-1 industry, but I am most thankful for the people I have gotten to meet who have taught me so much.
I am so thankful to all the people that helped me grow into the person I am today. I talk about being a servant leader, but how did I become one myself? With a lot of help, I assure you. I have been blessed by so many people throughout my education and career. Of course, it actually started much earlier than that. I am thankful for my wonderful parents who instilled my core value system and encouraged me from the time I was born to present day. I also had some pretty wonderful teachers in school and college. The best ones challenged me and gave me a desire to grow and always do my best. I am most thankful that they taught me to love learning. I am thankful for each of the bosses I have had and the different things I have learned about my jobs and myself from them. And isn’t it wonderful that we can also learn from our peers, people in organizations and committees, and mentors. I am thankful for all the people in the 9-1-1 industry that have answered my incessant questions, counseled me through challenging times, shared their experiences and given me advice. I am thankful that many people in this industry have become my friends. These friends make me laugh when I feel like crying, they brainstorm with me and encourage me to achieve dreams I didn’t even know I had. I have been blessed with the most amazing co-workers who are passionate, intelligent, hardworking, and dedicated to improving 9-1-1 services. I have also had the opportunity to work with the best telecommunicators who keep me focused on the mission. These TCs are trusting and are willing to try new things in order to improve public safety communications. They stand with NCT9-1-1 in our mission of saving lives and making a difference.
As I count my blessings, I hope that you can too. It is wonderful to have a time of the year when we reflect on our lives and give thanks. As I realize how many people have helped me learn and grow, I hope that I will remain thankful not just for Thanksgiving, but year round!