Letter from the 2017 LMASW President

This time of year, we all start thinking about giving thanks for our health, family, friends and for all the blessings we are given in this world. Most certainly, it has been a blessing to serve as this year’s LMA Southwest President.

More than 12 months ago, LMA regionalized all the chapters to create regions, each of which had an elected board of directors, and groups from Austin, Baton Rouge/New Orleans, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Phoenix and San Antonio became part of the LMA Southwest Region (LMASW). Because of this, 2017 was a year of building a strong foundation for the future years to come.

One of the LMASW’s main goals was to promote and improve the value of membership in LMA and the Southwest Region. We executed a survey of members at the beginning of 2017 and end of 2017 to identify areas for growth and key benefits of LMA. Results showed the main areas of interest for our members are: networking opportunities, local group programming, professional development and the annual conference. Knowing this, we organized the LMASW Reception at LMA’s Annual Conference in Las Vegas. We established the LMASW Circuit Speaker program, which delivered three national speakers to each LSC that desired it (7 circuit speakers total). We established the LMASW quarterly newsletter. And we created the inaugural LMASW Region Conference, which was held in Denver this past October.

Of course, another one of our main goals was the smooth transition into the regional structure while maintaining member engagement. Just saying we officially created the LMA Southwest Region is a very simplistic way to note all that was accomplished in achieving this goal. But we did more than just create the region. We developed the budgets for this year and for 2018. We created processes and procedures to handle our day-to-day operations. And we successfully ensured that by November 1st our LMA Southwest Board and all our Local Steering Committees have a full slate of leadership for 2018. In addition, one of our best decisions was to hire a support team. The region is supported by two regional administrators that help the LMASW board as well as LSCs in their day-to-day operations. We were one of the only regions without this kind of support and bringing it in has instantly improved our operations.

Finally, we wanted to ensure that our LSCs continued to operate at the highest level and worked collaboratively with each other and the Board. This was done through town hall meetings, monthly LSC calls, LSC discretionary programming funds, streamlined communications, and the creation of an LSC Manual on Best Practices & Processes.

As we look upon next year, we plan to continue to showcase our value and communicate the key benefits of LMA and LMASW. We want to empower our LSCs to improve member engagement, leadership opportunities and succession planning. We will also host another regional conference in Phoenix in the Fall 2018.

The accomplishments of this year truly took a village of people to make happen. Our goal to create a strong foundation for the region was highly successful. We are financially sound; our membership in the region grew 8 percent; we have seen increased engagement within the local groups, and our inaugural LMA Southwest Region conference was well attended. We could not have done this without the contributions of our LMA Southwest region board, the leadership of our seven LSC groups (Austin, Dallas, Denver, Houston, New Orleans/Baton Rouge, Phoenix and San Antonio), the help of our regional administrators, and LMA International.

So, as we approach the end of the year, I just want to say thank you to all of you who helped take LMA and our profession to the next level, and I look forward to the exciting things to come in 2018.

Michael Blachly
2017 LMA Southwest President

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