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January President’s Message - Confessions of an MPI President


By: Greg Plazek | Jan 2, 2019

I’m sorry if you are hoping this will be a tell-all article full of scandalous stories. My hope is always to provide an update, in a slightly entertaining fashion, on what your MPI Ottawa Chapter is up to and what your Board has been working on. Please allow me to share a few confessions from my term as your chapter president thus far.

Time is definitely passing faster than other years—I do not have scientific proof of this, but I am confident it is a fact.

It is truly humbling to realize that I cannot do everything myself, even though I told myself I would be able to. I understand now that it is okay and even human to miss things now and again, because I have so much on the go. Fortunately, I am surrounded by a team of dedicated, smart and resourceful volunteers, as well as an efficient and experienced association management company. I have never said the words “thank you” so much and meant them so sincerely, as I have this year.

I have had to learn to be comfortable in being uncomfortable. This is both terrifying and exciting at the same time.

I have learned to expect the unexpected. Everyone has an opinion and they are rarely the same. There is an art and a skill to finding common ground in conversations and I am still learning this.

I would be very envious of the Ottawa Chapter if I belonged to another chapter. We are incredibly blessed with the number and quality of our volunteers. I have learned the full scope of what we execute as a chapter and the number of hours that our dedicated volunteers contribute. I have gained a new appreciation for the professionalism, caring and kindness of some amazing people who refuse to accept second best. You inspire me to try to do better. Sometimes I just stop, close my eyes, soak it all in, and say “WOW” to myself.

I have learned to beg and plead and sell gracefully to our sponsors and potential sponsors. Thank you for listening, and I hope you know that we really could not do what we do without your support.

I have gained a new respect for the power of laughter and humour in de-escalating difficult situations.

Most importantly, I have realized that whoever told me that in taking on this role, I would get out of it what I put into it, was right.

My final confession is that I love being president of the MPI Ottawa Chapter! It is such a rewarding experience and fills me with pride. I encourage anyone who is remotely interested in gaining some leadership experience to consider joining the board of directors. Maybe you just want to start volunteering on a committee or even leading one. Take that first step. There will be stumbles along the way, but you will be surrounded by people who will help elevate you to succeed.

So, what have we been up to? The months of October and November felt like a marathon. We successfully crossed the finish line and are now taking a little breather before the next adventure begins. The race course began with an October education event entitled “Accessibility Matters” that was super informative and collaborative.

The next stage of the course was to pull the entire Board of Directors away for two days of intense planning and brainstorming for our mid-year retreat. We accomplished an awful lot.

The Education Committee then hosted a sold-out Lunch and Learn moderated by our own Louise Gervais, CMP, CMM, on Preparing an Emergency Plan.

While we were nearing the home stretch, the Festive Dinner Committee headed by Heather Lockwood, CMP and Katherine Craig put on one of the most memorable MPI Ottawa events in recent history! Thank you to this incredible committee who showed us what teamwork and being resourceful really means.

The final kilometres of the race were spent launching the new MPI Ottawa website. Jay Elie, VP Communications not only headed up the website transition for us, but right at the end, he and his wife welcomed their second child, Ben! Talk about multi-tasking.

What’s next?

Do not miss the 2019 Annual Charity Auction and Dinner on Thursday, January 31 at the EY Centre. The 70s gameshow theme promises to be a lot of fun; I encourage you to support it by coming dressed like it is 1977. As this is an evening where we traditionally raise thousands of dollars for local charities, I hope you will consider donating an item to the silent or live auctions, and of course, bidding high in the auctions.

On February 20, we will be gathering for the Round Tables Luncheon at the brand new Hilton Garden Inn Ottawa Downtown. Don’t miss this popular event, and why not consider moderating a table? At the conclusion of the round tables event, we are going to do something new. We will host an open concept Board of Directors meeting that all members are welcome to join as observers. You can see us in action!

All of these events and more can be found on our website at Upcoming Events.

I am full of hope and pride for MPI Ottawa in 2019 as we enter our 35th year as a chapter. I look forward to seeing you at the next event.

Plazek_GregArticle written by Greg Plazek,
Marriott International

Article edited by Melanie Hudson, National Association of Federal Retirees

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