Posted by Jim Lyons JD, CPC on Apr 14, 2022

Greetings. As I consider all of the great ideas that came out of 2022 NPA Global Conference last week, it would be easy to write about topics such as; operational best practices, technology and member achievement. In the alternative, I would rather discuss what I feel is the greatest value of in-person meetings: the opportunity to make new friends and to renew old friendships. I must say, I was very much moved by a phrase I heard last week – “The Essence of NPA.” I have never heard the phrase since joining NPA almost 10 years ago. The meaning behind this phrase simply and poignantly defines the true NPA experience.

Our 2022 Chairman’s Award winner, Laura Schmieder, used the phrase  to summarize her many NPA friendship experiences. Along with Laura, my good friend Jeff McGraw (The 2021 Chairman’s Award winner) shared his experiences through a  joint Q&A session facilitated by former Chairman’s Award recipient, and NPA’s Immediate Past Chair, Jason Elias.

During the course of Jason’s interview of Laura and Jeff, they spoke very little about splits and deals. What resonated was their endearing and loving remarks about members, current and past. As I listened, I was absorbed by their stories of past meetings and the personal experiences they have enjoyed during their iconic tenures at NPA. I was also delighted to look into the crowd and see the smiles on the faces of  several past Chairman’s Award Winners; Laura Lea Mock, Kim Chesney, Russ Bray, and Mike Pettit. I am sure they all would agree that "The Essence of NPA" is the people of NPA. The friendships and relationships made, this is what defines us as a group. I have referred to this in the past as The NPA Friendship Factor, and it is indeed priceless. However, I like Laura’s expression much better.  

As a member of NPA, it is incumbent for us all to be positive, optimistic and trusting. New members: get involved, join practice group and area calls. Go to meetings, be proactive, not reactive. If you are looking for help, pick up  the phone and call a member. If you don’t know a member to call, reach out to your NPA engagement team member, they will point you in the right direction.  

Let’s all look for ways to support each other, be it cross-industry, cross-functionally or cross-border (international). Also, please remember to refer qualified members to the network. Above all, if you are bewildered, having a bad day, having a bad run, reach out to an NPA friend. Trust me, there are friends to be made and cherished in NPA.

My friends, please excuse me for taking some personal license in this follow up from our 2022 Global Conference. Perhaps I was just moved by us just getting together in person again. So, until our next Global Conference in Atlanta in early May 2023, I ask you to embrace the wisdom  of the past and the promise of the future, and remember The Essence of NPA.

Happy Hunting!