April showers bring May flowers. In our world quite literally, but also metaphorically, early “showers” have already yielded “flowers.” All reports indicate our commerce is strong and, in some cases, too strong. We are definitely blessed.
I know how busy everyone is. So, you deserve a respite. FNGLA’s Linda Adams would have me “walk me plank” if I did not mention FNGLA’s Convention! The planning committee has been working tirelessly and I for one am super excited to host everyone in Tampa. If you haven’t made your reservations, please do so. I never make a promise I can’t keep, yet I can assure you will not regret attending this year’s convention. Downtown Tampa is revitalized - and still revitalizing! We are on the water-front, lovely accommodations with quick and easy access to shopping, gardens, historic architecture, breweries, entertainment and top shelf (uniquely “local”) eateries. And, a few surprises and fun theme! A huge thank you to our early sponsors without whom the fun convention would not be possible. Please join us and I’ll see ya in the hospitality suite!!!
Digressing back to business, yet don’t forget about the fun of Convention, I have been struck by one thing special about the FNGLA and one other thing I remind myself daily in my service as president. What makes the FNGLA special? Though we have the greatest staff in the world of associations (all of business for that matter!), we are a member-driven association.Paying dues is great and appreciated. Coincidentally, membership is the highest it’s been in years. But we need more of you!
What I remind myself daily is FNGLA’s mission is to “promote and protect.” In every instance I’ve been asked to participate in a “major” decision, I always ask, “In this plan forward, is this the one solution which will maximize our mission of promoting and protecting your businesses?” If yes, then I support it. If no (and our staff, Board of Directors, and several committees will attest), I will ask we keep thinking until we land on the final optimum path forward. In a way, this adherence to our mission has made the job, or at least the decision-making component of the job, easy.
To my closing point, our political landscape is changing – has changed! Hard to say at this juncture if for the better. What I can share (and you know this) is with the advent of social media, 24-hour cable news and a race for the extreme right and left coupled with institutional bitterness, we are in a tenuous position. Whether water issues down south, labor in our central I-4 corridor (everywhere for that matter) or hurricane relief in the Panhandle, our challenges abound. Please. Please. Find some time in your already busy schedule to assist. Sharing your message, one email (or better yet, a personal visit) to a political leader, one conversation at your local chapter meeting, or a strategic donation to the appropriate organization or alliance can make a world of difference.
Thank you for all you already do in making our industry so strong. As this Legislative Session in Tallahassee speeds up this month and then, hopefully, winds down next month, please play close attention to FNGLA’s weekly Ben’s Bullets and act accordingly to any member grassroots calls to action. We are strong. Yet, we can always be stronger in our numbers and vigilance. A little prayer never hurts either!
All my continued best,