Falling Into Change
Training Wheels - September 2023

Internal Links Kristen Reid

We are now entering my favorite time of year – I truly love everything about fall. After months of Virginia heat and humidity, it is time to enjoy cooler temperatures, apple picking, football, and all things pumpkin (yes, I am one of those people).  It is also a time of year when I am reminded how beautiful and natural change is, watching the trees go from lush green to a tapestry of red, yellow and orange.

We are also entering the time at the VBA when planning for next year shifts into high gear.  The education and training team is busy assessing the past year and what we should start, stop or change with our offerings based on attendance, feedback and the ever-changing industry landscape. We are also examining what we should continue but may need to continue differently. This is the hardest part for me as sometimes it is easier to just stop something rather than changing it up.  On one hand, I want to honor tradition and keep with the familiarity of things that I know are working; but on the flip side, it feels like I am not doing what needs to be done if I am not constantly asking, “is this what is working best for our members?”

I was recently reminded that even seemingly minor changes can breathe new life into a program. Our 2023 CFO Conference wrapped up on August 23. For longer than I have been at the VBA, this conference has been held in Richmond and, by all metrics, was successful. This year, we moved the conference from Richmond to Roanoke.  Going to a new property always makes me a little nervous. It isn’t a lack of faith in the hotel staff or venue – it is more that I am being forced out of a routine of what I know and where I am comfortable.  But throughout the conference, the one thing that struck me was how everyone – attendees, sponsors and staff – all had a different level of energy and engagement. A simple change of venue, which really is a low-risk change, re-energized everyone making the conference that much better.

As we are diving into planning the 2024 education and training offerings, I need to reflect on the positivity that came from the CFO Conference and remind myself to loosen the grip on what is to allow what could be to come into play.  And on those days when it is hard to remember that change can be a beautiful thing – well, I will get myself a pumpkin spice latte (or some hot apple cider) and take a walk to admire the natural change happening in the world around me.