By Devorah Jakubowsky, CAE
As is the case with most association professionals I meet, I truly fell into association work. I had an accounting background and was between jobs when I took a temporary assignment at the Texas Veterinary Medical Association and was offered the position of Director of Finance soon after. I found I loved working for an organization with a mission I could believe in and worked at TVMA for almost 20 years, moving into the associate director role after about eight years. Dr. Elbert Hutchins, the executive director who hired me, was a huge advocate for continuing education and volunteer leadership. He was a role model and mentor who always encouraged me to think about the future, learn new things, and get involved. With the support of Dr. Hutchins and TVMA, I joined TSAE, got involved on committees, joined the Certified Association Executive (CAE) study group (where I made lifelong friends), earned the CAE, spoke at New Ideas, and finally, served on the Board of Directors for the last three years.
I was not selected the first time I was nominated and interviewed for the TSAE board. When I took the call from Chair-Elect Bill Keese informing me I had not been selected, I was disappointed, mostly because I knew what a great group of leaders were serving at the time, and I wanted to be part of that – discussing issues, learning from, and working with dynamic leaders in the association world. The following year I was invited to throw my nomination in again, but I had to decline. I was then serving on the council at my church, had an active high school senior, and knew I could not dedicate my time and attention to TSAE. I guess the third time is a charm as the next year I was nominated and selected for the board slate.
At my first meeting, I got to experience the dedication of the TSAE staff and volunteer leaders as we navigated strategic planning for the year. The care, thoughtfulness, and unique perspective each person brings to the table helps shape the priorities, and every director has an opportunity to focus their energy on issues they are drawn to or particularly knowledgeable or skilled to help address. I worked on program review and next gen engagement and a myriad of issues that came up along the way. Members of TSAE can be proud to belong to an organization that strives to set the bar and be the compass for associations in Texas.
I know my accomplishments at TVMA and currently as the executive director for the Texas Air Conditioning Contractors Association are largely due to the opportunities I have had through TSAE. I hope I have been able to give back even a little of what I have received along the way.
Devorah Jakubowsky, CAE is the Executive Director of the Texas Air Conditioning Contractors Association and a former member of the TSAE Board of Directors.
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