Like most of my generation, the idea of community is very important to me. I have an innate need for a sense of belonging and common focus. When I started this business, I felt pretty alone. I knew there were plenty of other stationers and printers out there and had reached out to many of them. Most were great, but were so busy with their own projects that there was no time to sit together and discuss the common joys and trials we shared.

When a friend suggested I attend a group of catering executives, I had no idea how I would find any community that related to this business of stationery. Little did I know how naïve I was.

I found in my local chapter of NACE a group of event people that, for the most part, just get it. These people aren’t about competing with one another as much as about elevating the level of discourse and quality of events throughout Central Florida.  It was so much of what I stood for and I jumped in with both feet. Sure, there’s plenty more I’d like to do and I’m working on a path that will allow that. But this is really a group of my friends. My community.

As for my business, it is always so gratifying to meet a visitor or member I haven’t had the opportunity to know and get a “Yeah, I’ve seen your work” or “My friends were just talking about you.”  Involvement in NACE has been a great way for me to truly make myself known and available.

Apparently others have noticed, too, as I was presented last night with the Tampa Bay NACE Rising Star award.

It’s an honor to be recognized by people I respect so deeply.  If you’re an event professional reading this and you haven’t checked into your nearest NACE chapter, go do so now!  I can’t promise they’ll be as cool as my chapter, but it’s your obligation to make it a better chapter.  So seriously, click here to find your nearest chapter and sign up to attend their next meeting.

Really.  Just do it.

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