November 2023 From the President’s Keyboard: Starting the Season of Giving Early

We’re in November, and it’s pre-holiday season—at least I thought it was pre-holiday season. It seems the retail world might disagree. Everywhere you go and everywhere you look, it is the holiday season, and it’s in full swing. Didn’t there used to be a pause between Halloween and Christmas? It was “welcome to fall, Pilgrims, and Native Americans at Plymouth Rock, turkey, and dressing.” Now it’s “clear the Halloween candy off the shelves and put out the inflatable Santas and reindeer as soon as possible.”

That’s just an observation on my part that I wanted to rant about. So, where were we? Oh right, I’m writing my November ASPE Pipeline article.

Both the Chapter Leadership Summit and ASPE Tech Symposium are behind us. They both were very successful events, and it was nice to meet a lot of ASPE members. In some of my conversations, a surprising number of new Chapter officers expressed a sense of being lost—lost as far as what their responsibilities are. That surprised me for a couple reasons. One is that my home Chapter, the Atlanta Chapter, has always had an officer transition meeting in July, just after elections. The other reason for my surprise is the wealth of information that is available to Chapter Officers.

I realized that maybe some Chapters don’t have a formal transition in place, and maybe some officers can use some help finding that information.

Well, I Am Here to Help

In my opinion, the best place to always start is the ASPE Policy and Operations Manual. It’s a comprehensive, 253-page document. You can cut to the chase and just head to Chapter 4: Chapter Operations Manual; Chapter 5: Chapter Operations Guidelines; Chapter 6: Chapter Leadership; and Chapter 7: Chapter and Satellite Reports. If you’re a newly elected Chapter officer and not sure what your role is, you should start in Chapter 6: Chapter Leadership. The responsibilities of each officer are listed in the first four pages of that chapter.

Now that you know what your job description is, does it include filing any reports to the Society on behalf of your Chapter? Jump to Chapter 7: Chapter and Satellite Reports to find the answer. If you’re the VP Tech, you should be submitting a program evaluation for each month’s technical presentation. Chapter Treasurers should be sending a monthly report summarizing account balances to the Society Treasurer and your Region Director. A copy of your Chapter’s newsletter, digital or otherwise, should also be sent to the Society each month.

The big ones, the Chapter Annual Report and the annual Treasurer’s Report, are to be filed using the online annual report system. The responsibility for filing those reports lies with the Chapter President. While the monthly reports can be sent from your corresponding Secretary, it is ultimately the Chapter President’s responsibility to ensure that all reports get filed.

I mentioned that the P&O Manual is my go-to source. You can find a link to the latest version of the P&O Manual on the handy Chapter Officers Resource page on ASPE’s website. Use your membership login to access this page. In addition to the P&O Manual, you can find a wealth of information for Chapter officers, each with a handy link for downloading. If you’re a new officer, I suggest that you bookmark the page and visit each of the links. It also serves as a great refresher for the veteran ASPE officers too. Log in and be enlightened.

In a future edition of this column, I’ll address my thoughts and ideas on conducting a Chapter transition meeting. It has always worked well for the Atlanta Chapter. A lot of the trepidation and questions that new officers may have can be short-circuited by holding a transition meeting.

I do need to end this month’s discussion now. I have to get out in the yard and start inflating my full-scale Polar Express display. After all, it is early November. Next year, I will start in July. My doctor tells me that will help reduce my anxiety levels.

Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for my special holiday treatise next month.

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