President’s Letter: Volunteers at the Heart of the HPA

Hello,Seth Hallen

Since accepting the HPA presidential baton earlier this year, I’ve been engaging with many of our members, event attendees and volunteers.  Meeting and talking with them, I am inspired by their overall excitement about the HPA and the importance they place in this organization, and many have asked how they can get more involved.  While having these discussions, I found myself reflecting on the last decade of my own experiences with the HPA.

I was reminded that the HPA means so many different things to different people. Many folks make the trek out to the desert every year to attend the Tech Retreat, and that is the only HPA event they attend.  To those Tech Retreaters, that is the HPA; a productive and insightful week of education, information and networking.  Others only attend the annual HPA Awards gala, or the Women in Post events, or our SCRG luncheons.  And there are, of course, some who attend them all.

My first HPA experience was over a decade ago, in 2005, at an after work social mixer at a restaurant & bar called Lola’s (gatherings you too, may remember).  When I walked in I was immediately struck by the range of professions and interests in the group…editors, facility managers, salespeople, engineers and business owners.   I was impressed with the tangible sense of community and camaraderie the folks in this room had.  At that point, I didn’t know anything about Tech Retreats or any other events.  I just thought that the HPA was a series of “social events.”  But as I got more involved, it didn’t take long to figure out how impactful the HPA is to our industry and how much potential this organization had to continue its mission of service to our community.

Over the past decade, the HPA became incredibly important to me, and I focused on the organization and the relationships I made here.  It has been exciting and extremely gratifying to participate in and experience the growth of the HPA and to witness first hand the countless ways the HPA impacts individuals and shapes our community.  The HPA continues to grow, evolve and provide leadership for our industry during a time of exciting change.

One of the most important take-aways from the discussions is the simple fact that everything that happens at the HPA is only made possible by an army of dedicated volunteers who make it a priority to donate their precious time to this organization.  The HPA is fully committed to providing education, recognition, advocacy and community to our industry through its events and outreach programs.  But none of these initiatives would happen without these passionate individuals.  In the process of volunteering, friends are made, connections are deepened, knowledge is shared and our community is strengthened.  Ultimately, this plays a key role in enabling our industry to make those important steps forward. Volunteerism is the heart and soul of the HPA.

Why should you volunteer?
Are volunteers simply “volunteer-itis” stricken zombies just milling around and mindlessly “helping out” because they have nothing better to do?  The truth is, many HPA volunteers are industry professionals with thriving, successful careers, with very little extra time but are trying to deepen their interaction with others and enrich their careers by getting more engaged with their community.

Here are few of the things HPA volunteers say about their participation:

  1. They tend to gain deeper connections with industry colleagues, influencers and the collective wisdom.
  2. Recognition within the industry through HPA event participation is multiplied.
  3. They gain a deep level of satisfaction after having “given back” to the community they love and playing a key role in helping shape our industry.

So, raise your hand.  You won’t regret it, and my bet is that you’ll be delighted that you joined your peers at the HPA.  We need you.  We’re evolving and growing and it’s such an exciting time to get more involved.  With the HPA Tech Retreat UK and the 2016 HPA Awards season kicking off, there are plenty of opportunities.  And, I hope that a decade from now, someone else who got the volunteer bug will be writing the President’s column, telling their story about how they decided to help.  Please reach out to me if you have any questions about HPA, how you’d like to help, or how we can serve you.

With warm regards,

Seth Hallen

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