Congratulations to Sami Glascott, just announced as the next president of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce! A news brief ran in today’s Anchorage Daily News.

I knew when I signed up for this WordPress blog that I was making a commitment. No one likes sporadic blog posts; readers expect them with some sense of frequency. And, I admit…I’ve not yet lived up to that commitment. Forgive me, please. I will do better. I promise.

While I take the commitment to my family and friends seriously, I also understand that they want to read content that is fresh and interesting, so I’ll make that promise too. I’ll try to write about things that are relevant and new as I chronicle my experiences during the next couple of months.

In many ways the countdown is on. It appears my last day with the Anchorage Chamber will be the very last day in the range I gave to the board, Monday, March 2. We are hopeful that our next president will be onboard mid-February to allow for training opportunities. I am very excited about this possibility. When I think back to when I started, like most people in the first few months of a new job, early days are spent tackling big issues and figuring out what’s around each corner. The last thing anyone wants to do, especially in what some consider a high-profile position, is be surprised by things that should have been known. If I do my job well, the next president will have a leg up. That advantage will serve the organization well as s/he continues to build on the strong foundation that began in 1915.

As for the next few weeks, in my personal time I am honing my resume (check out a cool new tool I found but is still a work in progress, my Visual CV,). It is intimidating to be looking for work in light of such a volatile national economy, however, I feel my skills are strong and the experience I’ve gained will serve me well in the coming weeks and months. I’m also planning a trip to Europe, it became “real” when I booked my airline ticket. I depart Anchorage March 4 and return May 7.

On the home front, I’m trying to spend as much time as possible with friends and family. In our own way, each of us is experiencing a very personal transition and such change binds us more richly than I ever initially imagined.

In closing, another blogging rule is, make this site interactive so I’ll pose some questions for you: Are there other blogging rules that I’m missing and should be following? What have you learned from the first few days/weeks/months in a job that you wished you would have known when you started? Do you have any job-hunting tips for me or anyone who reads this blog and its comments? My trip to Europe is far from planned. Do you have any recommendations for “do-not miss” places? And finally, what have you experienced that has enriched your own relationships? Heavy stuff, I know.

Sheila & Erin

Sheila & Erin

Who among us doesn’t strive for balance in our lives? Competing interests like wrapping things up at work, finalizing the three papers I have due and studying for my last final before Dec. graduation, taking time to enjoy the day with Brad, talking to my sister in Scotland, brother in who-knows-where, parents in Hawaii, grandparents in Minnesota, and my friends all over the world means I simply never have enough time to give to everything and everybody – including myself.

Yesterday afternoon I took my staff to lunch and the new Bond movie to celebrate two office anniversaries – one employee has been with me four years, and the other, one year. Afterward I met Sheila at Romano’s for a couple of glasses of wine. My staff and I reminisced about favorite moments at work, and we laughed a lot. Sheila and I swapped stories from our childhood for almost 3 1/2 hours. It dawned on me that there is a lot I didn’t know about her, and we have been friends for almost five years. In many ways, I told her, we are kindred spirits, growing up with more commonalities than I could have ever imagined.

Thursday, we will celebrate Thanksgiving. As I reflect upon the last week and even the last day, I consider all of the things I did not get done but I am so thankful for having made time for people close to me. Perfect balance? I am content with never achieving it fully but I will continue to try to get there. In the meantime, I am happy for all of the hours, minutes and moments that comprise my life, and the people who enhance it.

A true Alaska Pioneer, Augie Hiebert, was the first to bring live television to Alaska. His dedication and passion to the news industry allowed Alaskans to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon at the same time as our counterparts in the Lower 48. Nearly one year after his death and on Veteran’s Day, Augie was honored at a small but packed ceremony at Mirror Lake Middle School, a place that inspired him in his final years of life. Students captured Augie’s heart. His eyes truly sparkled when he talked about what they did, producing a closed-circuit television show for classmates each morning. Throughout the school year, Augie would visit the students and he watched as the confidence in the kids developed, and he encouraged them and supported them in their quest to improve, and to follow their dreams. After all, it was Augie who taught so many of us that anything is possible if only we believe and work hard enough.

One cold and snowy day in 2006, Augie and his daughter Cathy picked me up and drove me to the school so I could witness first-hand the kids in action. As impressive as they were, it was the twinkle in Augie’s eyes that was distinct and heart-warming. He was making a difference in these kids’ lives – and they were making a difference in his.

Tuesday’s tribute closes an important chapter in Alaska’s history but through the contributions Augie made, I have no doubt that when students approach the studio doors, they will see the sign: The Augie Hiebert Communications Studio, and they will reflect upon that sparkle and they will remember Augie, and thank God for the blessing of having known him.

Elmendorf Air Force Base Brigadier General Thomas Tinsley died in his home of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in July 2008.  The story was reported in today’s Anchorage Daily News. Gen. Tinsley did incredible things to bridge the military and civilian communities in Alaska and the void he leaves is profound.

Last month, after almost seven years of service to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, I submitted my resignation to our board of directors.  The letter speaks for itself.  It follows:

Dear Anchorage Chamber Members:

Since January 2002, I have had the honor and privilege of serving this terrific organization. In February of 2003, I was named your president. I have been so blessed to have an amazing group of people who have supported me and given me the tools to succeed from the very beginning.

After nearly seven years, I have made the decision to move forward. I will graduate in December from APU with my MBA and am looking ahead to visiting my sister and her husband in Scotland for an extended vacation before re-entering the workforce. As a result of this decision, I presented my letter of resignation to our executive committee last Thursday. I impressed upon them how thankful I am for their leadership and that I am fully committed to staying onboard through the transition to a new president. In fact, with their continued support and that of the board of directors. I will work through the successful execution of our second annual Back to Business Conference and Tradeshow on Jan. 16, and on through March 1, 2009 if necessary.

During my tenure at the Anchorage Chamber, I am proud to point to some accomplishments that have strengthened our role in the business community and provided greater value to our membership, including:

 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has honored us with its Four Star accreditation; we are the only chamber in the state to be so distinguished.

We have carefully evaluated our events and programs, worked to enhance each, and experienced increased participation and attendance both by members and volunteers.

We successfully moved from the former 5th Avenue office to our new 6th Avenue and K Street suite. The new space reflects today.s Anchorage Chamber: A modern organization designed to protect and promote the interests of business.

We have exceeded our budget goals every year.

I am confident that the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce is stronger today than it was seven years ago. We have superb staff members who are committed to you. Our board of directors works courageously and tirelessly to improve Alaska.s business climate. Hundreds of members volunteer their time each year to improve our programs and our community. I am honored to have worked with you to build this organization and to enhance the state of our business community. I look forward to remaining in touch.  As always, please call anytime at 677-7109, or e-mail president@anchoragechamber.org.

Sincerely,

Stacy Schubert, IOM

Since my announcement, I have been so overwhelmed with well wishes from members, staff and the community alike.  With public relations as my background, I have had an interest in how the web has transformed the way we communicate.  This is my first attempt at a personal blog, and I hope to post weekly to keep you informed as I turn the pages to the next chapters in life.

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