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Guest Post: Rebecca Arno

At our recent New Orleans conference, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz said “without community, your sense of isolation can devour you.” Hearing those cautionary words in a ballroom packed full of friends and colleagues, I felt no fear at all. The Communications Network inoculates us against isolation.

This feeling persists three weeks later as I sit alone in my office, reading about Jesse Salazar who joins Daniel Silverman as the two newest members of the Communications Network Board. The volunteers who help the Network thrive are incredibly busy people who have demanding full-time jobs but still find time to steward this organization that gives us so much.

arnonewIn this context, as I end my term as Board chair, I feel compelled to share some gratitude for several people who have given time, energy, and effort to the Network over the past six years since I started board service. Sometimes we thank these folks at conferences, but rarely do they get the applause they deserve for all that they’ve given.

There’s Bud Meyer, who served as chair of the Board during a pivotal time. Bud brought creativity and leadership and good humor to the organization, as we plotted about how to grow from a hundred to three hundred members (we’re now at over 500). He raised funds and beat the bushes for prospective board members (including me). Carol Stabler served as both board secretary and chair of the governance committee, giving hundreds of hours to building the infrastructure that makes the Network tick. Dana Shelley served on the membership committee and helped move our strategic alliance work forward.

In the past year, three amazing women have completed their service on the board. Liza De Villa Ameen gave us a Los Angeles perspective and served on the governance and membership committees. Jennifer Humke brought expertise in new media to the Network, helping build our on-line and social media presence.  She served on the program committee and co-chaired the governance committee, while also hosting board meetings at the MacArthur Foundation. Finally, Vicki Rosenberg finished almost nine years on the Board, serving on almost every committee we have, including governance and strategic partnerships. She leaves behind her a legacy that includes our partnership with the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, and the many Network members who hail from that group.

I hope we can give these generous leaders a virtual round of applause for all they’ve given to our organization.

And as you think about your involvement with the Network, be ready – the call may come for you to volunteer or contribute to research or give input on our direction. If we all contribute, we keep that dreaded isolation at bay and our community as strong as possible.

Rebecca Arno, vice president for communications at the Denver Foundation, and chair emeritus of the Communications Network, served as board chair from 2011-2013.


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