President’s Column

by Steve Higgins, IABC/Tulsa President

Recently I was invited to give a brief presentation to IABC chapter presidents worldwide on the good things happening at IABC Tulsa.

Specifically, meeting organizers wanted to know more about our approach to professional development and programming. (Apparently we’re getting a reputation!)

During my remarks, I mentioned how, at IABC Tulsa, we strive to take a perceived weakness (small chapter size) and turn it into a strength. As a small chapter, we have the luxury of making genuine personal connections with each other. These connections often turn into business opportunities, consulting and freelance gigs, mentorships and – best of all – friendships.

The other chapter presidents on the call applauded our efforts and discussed how they can apply our “small chapter” model to their much bigger chapters.

Then, the very next day, I received an unexpected and delightful affirmation of the kind of personal touch for which our chapter is known.

As I chatted with friends before our monthly luncheon meeting, Cindy Bolen walks up to me with a gift bag.  Cindy Bolen and Steve Higgins

“It’s from Leon and me to the chapter,” she said. “Go ahead and open it.”

Inside was a very stylish wool fedora, with a silk band and a plaid brim. “It’s for door prize drawings,” Cindy explained.

For those of you who may not know – Leon Bolen for years took on the role of the chapter’s hospitality chair, making personal phone calls, greeting guests and generally taking care of whatever needed to be done to ensure a convivial experience. We also used Leon’s signature hat to draw names for door prizes.

Leon’s mark on the chapter is so great that in 2009 we renamed our annual President’s Award for Chapter Service after him.

We don’t see Leon as much as we would like these days, but Cindy has started coming to meetings on a regular basis.

They are both tremendous assets to IABC Tulsa – and they personify the giving, thoughtful and friendly spirit that makes our small chapter special.

Hat’s off to Leon, Cindy and all the IABC Tulsa members who make up a small chapter that big chapters around the world want to hear more about.