AKRI's New Blog & Report from the Board

 Greetings from the AKRI Board

We, the AKRI Board, just concluded our semi-annual retreat in Milford, PA, and we invite you to join us for the launch of AKRI’s new blog! 

There’s much to cover in the first few entries—a report from the retreat, welcoming AKRI’s new Board members and officers, and some news and plans for the future.

Before we get to that, though, we’d like to mention a few things about this blog itself.  It’s made possible by the upgrade in AKRI’s entire IT infrastructure, and it represents one of many ways we hope we’ll all enjoy a richer, more connected AKRI, an AKRI with greater communication, sharing and cooperation.

Infrastructure upgrades don’t happen by themselves, and this one only happened because of the tireless work of our administrator, Heidi Moser, long-time (and long-suffering) IT Jack-of-all-trades, Jack Lampl, and MemberClicks Implementer-in-Chief, Ian Pritchard.  We hope you’ll offer your thanks to Heidi, Jack and Ian, and we all hope you enjoy the changes you’re seeing in AKRI’s digital presence and online communication.   

Now, some brief impressions from the retreat…

Thanks to our former Secretary & Treasurer, Robin Engels-Heitzman, the Board meets in the beautiful Poconos town of Milford, PA.  Robin has her office there, and recommended it as a place where we can meet in a lovely setting and enjoy the cozy comforts of the Hotel Fauchere, an elegant old hotel in the heart of town.  It’s a retreat, in the truest sense of the word, yet convenient to metro-NYC, not too far from Philadelphia and Baltimore, and quite economical, especially compared to city prices. 

Speaking of Robin, we were grateful for her contributions to the weekend, both when she joined us to give the Treasurer’s report (a role she is holding while it transitions—more on this, below) and for one of our dinners.  It was the Board’s first retreat without the enormous expertise and leadership qualities of both Robin and Sarah Rosenbaum, and not an hour passed without us recognizing the debt of gratitude we owe both of these women for their long and impactful service to AKRI.  

When one era ends, though, another one begins, and the Board welcomed its newest member, Keith Lequay, from Kingston, Jamaica.  Keith was only able to join virtually, but he may have set a world record for Zoom tele-conferencing in a weekend, and was an active participant throughout.  In his role as President, Neil Neidhardt urged the Board to improve its “on-boarding” process, and the meeting began with each Board member sharing things they wished they’d known when they joined the Board.  

 In reflecting on our experiences of joining the Board, we each spoke of our struggles with authorization—with getting traction in our work and finding our voice as we took up our leadership roles.  We would later reflect further on the challenges that every member of AKRI faces in figuring out how to engage with AKRI.  We wondered if Board members and AKRI members alike sometimes take a watch-and-listen (or wait-and-see) approach, and we wondered what we might all do to encourage more active engagement.  We’d like to see this blog (and other forums) as places where the Board and members can explore all the diverse ways it’s possible to get involved with AKRI.

Indeed, the Board identified several areas of focus for itself and the larger AKRI community.  These include: 1) a greater emphasis on development and fundraising, to enable more GR events that serve diverse audiences and need; 2) recruiting for AKRI’s on-going events, especially the Annual Residential Conference in New Orleans in July, as well as a new conference AKRI is co-sponsoring with the New York Center this January (link here); 3) Planning for a Dialogues Event in 2019, themed around a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of AKRI’s founding; and 4) growing the membership, encouraging the involvement of new and younger members, and being more outward facing and communicative with the membership and the world at large.

Let me end this first blog entry here.  If any of this speaks to you and you want to get involved, email any of us—your Board members, or leave comments and questions on this blog itself.  And thank you, from all of us, for entrusting us with the leadership of AKRI and joining us in making AKRI a thriving community of GR participants and scholars.  

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Comments on "AKRI's New Blog & Report from the Board"

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Neil Neidhardt - Saturday, December 23, 2017

On re-reading my comment it appears that that damned freudian auto-correct feature substituted "strum" for "strum" which I trust provided some of you an entertaining opportunity for some interpretation...! Best Holidays, friends. See you in the New Year, n.

Neil Neidhardt - Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Hello Friends and Colleagues ("and all the ships at sea," as the blogs of earlier generations used to say). We are fortunate indeed to have this medium with which to share the ongoing (and too-often invisible) work of your Board, and to have members of our Board who are sufficiently skilled, capable, and engaged with the entire range of rapidly evolving technological manners of communication. Jack Marmorstein has captured the essence of our Board Retreat, tastefully omitting some of the strum und drang, and I hope this journal will intrigue and inspire you to engage with the work of the Board and the Institute in any way and in any role for which you feel some energy and enthusiasm. Please continue to follow Jack's posts, as well as those journal entries yet to come from other contributors, and please contribute your own voice to the conversation. In the meantime, the year-end holidays are upon us; please be kind to yourself and hold your loved ones close, and remember the spirit of the season in these troubled times. Be well, Neil

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