Thank You & Goodbye

by on Thursday, October 25, 2018

Authored by:
Gayle Walters
At Large Board Member
Johns Hopkins University 



This October will mark the end of my three-year term on the SRAI Board of Directors as a Member-at-Large. Thanks to all of you who had enough confidence to vote for me. I hope I have represented all members well. There are exciting new things emerging in SRAI and I feel privileged to have been a part of them. 

Any time there is an end to something, I find it a good time to reflect.

So how did I get here? I attended my first SRAI meeting in the late 1980s and attended intermittently, as budget and employer permissions allowed, in subsequent years. I sought to attend SRAI meetings for two reasons: 1) the expansive program that addressed my needs beyond federal funding issues; and 2) the openness of the people I met. I never had the sense that there was a clique mentality. In 2009, I volunteered to handle the silent auction for the Northeast Section meeting in Baltimore because I believed that someone local should be involved, even though I didn’t know any of the officers. It has been an educational and rewarding uphill climb since then, sometimes stepping up, other times, “volun-persuaded” to take on a task. I am grateful to those who had more confidence in my capabilities then I saw in myself and encouraged me.

Why am I, an introvert by nature, telling you this? Because the most difficult aspect of running for office is having to write a brief bio about yourself. Talking about myself is not a strength. Putting it in writing is even more difficult. I decided to do so to encourage you with my story and the benefits of volunteering in SRAI. SRAI is now more than 5,000 strong, yet there is always a shortage of people running for office at all levels. With the abundance of talent in our organization, I wonder why it is always difficult to find people. It is a time commitment, I won’t deny it, but it is not overly burdensome. Besides, there is an awesome staff at headquarters. They help every step of the way.

I have found I learn more by doing, and I have learned a lot more than I ever anticipated by becoming an active part of the process. An added value is the wonderful friendships I have made with people I possibly would not have met had I not been on a committee, served on a track review, been an officer, signed up to be an ambassador, and other, not so time consuming activities for which volunteers are needed. Think about it. Even though I will no longer be on the Board, I will be around and contributing as I am able.

In conclusion, I also want to thank the great staff at headquarters. Without them, nothing happens.

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