NSA/NC Commemorates Its 30th with a Celebration/Reunion

Special guest post by Ken Braly
On January 22, the NSA/Northern California chapter turned our January meeting into a celebration of our 30 years as a chapter. Past chapter presidents were invited and treated to the day, and a number of former members were invited and given a discount, which boosted attendance to more than 140.
A strong program brought that ideal combination of education and fun. Eight past chapter presidents were part of a panel looking at the past and present of the speaking profession and the chapter. Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE, and founding president of the chapter, showed off her virtual conference room where she can gather clients online in a “room” with a beautiful “view” of the Golden Gate. Sheila Murray Bethel, CPAE, also a founder of the chapter, discussed how to keep a speaking career alive for more than 30 years, and Terry Paulson, CSP, CPAE presented his funny and inspiring message about keeping hope and optimism alive in our audiences.
A new feature we’ve added just for this 30th year is our “Pearls of Wisdom” segment (the 30th anniversary gemstone/gift is the pearl), where during lunch we invite two long-term members to give a TED-like talk — they get up to 18 minutes to speak on anything they’d like. This time, Ilene Dillon and Allen Klein, CSP gave presentations that talked about influences they’ve had in their lives and careers.
But the biggest fun of the day was the reunion aspect. Twenty of our past presidents came to the meeting, some flying in from Las Vegas, La Jolla, and Denver. We attempted to track down and invite more than 60 former members, and nearly 30 of them attended. At the beginning of the meeting, we had those who joined in the 80s stand and be recognized, followed by those who joined in the 90s and the 00s.
To help attract former members, we put on our website lots of old photos from chapter activities in the past . Most of these photos had to be scanned, since they were taken before we had digital cameras! Also, for our newer members who might not appreciate what came before, we expanded our “Who We Are” page to include a tribute Patricia Fripp wrote about Cavett  Robert, and a 1978 interview (from an old Cassette-of-the-Month) with Cavett and Merlyn Cundiff about the founding of NSA.
Many of the “old-timers” had been out of touch with us and with each other, so the day was filled with hugs and re-connection and was, as one former member put it, “like a high school reunion without the acne.” When the meeting was over, a no-host reception let people linger and catch up with more friends. As the cliche goes, a good time was had by all. (Some were so enthusiastic, they want to do it again next year. Maybe we can call it our “40th.”)
We posted some pictures of the event.

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