#ELGLThankful: How Lucky You Are

Posted on November 21, 2018

Bird Scooter Selfie

Fellow Board Member Stacy Schweikhart started the #ELGLThankful hashtag. She has posted thirty days’ worth of gratitude on behalf of ELGL. The campaign led me to ask myself, “what am I most thankful to have experienced related to ELGL?” For me,  it is the amazing people I have met and our experiences at the ICMA Conference in Baltimore, #ELGLPopUp in Los Angeles and #ELGLInspire in Wisconsin.

In Baltimore, many of our members met up at the end of the conference. I great people, some of whom I had met before. However, sometimes it takes a second or third meeting to get comfortable, really bond and get to know one another. On the last day of the conference, before heading to the airport, I remember (Bird/Lime) scootering around Baltimore with two of my new conference friends. We shared our passions both personally and professionally. Strangely enough, one of my conference friends and I realized we know the same non-government person, from my hometown, despite living thousands of miles apart. I believe this is what led to the trading of SnapChat and Instagram handles.

Fast forward, while conducting research at work, I posted to SnapChat my journey while researching the topic (most of my non-government friends found this to be a boring story and very unlike my Saturday night snaps J). This research post led to a strange connection. My ELGL colleague and I were both working on very similar research projects. We even sent each other notes on the topic. Random connections like these ymbolize ELGL for me; meeting fun people at conferences, talking to each other like actual human beings (not cyborgs who wear ties and dress pants while trying to climb a career ladder and crush everyone beneath you), sharing non-work experiences and assisting each other on real work projects. I am extremely thankful for these experiences and many like them.

Scooters in Baltimore

In Los Angeles and Wisconsin, I realized the strength of our social media interactions. At these conferences, I  found myself forgetting if I had actually met people in real life before or just on twitter. I hopped in shuttles with new people and talked to them as if I had known them for a lifetime. I ate vegan food with them and liked it (probably the only time this will occur since I am a steak and burger eating man)! I tried cheese curds (they taste like cheese sticks) and embraced local Sconnie culture. I even invited people to hang out in my hometown anytime a flight took them out towards the Sonoran Desert. On one of these such visits, I discovered I was born in the same small town hospital as a vendor I had met at a previous conference. Our mom’s also worked at this same hospital at an overlapping period of time. It is such a big world and ELGL makes it seem so small, personable and relatable. If you know me, you know I am not always the biggest advocate of social media; however, ELGL brings social media followers into a level of personability that has been lost in our overly digital world.

ELGL has connected me with people from all across this great nation; ELGL has given me so many things to appreciate. ELGL’s central commitments are to focus energies on community, improvement, education, diversity, communication and joy. In recounting my experiences from Baltimore, Los Angeles and Wisconsin, I find ELGL’s initiatives have influenced me back here in Arizona; for this, I am ever so thankful. I am thankful for our amazing members and the journey’s we share together.

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you Stacy for inadvertently asking me to reflect upon ELGL during this holiday season.

I would love to hear your thoughts in public, private or in our members-only section. #MorningBuzz

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