I previously announced that I will officially close my association management business and retire at the end of the day on December 31. Although I have worked with associations since October 17, 1977 (my first day at the American Bar Association), I graduated college in May 1976. My degree is in education, and my lofty goal was to be a teacher who inspired her students to learn and to excel as readers. My father’s parents were teachers, and they were especially proud that their first grandchild would follow in their footsteps.
But, in those days there were more teachers than positions. Professors advised us to spend our first year after college as substitute teachers. I worked nearly daily, and even had my own class spring semester filling in for a teacher on medical leave. However, it was time for me to leave the home of my parents. I worked steadily at two jobs that paid little. (I also worked for the local library system.) As school began in 1977, I was looking at falling another year off of tenure track.
So, I sadly made the decision to look at other professional options. I was offered two office positions in Chicago on the same day, and wisely chose the ABA position because there appeared to be more opportunities for advancement. The rest is history.
Perhaps five years later, BFF Diana Gilbert and I vacationed in Florida, and spent a few days with my dad’s parents who retired to Ft. Myers. Grandma asked, “Glenda, do you regret leaving teaching?” It was one of life’s ah-ha moments. You cannot go back and change the past. One must embrace their decisions as part of destiny. View poor choices as learning experiences. I realized that I was a more effective association professional than educator. I have had incredible experiences traveling; meeting experts, influencers and celebrities; and supporting leaders in law, marketing, professional speakers and interculturalists. I humbly realize that I have had my own small part in influencing change.
No, Grandma, I have no regrets that I left teaching.