It is hard to believe that 2004 has flown by. For me it has been about improving my “balancing act” between growing a family, progressing in a profession that I love, and representing the ICPA Board as vice president, membership. This is also the time of year when we reflect on the past and look to the future, making resolutions for the coming year. Along with any personal resolutions that you may pursue, I ask that you join me in my resolution to help make ICPA an even stronger professional association.

RENEW

It is once again the time of year to renew your ICPA membership. With your renewal, you and your company are making an investment that can offer substantial returns with your active participation.

Seek out other planners and hospitality partners by going to the Web site (www.icpanet.com) and exchanging information on the message board. Take a few minutes of your morning to update your online profile. By doing so you will provide accurate information about your current business needs, thereby reducing the number of unqualified e-mails and phone calls you will receive throughout the year. Try to attend at least one regional or national ICPA meeting. And, consider volunteering your time and expertise to help further ICPA's mission.

We at ICPA realize that you have a choice in your professional affiliations and fully appreciate the support and confidence that members have shown over the years. You are our greatest assets!

RECRUIT

Think about who you know. Is there someone in the insurance or financial services profession who would benefit from becoming an ICPA member? Send him or her an e-mail with a link to the ICPA Web site. Explain what you value personally and professionally about your membership and why he or she would benefit by joining ICPA. If you choose, you can send an e-mail message to ICPA headquarters (info@icpanet.com) with referral information and we'll make the call. Either way, if your new recruit joins ICPA, we'll enter your name in a drawing to receive a recruitment prize generously donated by our hospitality partners in Scottsdale, Ariz., the site of the 2007 Annual Meeting. The winner will receive a three-night stay in Arizona hosted by the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess; roundtrip airport transfers provided by View Arizona; complimentary water rafting for two down the Salt River provided by PRA Phoenix/Scottsdale; a complimentary Jeep excursion in the desert for two provided by AZA Events; and two roundtrip domestic economy airline tickets provided by American Airlines.

In today's world of company and department consolidations and the retirement of baby boomers, ICPA's membership has stabilized. We need to have a strong and vibrant association that allows for optimum networking and educational opportunities — and one that attracts new members. In the coming months, ICPA will be looking at how to market the association in new ways. However, our most effective method will continue to be through the affirmative voices of our loyal members. When you meet someone new who works for an insurance or financial services company, please think of ICPA and share your enthusiasm for our association with them.

REVITALIZE

I challenge you to revitalize yourself through education and professional growth opportunities. I also challenge you to help revitalize this association through your participation in committees, design teams, task forces, etc. Become a part of the solution! If you or a colleague has thoughts on how to improve the association, please e-mail or phone headquarters or contact a Board member. We remain committed to improving the association and ask for your feedback in the form of constructive ideas that will help your elected Board members shape the future of ICPA so that we can all continue to benefit from this truly incredible association.

I wish each of you renewed energy, health and happiness in the coming year.

Best regards,

Catherine K. Wittke, CMP ICPA Vice President, Membership