I feel like either the engineer or the conductor of a well-intentioned but slow-moving train. As engineer, I’m compelled to gain speed, conserve energy, watch the tracks for obstacles—all to reach our destination as soon as possible.

As conductor, I sense an urgency to make sure my passengers are comfortable and their needs met, while cautioning the engineer against gaining speed too quickly because there are still some curious passengers chasing the train down the tracks. They’re trying to decide if they should jump aboard.

That slow-moving train, of course, is RCMA, and you, our wonderful members, are already on board. There are others out there—former members, curious planners and suppliers—who are still deciding if this is the right train for them to reach their destination.

As we begin this journey with new leadership, it’s important to know that while the track ahead is steep and the challenges large, the train is powerful, steady, and a living, mighty force.

As director of conferences and events, my personal goal for RCMA is to create community. I believe the strength of our past and future is our empowered, professional members with high goals in their sights. By working together to create community, we can alter the course of our events and impact our world.

Yes, some changes need to take place at the annual conference. You’ll begin seeing those announced in the coming weeks. But RCMA is more than just four days of your year. RCMA is a community of like-minded people with a common purpose, dedicated to a cause.

You’ll also begin seeing initiatives for additional networking opportunities throughout the year, coming to (in many cases) your back yard. We’ll soon roll out a mentorship program designed to pair new planners with our “seasoned” members. This program is not intended to be a one-way street. I believe we have a lot to learn from our younger members.

The creative juices are flowing and more ideas are being developed. Many of those ideas are coming from your feedback. We’ll soon begin an organized effort to retrieve even more ideas from our membership.

Welcome aboard the RCMA Special! I hope you find the ride exciting, entertaining, and meaningful.

Be careful out there!