Professional Connections Make ACPA THRIVE

Alyssa KirkmanACPA's Annual Meeting, Fundraising, Water Cooler Chat

Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE headshot
Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE headshot

Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE

I have been reflecting on the power of connections since returning from ACPA’s Annual Meeting in Tucson.  One of the many highlights for me is meeting new members and first-time attendees. Every year, I am struck by the energy and excitement during the reception we hold for new members and first-time attendees.  This year, approximately 46 mentors connected with 230 mentees.  As I tell everyone I meet during the reception, “You are making connections that will last a lifetime.”

A source of ongoing amazement and joy are the unplanned connections or serendipity of life.  Last month while talking with one of our past presidents, he shared that he now plays his cello more often than when he was carrying a full patient load.  My son is a middle school music educator in Davenport, IA – who plays the cello.  As I was talking with the past president, I shared a story about my son’s former cello tutor, who plays for the Lyric Opera of Chicago.  As it turns out, he sold his first cello to my son’s tutor!

We had one of those moments in Tucson. A retired, former member happened to be vacationing at the Westin La Paloma. On Monday, he saw our logo over the check-in desk. He found the National Office team members and introduced himself. After catching up, he saw the information on the Thrive Campaign and made a lead gift before the meeting even started.  As a new endeavor, we were encouraged and touched by his gesture.  I am pleased to share that 41 donors contributed $18,840 during the week.  Since, member dues only provides 1/3 of the cost of fulfilling the mission, the funds raised will help ACPA provide critical support to patients, families and providers.

I encourage you to consider being a mentor  – and to making even more connections next year.  ACPA’s Annual Meeting is a powerful opportunity to meet the future of the profession and share your experiences. We invite you to share your stories of connections you made at ACPA’s Annual Meeting so that we can share them on the ACPA Online Community blog.  Thank you for all for your support of ACPA’s mission to create a world where people with cleft and craniofacial conditions thrive.