Leadership Blog Part 1: NAEP: Friends Moving Forward

Friendships begin with a belief that there is something of value in two people connecting and talking about topics that interest them professionally and personally. Friendships also begin with small steps because we are somewhat guarded in what we reveal about ourselves initially until we develop trust in the relationship. One of the greater rewards of being a NAEP member is the friendships you make over time that become vitally important professionally and life-lasting personally.

This is the first NAEP Leadership Blog in a series of blog posts we will do over the coming year. For this writing, I focus on friendship, leadership and moving forward. My favorite month of the year is the month that the NAEP Annual Conference is held; this year it is May. We are excited to be holding our 44th Annual Conference May 19-23rd in the beautiful mid-Atlantic city of Baltimore. The conference theme is “The Environmental Landscape in the Age of Infrastructure Modernization.” We know you will experience outstanding technical sessions, insightful keynotes and events, with many opportunities to network and become friends with the best environmental professionals in the country. Plan to join us in Baltimore as the experts share their experiences, practical knowledge and friendship, and as we also interact with NAEP leadership and our peers. When we are together at the conference we not only get to learn and enjoy each other, we reaffirm our wonderful network of professionals that we have grown to know, respect and rely upon for advice and counsel.

Throughout my life, I have found myself in places of leadership, and I have always viewed being a leader as a life-long opportunity. As leaders, we can empower other professionals to find greater meaning and purpose in their work. That holds true within our environmental community, and for moving NAEP forward. As human beings, we always need to connect and discover – move forward. Leadership then has to do with how we create and shape our future and the future of those we lead. It requires courage, conviction and empathy. It requires a state of self-inquiry, human perception, and inner strength. And it requires being in service rather than acting in self-interest. The “take away” lesson here for those of us striving to reach our full potential as environmental professionals is threefold: we must walk through the door to open doors; we must continually move forward to be fully aware; and we must embrace what I call “moments of luminary understanding” if we are to increase true creativity within our lives. 

Friendships begin with a belief and trust that what you have to give to a friendship is valued and cherished by the other individual, professionally and personally. We learn and grow through our friendships and the friendships we make within NAEP are some of the best you will experience in your lifetime. Get involved. Become a NAEP member if you currently are not a member. It is the small daily steps we take in our profession that make great strides in progressing our environmental expertise, progressing our knowledge of each other, and how our association, your association, can be a trusted friend in this reality.

Ron Deverman, NAEP Fellow

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