President’s Letter: March 2011

Ron Hobbs, 2010/2011 ISES LA President

I recently had lunch with one of my favorite people: Jorge Lopez of J & M Entertainment in Valencia. As we dined and solved the world’s problems there was one topic I wanted to share with you as an intro to this month’s President’s Message. Jorge spoke of a friend that professed their position on why anyone would spend time, energy and money to serve in leadership of any industry association. He concluded that it was either to directly impact their bottom line, develop and nurture relationships to impact their bottom line or (and here’s the kicker) for ego. We talked about how one needs to be honest about what they are doing and WHY.

Jorge asked me why I’m on the board of ISES LA during these challenging times, particularly since my personal business is not exempt from being ravaged by the economy. The answer to Jorge’s question didn’t come during that lunch. To be honest, it was a question that haunted me and to find the answer I had to think back to why I got involved in the first place. I began my service on the ISES LA Board during the heart of our economic crisis. The development of a new endeavor put me in front of many different types of businesses in the events industry. During this time my heart was broken. Small business owners were grappling with what to do to save their businesses and livelihoods.

I wrote an article during this time called “Business Paralysis.” Writing the article was therapeutic. I had some experience in association management; enough to have an opinion on what an association should do and that is, be responsive to their membership’s needs. I truly believe that an association can be a positive, and in some cases, a saving force to a business community. I really enjoyed the people that I met and interfaced with through ISES. Again, my heart was breaking for them and I felt that as an association, ISES could do more.

Jorge was on the Board of ISES LA several years ago. He understands the board’s purpose and how it functions. He summarized my concerns about ISES by saying “education and ethics training is important, but the members need business.” Understand that this is not disparaging any of the education programs and ethics training promoted by ISES at any level. However in this economy, both then and now, our members need business and it is to that end that I am dedicated. That is my WHY.

I will serve as next year’s ISES LA President. It is a decision that has many, particularly past presidents, baffled. My reason for this is the same as it is for many currently serving on the board who will also serve again next year–momentum. This board is setting into motion new programs that will positively impact our membership on many levels. We see a momentum and shift in our ISES LA chapter towards accommodating those “basic” business needs of our industry while still offering great education and ethics training. Slowly but surely we are coming together as a membership to have an impact on BOTH the ROI (Return On Investment) and the ROR (Return On Relationships) of our members’ businesses. The bottom line for me is that I want to see this transition through and one more year will allow me to do so.

ISES LA is currently accepting nominations for the 2011/12 Board. Nominate a colleague, a partner or yourself to serve. You can also get involved by serving on a committee; we need you! Visit the ISES LA website for more information on getting involved.

Join in and enjoy the ride.

A special thanks to Jorge for his introspective prodding.

Ron Hobbs
2010/2011 ISES LA President

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