Recapping #SAMEPLW19: Building Energy for 2020!

The 2019 Post Leaders Workshop was held Aug. 4-6 in Bonita Springs, Fla. This annual event, which brings together members from across the globe for hands-on training, networking, and information-sharing, is an invaluable opportunity for Society leadership and National Office staff to help equip Posts with the tools and resources they need to be successful, especially with SAME now in the “Sprint to the Start of our Second Century.”

This year, a total of 166 attendees representing 83 of SAME’s 102 Posts made this an incredibly rewarding week. In fact, 85 percent of the attendees had never been to Post Leaders Workshop in the past, making it important to really inform this audience about where the Society is headed into its second century beginning in 2020. SAME’s volunteer leaders build the educational programs that attract member participation; they organize fundraisers to be able to support STEM outreach and scholarship programs; they host networking events to generate valuable industry and government engagement.

To ensure SAME remains a vibrant, and trusted organization leading collaboration within the profession, Posts must provide a forum for bringing people together—and then offering them value so they keep coming back.

Actions to Focus On

Each year, Post Leaders Workshop is designed to give volunteer leaders clear actions to head back home with and share with their Posts. This year, there were three areas focused on.

  • Planning a local Post celebration in conjunction with the SAME Centennial in order to generate wide local interest in the Post and attract new partners and stakeholders.
  • Actively participate in and provide meaningful input to the 2025 SAME Strategic Plan.
  • Recruit, develop and retain leaders, members, and partners who actively participate in SAME.

Increasing active member participation is the primary outcome of SAME’s three-year Centennial Celebration (May 2018-May 2021). Why? Because in volunteer organizations, historically there are a few people in each group that do the majority of the work. But today especially, members only have so much time. It is crucial to spread the responsibilities around, both to ease the burden on some, but also, to get more people engaged!

In fact, 85 percent of the attendees had never been to Post Leaders Workshop in the past, making it important to really inform this audience about where the Society is headed into its second century beginning in 2020.

There is tremendous value to be gained by actively participating in something within the organization that is of interest to an individual, personally and professionally. The Society’s five lines of effort—enhancing industry-government engagement; developing leaders for the profession; producing STEM professionals for the nation; preparing veterans for the A/E/C industry; and strengthening resilience throughout our communities—are intended to drive that passion and interest in participation.

Overall, the Post Leaders Workshop was organized into small group sessions as well as volunteer training, facilitated by Mark Levin, CAE, an expert in helping nonprofit organizations find success, and especially, in identifying ways they can adapt and move forward. During the small group sessions, attendees participated in briefings led by National Office staff on membership, finance, marketing, and administration. They also had the chance to hear from SAME national leadership on the Society’s strategic direction heading in 2020 and beyond, including from SAME President Lt. Col. Buddy Barnes, F.SAME, USA (Ret.).

Additionally, leaders of the Centennial Task Force and Centennial Commission gave an update on what Posts need to do as they plan to support SAME’s Centennial in 2020, notably ensuring they have a Post Centennial Coordinator position filled.

In addition to the activities and sessions for SAME Post leaders, a special meeting was held at the start of the week with several SAME Student Chapter mentors. This was a key meeting as the Society begins to reset the goals and objectives for Student Chapters in the coming years with the support of the College Outreach Community of Interest.

Applying Lessons Learned 

Those who attended #SAMEPLW19 are asked to debrief their local Posts on what they learned, actions for the Post to take up, and areas for them to focus on—and importantly, to reach back out to staff or leadership with questions or comments.

Resources, slides and materials from Post Leaders Workshop are available on the SAME national website. Next year’s Post Leaders Workshop will be held Aug. 9-11, 2020, when SAME is 100!