What a Year It Has Been!

By J. Brad Robinson, CCIFP, Outgoing Chairman

For all of the years I have been a CFMA member, I have made it a point to read as many articles in CFMA Building Profits as my schedule will allow. I especially enjoyed reading the messages and unique perspectives from Stuart and the Chairman at the time.

As I read each Chairman’s outgoing message, I wondered what it meant when he or she said that it was a great experience, but it was time to move on. Now it is my turn.

As I mentioned in my first message last year, I never thought I would have the honor to serve as an Executive officer, and there are too many people to thank in the space that I have here. However, I want all of you to know that this experience has literally changed my life.

From speaking in front of more than 800 people at CFMA’s 2015 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago to meeting hundreds of people at our many regional conferences and trade exhibitions to somehow writing a bimonthly column for CFMA Building Profits, I have been given a gift that I can never repay.

I wanted to leave a lasting impression during my year as leader of CFMA – something that I believe that every Chairman desires. However, I wanted that legacy to be measured in more than member numbers or conferences attended or issues addressed. My goal was to help our members think about what is really important in their lives.

While I am immensely proud of the impact we have made this past year in terms of educational content and increased membership (more than 7,500 members at the time of this writing!), it is the feedback that I have received about my challenge to members to value the things in their personal and professional lives that I cherish the most.

Let me share my own experience with this goal. Recently, I had dinner with my 17 year-old daughter, Caroline, who has struggled with dyslexia her entire life. While she is an excellent student, she has to work exceptionally harder than most kids in her class to excel in school.

She told me that she had just received her SAT scores that day. This was the second time she had taken the test; the first time she sat for the exam, she did poorly and was very disappointed. If you have (or had) a teenager who has taken a college entrance exam, then you know this is a difficult experience.

Of course, I did what any dad would do: I told her I was proud of her and that her best effort was all I required. So over dinner, Caroline shared with me that she scored in the 80th percentile of all participants who sat for the exam.

I am so proud of her. She has overcome a learning disability and opened the doors to a world of possibilities.

Why do I share this? I almost cancelled that dinner because something had come up at work. While I would have discovered how she had performed on the exam at some point, I would have missed the opportunity to learn about this just after she found out. I am so thankful that I decided to meet her.

We hear all the time that life is too short and we should take advantage to be with those we love, yet we often allow life and clutter to get in the way. If you remember anything about me as Chairman, I hope it’s that I want all of us to slow down and take advantage of what we have been given. Enjoy your family, friends, and colleagues every chance you get. You will be so happy that you did and will have no regrets.

I am so excited for CFMA’s future, as our leadership pipeline is strong. Support these strong, creative leaders, and most important, get involved in our great Association.

Volunteer to serve on your local board, as a chapter officer, or nationally on a committee. I promise that you will get so much more back than the effort you expend. I am living proof of that.

I look forward to many more years of being involved in our great Association – only now I can sit back and watch others take on this leadership role that I have so thoroughly enjoyed.

Thank you, again, for allowing me grow as a leader through this amazing experience as your 2015-2016 Chairman.


Copyright © 2016 by the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA). All rights reserved. This article first appeared in CFMA Building Profits and is reprinted with permission. CFMA Building Profits is a member-only benefit; join CFMA to receive the magazine.

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