Assistance League 50th annual conference

Opening session

 "Expect the Unexpected" was the theme of the 50th annual Assistance League National Conference, held Sept, 12 -16 at Hilton Americas in Houston. Mary Parsons and I (Marianne Cortopassi) represented our Chicagoland West Chapter. Two new chapters: Greater Wilmington, NC and Sierra Foothills, CA and two new guilds: Southern Utah and South Puget Sound, WA were announced, adding to Assistance League's powerful nationwide presence. (120 chapters to date)

Keynote speaker Vicky Hitzges, whose resume includes news anchor, talk show host and publicist for the Dallas Cowboys and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, opened the conference with a rousing speech that has applications for our volunteer work inside the office and out.

Keynote speaker Vicky Hitzges

"Don't do it (help others) for what you get, do it for what you become."
"The best way to make ourselves happy is to find someone less fortunate and help them."
"We should want to be a 'river of blessings', not a 'lake of accumulation'."
"Be the person who lights up a room when you walk in."
"People reach out to people who reach out."

Some practical advice:
1.  Greet people - don't just meet people. (have eye contact)
2.  Smile
3.  Have a firm handshake
4.  Really listen (lean forward, nod your head, open arms)
5.  Encourage people (give sincere appreciation and watch people blossom)
6.  Look for the good in other people (and then look for the good in yourself)
Anita Friesen, director of resource development, moderated a session on fundraising

Mary and I attended different morning and afternoon sessions.  Some featured professional speakers; others, like the one of the right, were presented by chapters.
Marianne and Mary at breakfast

Jan Jackson and Charlene Liesveld (Omaha chapter) with speaker Dalya Massachi

Dalya offered writing tips that make a difference

The national conference unites hundreds of like-minded women from around the country. One of the major benefits is meeting and chatting with Assistance League members, sharing ideas, asking questions, learning more about our organization and how other chapters are putting caring and commitment into action.

The 2013 Conference is Sept. 19-21 at Hilton Chicago at 720 South Michigan Avenue. 

Circle chair Hilary Small (left) greets a member

Kathy (Newport-Mesa, CA) and Mary Bartley (Charlotte, NC)

Lots to buy in the Red Star Shop

Keynote speaker Matt Weinstein

Mary and Marianne at the closing dinner (before hitting the dance floor)