President’s Message – December 2015

Published: Dec. 22, 2015

Alan Garfinkel - CAI Board Member“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

“For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.”

A song of togetherness and sad farewells. A song to ease the pain of parting loved ones and the hope we will see each other again. This New Year’s Eve we will sing Auld Lang Syne and recall days gone.

The closing days of 2015 are on the horizon as well as my Presidency. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have served our Chapter.

The first thing that comes to mind in this year end reflection is our members of this terrific organization. I have a special and unique appreciation for the 2015 Board and for the many, many volunteers who have made such a difference in the work accomplished this year. Please also accept my thanks for your smiles, hugs, support, words of wisdom, criticism, and more importantly…your friendship. I have to say, your friendship is what I treasure and appreciate the most.

This time last year I was full go on my journey as your Chapter President. I vowed to make it my mission to ramp up our Chapter, ensure the doors were swung wide open and invite greater participation. Well, it has been quite a journey, and now, in my final President’s Message, I write you a very fond thank you and farewell.

I wish our new President, Suzan Kearns, and all who will support her, much success. The coming year will see continued betterment, agreement, positivity and a passion to welcome new members and volunteers to share the excitement and fun that is our Chapter. Suzan and our new Board will continue to welcome new members and robust committee participation with open arms. A goal we set forth in my first President’s Message.

Some of you might remember a time when I was new to the Chapter; it was a very different time then. I had to work relentlessly to get in the door, a door that took a grand beating from me until I met one member by the name of Gary Van der Laan. He stepped in to lend a hand, broke down a door or two and appointed me to a committee. I am still grateful to Gary for providing me the assistance I needed to be able to become an active member. It was a gesture I wanted to return to all our existing and new members – and one of the main reasons I ran for President. I am confident that no one else will ever face the battle I did to get in the CAI door.

Gary Van der Laan, through CAI, holds the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA), Association Management Specialist (AMS) and Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM) designations, as well as being responsible for the sweeping changes in our Chapter, establishing an uncompromising mission to develop leadership through education. We’ve seen growth of our Chapter from 12 members to more than 525 businesses, volunteers leaders and dedicated professional licensed community association managers.

I want to congratulate the new Board, Suzan Kearns, President; Gina Holbrook, President Elect; Paul Melville, Vice President; Brian Peck, Secretary; Bill Jackson, Treasurer; John Dougherty, Lou Biron, Matt Vice, Dr. Diane Rullo, Erik Whynot, and Chris Martinez.

Congratulations to our Winter Gala Committee for creating a very successful first ever Chapter Gala with 212 attendees. This was a lovely way to wrap up the year. Thank you to everyone who made this possible, especially Gina Holbrook! The personally meaningful silent action held at the Gala went well. Stetson University College of Law appreciated the $7,500 donation made to the scholarship fund in my son, Bennett Garfinkel’s honor. I was deeply moved by the heartfelt effort. Thank you all.

My official last thoughts end in a feeling on my part, of gratitude that we’ve accomplished so much together. Please know, as your President, every decision made, every action I took and every idea proposed, I tried to provide our Board and members the tools to develop a culture to build bridges within our Chapter. We have strong and respected committees, a welcoming environment, and increased membership. Our Chapter is now better than ever, a new kind of Board, more effective, full of enthusiasm, innovative ideas, a commitment to placing the Chapter first, and always focusing on our better future.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.

Yours in friendship and community,

Alan Garfinkel
Community Association Institute Central Florida Chapter