By: Alex Garcia
Florida Chapter, STC
Members and Friends of the Florida Chapter STC,
Writer’s note: I write this column on a plane at the tail end of a very long, but very satisfying three weeks: The 2018 STC Summit, a customer meeting in Washington DC, and a very special invitation to the Lockheed Martin Headquarters Conference Center in Bethesda, MD for the Lockheed Martin Pride LGBT Professional Network leadership forum to interface with corporate level Vice Presidents and managers from around the company. Needless to say, I think I am all extroverted out. But, I will look back on these three weeks with fondness. I’ve met some wonderful people, whose contacts are sure to help my career at STC, at Lockheed Martin, and beyond.
It’s been two years since I took office as President of your Central Florida Chapter STC. The Chapter has seen great change during this time. Most importantly: we are now the Florida Chapter STC. When I took office, we had just started merging with the Suncoast Chapter STC. That July, I walked into the annual leadership retreat with the idea for a statewide chapter model where we maintain the centralized administrative council in Orlando and broadcast our meetings statewide. I envisioned geographically-based local interest groups (LIGs). So far, the Suncoast LIG has started gaining steam. While we have struggled with our virtual meeting technology, it is something that my successor, Bethany Aguad, has pledged to perfect.
Another one of my pressing visions when I took office was the 2018 STC Summit. As host chapter, we would need to show our visitors a warm welcome by setting up at least one evening event and staging a hospitality table. Well, I can honestly say that the Summit was a HUGE success! We hosted TWO evening events (a Pub Crawl on Monday evening and a Diner Crawl on Tuesday evening). Let me tell you about the impressive logistical exercise the Diner Crawl was. 11 restaurants with between 10 and 15 people at each restaurant! Special shout out to Emily Wells, Debra Johnson, and last-minute concierge Tisa Newcombe for a very successful diner crawl.
The Summit itself was a humbling experience. Your Florida Chapter STC’s Summit committee received so many words of gratitude for the way we hosted the event. STC Meeting Coordinator Elaine Gilliam even jokingly invited your Chapter to host next year’s Summit in Denver, CO. And I was identified as a rising leader in the Society when I was invited to join the 2018-2019 Community Affairs Committee (CAC) by STC Director Jessie Mallory. I have no doubt that running your Florida Chapter for the past two years has prepared me to help other Chapters and SIGs achieve the same level of excellence. But don’t worry, I am still going to serve on your Chapter’s AdCo as Immediate Past President. I will be here for whatever Bethany and Nick need as we realize your Chapter’s full potential.
YOUR CHAPTER IS IN GOOD HANDS!
I close this, my last column, with my favorite quote from the dearly-departed Anthony Bourdain, who I always called my spirit animal. It is actually the last quote from the last episode of his Travel Channel series No Reservations:
“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.” Anthony Bourdain