It isn't often that I am taken by surprise, and even less often that I find myself getting all choked up (at least in public, that is). But last month in Orlando at the ASA Convention & Network '05, I found myself the subject of a well-planned public tribute that swept me off my feet.
As more than a dozen past Presidents of ASA stood at the front of the room paying homage to my humble self, my friend and colleague at ASA, our Director of Finance Cathie Fournier, presented me with a collection of letters and photos commemorating my 20th anniversary with ASA. We'd had the pleasure of honoring her 20th anniversary with ASA just 18 months earlier. I guess you could say we're both a couple of “lifers.”
The album I was presented contained dozens and dozens of memories, written by folks with whom I've had the opportunity to work over the last 20 years in this industry. Not only the former ASA leaders, but other industry leaders as well -- those hard-working folks who've attended the countless meetings, conventions and trade shows along with me. Likewise, there were notes from my fellow staff members, recounting their memories of my time here at ASA, some of whom might soon be celebrating 20 years as well. These are people who have shaped my career and my professional development, as I “grew up.”
From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this wonderful tribute, and especially Cathie, who spent a lot of time gathering information and pictures (including one collage page entitled, “The Many Hair Styles and Colors of Inge”). And thank you also for the beautiful bracelet that came in that telltale turquoise blue box with a white ribbon!
I have been privileged to be working in this industry, which is characterized by a group of people who share a number of common traits: unimpeachable ethics, a dedication to hard work, and a great sense of balance between their personal and professional lives. Thank you to all of you who have mentored me, believed in me, and supported me in the past 20 years. I look forward to continuing to serve you.