By Mary Ann Grignon, Membership Development Leader
I can still remember a Sunday in 2011 like it was yesterday. It was the last day of that year’s PCB conference. I had just moved to Florida, could no longer be on the board because of the distance, and was very teary-eyed as I said goodbye to my friends and colleagues. I specifically remember Thomas Reid pointing out that I wasn’t moving to another planet. While I appreciated his words of friendship, I was very afraid that I would no longer be able to participate as I used to do. Wow, was I wrong!
As PCB has evolved to become more inclusive of all its members, I’ve been able to participate even from down the east coast in sunny Florida. When the board went to telephone conferences with the only exception being the in-person board meeting at our conference, I took the next logical step for me and ran for the board. And so, here I am once again, deep into helping PCB reach its potential.
You are probably wondering why I am telling this story. Well, it is to demonstrate that PCB can, and does reach across the miles to include all members. PCB has had some wonderful presidents and each has led us forward, each has had their own distinctive styles and each has had their own specific dream for PCB’s future. I’m proud to say that I have been able to participate in PCB in a meaningful way through three consecutive and distinctive presidents, George Holliday, Tony Swartz, and Sue Lichtenfels. During each of these presidencies, I became immersed in helping them, to the best of my talents, achieve their goals.
Our current leadership would like to see PCB move from an exclusive, dues-collecting membership model to one open to all who could benefit from what we offer. I support this goal wholeheartedly.
This is the kind of plan that really does have something for everyone. We will be able to reach individuals who live in the most rural places in Pennsylvania through our discussion calls; we’ll reach busy people including those who are working, parents of young blind children, college students, caretakers and anyone too busy to attend chapter meetings through our new chat list and the discussion calls. For those who are new to vision loss, we will be able to introduce them to mentors if they like. Our new face-book page is reaching the young and young at heart and the list of benefits goes on.
By now you get the point; PCB can be a custom fit for virtually anyone. You can still be a chapter member, be a member of ACB, or just participate in our discussion calls. Essentially, you will be able to take from PCB’s buffet of offerings what you need and give back to PCB what you can.
The other important thing our president and the membership team would like is to know more about you as current members and more about those who join our organization in the future. Our president, along with those on the membership team would like to better serve you, our members and believe that to do that, we need just a bit more information about who you are, what you hope to gain from PCB and what you can give back to PCB. So, we’ve created a new membership registration questionnaire that addresses these points. We on the membership team, the office, and your leaders will insure that these forms are made available in any format you desire to make it easy and painless to complete them. This includes large print, braille, cartridge, emailed document; helping you on a one-on-one basis by telephone or possibly even sitting down with you at the conference and helping you complete it before you leave.
I appeal to you to help us reach the goal of opening PCB to all who can benefit from our ever-expanding buffet of offerings by completing the registration form and by keeping an open mind as PCB moves forward.
I will conclude by saying thank you to our leadership for thinking outside the box when trying to move PCB forward. It’s because of this forward motion that I’ve been able to stay involved with PCB to the extent that mattered so much to me.