Martin Buber, an Australian born philosopher, wrote about differences between an I-it relationship and an I-you relationship. An I-it relationship is basically what we create when we are in transactions with people we treat like objects—people who are simply there to serve us or complete a task. I-you relationships are characterized by human connection and empathy. What if everyone always chose the I-you relationship all the time? How would our world be?
As I was standing on stage receiving a Pinnacle Achievement Award at the 2019 ASBO Annual Conference and Expo at National Harbor Maryland this past October, never having attended an ASBO International conference, it became very clear to me that WASBO guided me to this place with individuals encouraging me along my journey such as Woody Weidenhoeft (literally making me aware of this award and excited for the WASBO organization and myself), Jeanne Deimund (getting me a professional photo instead of the selfie which, yes, I sent to her), Molly Barrie (ASBO preparing me for what was to come), and Brian Kirkwood (Virco) supporting the ASBO community/conference itself and embracing our individual creativity. Limitless, anything is possible, a human connection, empathy.
I met so many wonderful individuals at the conference, some who will become lifelong friends such as John and Lisa Callopy (2019 Pinnacle of Excellence Award Winner) who personally and professionally inspired me in profound ways which was entirely unexpected and truly immeasurable. Gifted professionals such as yourselves representing different states in America and different countries in the world, in this together, making a difference, connected with empathy for others and a commitment to professional integrity and respect. We can imagine and create and build and serve others, yet we do none of this alone. Too often I believe organizations get caught up in competition with each other rather than collaborating and lifting each other up to our highest selves. ASBO International and WASBO truly know this and practice this caring not only about each member but also the communities and the people they have the privilege to serve. A lesson to us all in empathy, the I-you relationship.
My final note is this: although I was honored and humbled receiving this award, my true Pinnacle Award at the ASBO International conference came before the convention even started or the award ceremony itself. October 23rd, 2019 on top of a lit-up Lincoln Memorial, on my knee, overlooking the Washington Monument, I proposed to the love of my life Cathi. Pretty sure she said yes between the tears, kisses and hugs. Relationships truly are the pinnacle of our lives. Join ASBO, expand your vision, and your relationships. I promise you won’t be disappointed, for the relationships fostered through WASBO and ASBO truly are life-changing.
Director of Business Services
School District of Waupaca