Professionalism, resilience and teamwork

Commonplace words … but recent events have added a depth of meaning to each of them.

Midafternoon on August 23rd, a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck Virginia. Earthquakes in this region are rare. Earthquakes of that size are unheard of. Much of the Washington DC area was able to shake it off and move on.  The little end of Courthouse Road in Vienna, where the National Court Reporters Association is located, was hit harder than most.

Despite being such a new and utterly unexpected experience, NCRA staff reacted with professionalism and calm, evacuating the building and there were no injuries.

But NCRA’s headquarter building took heavy damage: ceiling and light fixtures fell, windows shattered, book cases and cabinets were toppled, there were visible and alarming cracks to interior walls and exterior masonry. For a few, nail-biting days, it appeared the property would need to be condemned.

Then the amazing part begins. For the next week, staff worked round the clock on two fronts: working to restore the building to conditions that would allow for re-occupancy; and maintaining membership services and operations remotely.

Everyone chipped in and contributed above and beyond any reasonable expectations. 18 hour plus days were the norm. They did such a good job sustaining operations, I would bet that none of our members were even aware at the time of the difficult circumstances staff faced and didn’t notice any interruption in member service.

And I am not sure what was more impressive: the staff’s diligence, professionalism and dedication. Or their inexhaustible good humor, optimism and positive outlook. G. K. Chesterton once said that “an inconvenience is an adventure misperceived.” That week, the NCRA staff made me understand the meaning of real teamwork and the truth in Chesterton’s observation.

About Mark J. Golden, FASAE, CAE
Mark J. Golden, FASAE, CAE, is Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, which provides global leadership advancing the practice and profession of clinical laboratory science and medicine. He previously served as Executive Director and CEO of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) in Alexandria, Virginia. as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), Vienna, Virginia and in leadership roles with the Personal Communications Industry Association (PCIA), Washington, D.C. and the Association of Telemessaging Services International (ATSI), Alexandria, Virginia. Long active in the association community, Mr. Golden is a past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Center for Association Leadership, a past Vice Chairman of the ASAE Board of Directors, past Chair of the Center for Association Leadership’s Research Committee, and past member of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce's Association Committee of 100. He is the 2011 recipient of the American Society of Association Executive's Key Award, the highest honor ASAE bestows, to "honor the association CEO who demonstrates exceptional qualities of leadership in his or her own association, and displays a deep commitment to voluntary membership organizations as a whole.”

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