President's Column

President's Column

Greetings! Wow, we are almost at the end of 2020 – for better or worse. However you are ending this year, I wish you all health and comfort. We are grateful that you have stuck with us through one of the most momentous years in all of International ACAC history. I remain proud of how our organization has proactively moved in needed directions but I might speak for us all when I say I look forward to the new year. In my world as President, we are about to start our annual efforts to promote our elections to the membership. It has given me pause to think about what membership has meant to me over the years, especially as a member of the Board.  It has only been in the recent few years that our elections have garnered strong interest. When I first ran for the board in 2007, I was the only person to put my name forth for delegate and I was told this was not unusual. At that time, the board was smaller and we met once a year for a few hours before the conference. It was the late Gwen Martinez, who was President at the time, who encouraged me to run for office. I have kept her congratulatory email (dated April 10, 2007!) and remember thinking that delegate was just the right place for me.  Over the next decade, I served in that role for over three terms and watched the organization go from strength to strength and gain depth and breadth. Board service has been a very fulfilling way to learn about the organization and grow professionally as an individual. 

I am indebted to several colleagues who “tapped my shoulder” and encouraged me along the way. I also ventured to put myself out there for positions I thought I might be suited for. The risk is always that I wouldn’t get voted in, or that I wouldn’t get selected and it is the same risk I ask of my students every day as I encourage them to join a sports team or club, run for student council or apply to university.  If they ask me “what if I fall” I answer with “but what if you fly?” As we embark upon our election for 2021, I encourage all of you to reach out to someone to suggest they run for the Executive Board or Committee service. And don’t just tap the person next to you – reach three shoulders down. When I have had the opportunity, I have tried to appoint people to positions who have not had the chance to serve before. It is an initiative I am committed to. 

Soon, we are coming to the close of our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice data collection phase and will be looking to report out to our membership in January. This moment marks the end of several months of discussion, surveying, listening and analyzing data and experiences from our membership. It was clear during our annual meeting that many members have been undergoing their own training, reflections and calls for changed behaviors. The recommendations from our consultant and steps forward that we will share are just the beginning. We will continue to listen and engage to further create an inclusive organization for all.

We at International ACAC wish you a wonderful and reflective start to the new year. We know that many of you are celebrating holidays as never before, with separation from friends and family. We are grateful for your continued partnership and support. 

Kathleen Schultz
President, International ACAC
University & Career Counselor, Zurich International School

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