While I may have waited to get back to my desk to do the actual typing, this post was truly written while fighting back tears at the 2016 ICE Exchange Conference keynote session. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
The ICE (Institute for Credentialing Excellence) Exchange Conference is an important event for associations looking to apply best practices to their credentialing programs. This year’s conference in Colorado Springs, CO, had a record attendance of over 600 attendees (555 was the previous record). Not the largest show I attend each year, but it’s packed with good content and great conversations.
At ICE, the focus is on credentialing. So as an industry partner that provides print and fulfillment services for the continuing education department of associations, there is always an opportunity to learn something new. This year was no different. It was the keynote presentation delivered by Alex Sheen, co-founder of Because I said I would… a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity that really peaked my interest.
Alex’s thought provoking, and inspiring stories left me fighting back tears one minute and laughing out loud the next. Here’s Alex’s “long story short”:
Alex’s father died of lung cancer in September 2012. He describes his father as an ordinary man. An ordinary man who always kept his promise. At his father’s eulogy, Alex decided to honor his father for all of those kept promises by urging others to keep their own. To illustrate his point, Alex handed out promise cards with the simple words of “Because I said I would” printed on them. Alex later went online and promised to send out 10 free promise cards to anyone in the world. To date, Alex has sent out over 4 million cards to 153 different countries.
Despite the simplicity of the promise cards, they have changed hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. From those who felt their own life wasn’t worth the next breath, to others who promise to donate a kidney to a friend or family member.
Some stories so incredibly sad, yet so packed with inspiration and hope.
So why is Alex so passionate about a promise? Alex believes at some point it became easier for people to blame others—other people, other groups, situations, the economy, technology, etc.—instead of people holding themselves accountable. Growth and change begin by improving ourselves; from there we can improve our organizations, and each other. It starts with our promise…because I said I would.
Could your association benefit from using some promise cards?
- What is the true passion and mission of your association?
- What is your personal mission that can be carried out through your association?
- What is your promise to your organization and its members?
Here’s my promise to the customers that I have the privilege of knowing, serving, and partnering with every day….I will do everything to the best of my ability.
I never heard of Alex Sheen before ICE but I’ll never forget his message.