What an excellent conference in Welches at The Resort at the Mountain! The facility was wonderful, the weather and scenery were gorgeous, and the speakers were terrific! Thank you to the Conference Committee; we so appreciate all their hard work and preparations; well done Susan Boyle and Stacey Dukes!
The theme this year was “Continuing our Climb to Excellence” so each session was a lesson in excellence pertinent to Administrative Professionals in the fire service.
Lissa Piper, TVF&R Communications Program Assistant, started out the conference for us with Communications Tips & Tricks for Excellence. Attendees gained a better understanding of the rules of grammar, proper punctuation, abbreviations, parts of speech, and writing and replying to emails.
Bill and Jackie Hollis continued our education with “Getting Results: Elements of Successful Communication”. Clear communication is the key to our success in the workplace as well as all areas of our lives. After learning the personality styles of our colleagues and how best to communicate with each style, we moved on to the various ways of sending and receiving information based on how people process information. We learned that behind every communication there is an intention; we need to know our intent and express it clearly. “The meaning of the message is in the response it receives.” So often we go around the back way in trying to convey what we want. For example, if it’s raining hard out and you’re the passenger driving down the road with someone and you say, “It’s really raining hard, can you see?” What are you really saying? Turn the wipers on faster right? Sometimes we need to be more direct.
One of the best lessons I learned from Bill and Jackie, which is also the most frequent recommendation they make to their clients, is called ‘reframing’. This simply means learning to look at things a different way. “What you focus on determines what you miss.” If you focus on the negative, you may miss the good.
On Thursday, TVF&R’s Assistant Chief of Business Operations, Jeff Jones spoke on Professional Excellence. He helped us look at the perspective of excellence in our organizations, our performance, and through compassion. He advised us to:
- Help others be successful by believing in them and expecting them to achieve more.
- Have an intentional culture in your workplace – know your shared vision
- To be good at something, commit for the long haul. Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent.
- “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle
Thursday afternoon consisted of breakout sessions, where attendees could choose between CPR certification, Personal Finance, or Volunteer Excellence (Recruitment & Retention) ~ all very informative and well-taught classes.
Bill Gallagher wrapped up our conference on Friday with a stimulating and thought-provoking session on Boundaries in the Workplace. Bill defined boundaries as “our personal set of rules or expectations for the workplace; our personal limits of what we allow to continue or not.”
The session included lessons on:
- Prioritizing and setting boundaries on our time - what we allow to interrupt us, (ex: emails) the ability to say NO and staying within the boundaries of our jobs.
- How personality traits play a huge part in blurring boundary lines.
- Characteristics of good boundaries
- When it’s time to draw a boundary and practical steps for setting boundaries
- Boundaries and consequences should not be mean-spirited, but rather what’s best for the person, situation, and organization.
Dinner and “Bingo with the Beauties” gave attendees a time of fun, laughter, and networking on Wednesday evening.
Thursday night is the time to recognize and honor our members at our annual Awards Banquet.
Congratulations this year go to the following members:
- Vice President, 2 year term – Deb Keehn, Jefferson Fire
- Treasurer, 1 year term – Jamie Vohs, Black Butte Ranch Fire
- Region 4 Rep, 1 year term – Mary Lou Busch, Mist-Birkenfeld Fire
- Region 5 Rep, 2 year term – Paula Landrus, Crook County Fire
Accreditation (all 3 levels):
- Amy Anderson-Rice, Roseburg Fire
- Sharon Cox, Forest Grove Fire
- Carrie Compton, Albany Fire
- Sadie Bernt, Albany Fire
15 Year Length of Service Awards:
- Lori Fawcett, Canby Fire
- Cheryl Miles, Silverton Fire
President’s Award – Rhonda Grant, Stayton Fire
Committee Chair Awards (for committee members serving 5 years or more):
- for Secretary, Protocol & Parliamentarian, Pat Cane, McKenzie Fire
- for Hospitality & Website, Laura Houston, Stayton Fire
- for Education Chair, Pam Webber, Medford Fire
- for Accreditation Chair, Susan Boyle, TVF&R
- for Education & Accreditation Chair, Rebecca Hollenbeck, Springfield Fire
Life Membership Awards:
- Barb Kunkel, Portland Fire
- Pat Cane, McKenzie Fire
- Janet Huston, Siuslaw Valley Fire & Rescue
And finally, congratulations to our newly elected Officers to the following two-year positions:
- Vice President, Deb Keehn
- Treasurer, Jamie Vohs
- Region 4 Rep, Mary Lou Busch
- Region 5 Rep, Paula Landrus
And newly appointed Officers
- Region 3 Rep, Robin Paulson, Illinois Valley Fire
- Communication Chair, Stacy Brainard, Klamath County Fire
- Protocol Chair, Susan Barrett, Portland Airport Fire
Thank you all for your years of service and dedication to OFSOA! YOU are the reason we are thriving and successful!
~ submitted by Past President, Rhonda Grant