My last work trip for the U.S. Chamber was to Los Angeles, California. For the last four years, I’ve headed to California for work in July. The weather is beautiful and it’s a welcomed change from the humidity of the east. This trip was especially fun because John was able to meet up with me at the end and visit my great aunt Fannie. John was also in California for work the same week, which worked out very nicely.
We were also able to grab a bite to eat with John’s cousin Mike.
One of my favorite parts of this work trip each year is when we go out on a yacht to celebrate those graduating from the Institute program. This year the boat ride once again did not disappoint.
On the last night of the Institute program in L.A., our team traditionally holds a small, special event for the staff and a few others. This year we were at the Bel Air Bay Club. John was actually able to join us as well after he kindly drove up from San Diego during rush hour.
John and I took the red eye home from California on a Friday night, and the next Tuesday I started my new job. It was great to end my U.S. Chamber/Institute experience with this trip.
This is my 100th blog post! While I don’t have anything special to share, I’ve learned that simplicity and consistency are two of the greatest blessings of life. Life is calm and simple right now, and I appreciate that.
During the last few summers, my summer plans have revolved around my work travels. In fact, as I type this, I am on a plane heading to L.A. for work. I’ve enjoyed meeting different chamber of commerce and association professionals throughout my travels. In June, I headed to both Madison, Wisconsin and Athens, Georgia for work.
Over the last few months as my husband and I discussed our future goals, including buying a house, I felt it was time for a change in my professional life. My current commute is about an hour and a half each way, which means I am gone from 7 to 7 each day. I’ve been at the U.S. Chamber for almost five years and I’ve loved my time there. I wanted to take the next step in my career and find a job that wasn’t so far away from our current home and new home. Earlier this month, I accepted a job as the professional development manager for an association near where I live. My last day at my current job is July 18, and I start my new job the next day.
As I mentioned in my last post, another exciting change in my life is the new home John and I are building. We finished making all the selections for the home and signed all the necessary paperwork…there was a lot! We are so excited to watch our house be built 🙂
Near the end of this month, I celebrated my birthday. I was in Athens, Georgia for the actual day and was sick. My coworkers and I were supposed to have dinner with a group of board members that night, but I ended up eating Chick-Fil-A in my hotel room. That night one of the board members sent me a video of everyone at dinner singing me “Happy Birthday” with a big coconut birthday cake on the table. It was so sweet! When I returned home, John and I celebrated by going to Maggiano’s. We also had a family celebration with my family and John’s sister on the Sunday after I got home.
On January 2, I left for Tucson, Arizona. For work I help coordinate professional development conferences for association and chamber professionals. You can learn more about the program here. Our first conference took place January 5-9 at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Those who attend the program four times receive the IOM recognition, signifying 96 credit hours of nonprofit management instruction. Well, not only was I working the conference, but I also was a participant. This was my fourth time participating in the program, and consequently, I too recieved the IOM recognition! I am now officially Meghan Morgan, IOM.
The University of Arizona is a beautiful campus. Nearly everyday I was able to go walking down the main street of the campus. Usually it was morning time, and I loved watching the sun begin to rise over the mountains. As a girl from the east, it was fascinating that on my walks I would see both palm trees and mountains. I loved it.
After a great week in Tucson, I headed up to Phoenix to see one of my favorite people, Sara Picard! We had the opportunity to serve together as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When you begin your service as a missionary, you spend time in one of the Missionary Training Centers (MTC) throughout the world. Sara and I went to the MTC in Provo, Utah. She was the missionary I was assigned (blessed) to be companions with at the MTC. We were also able to serve together in Nauvoo, Illinois. Sara is one of those people who knows me well enough that without me even saying a word she’ll know what I am thinking (and vice versa).
While visiting Sara, we had the opportunity to attend a conference for LDS young adults living in the Phoenix area. The speakers at the conference were excellent. My favorites include Mitt Romney, Stephanie Nielson, Alex Boye, and Thurl Bailey. Below are some of my takeaways from the messages they shared:
“The scale of our service is not the measure of our success. Our success is the scale of our compassion.” – Mitt Romney.
Govenor Romney’s message was centered on defining success, not as the world sees it but as God sees it. He said that if we are to judge our success based on what the world would classify as success, then we are leaving our success and happiness up to serendipity and chance. If we do that, could we be successful? Possibly. Could we be happy? Possibly. But if we want sure success and sure happiness, we need to focus on that which is of God. We need to focus on loving and serving others, and humbly fulfill the duties that are ours to fulfill no matter who is watching.
Stephanie and her husband were burned in a plane crash a few years back. She counseled those in the audience to remember that everyone has scars. We may not always see those scars, but they are there. Consequently, we should love everyone.
Alex has to be one of the most energetic speakers I have ever listened to. His main message was to believe in yourself (and the power of God) and to seek after the things that you want and not limit your potential through doubt and disbelief. He advised us to not judge our lives in the moment, but believe we will achieve greatness. He cautioned that when we focus or become so hung up on only a snapshot of our life we limit our potential.
I am going to be honest here and say I had no idea who Thurl Bailey was until this conference… Clearly, I am not a Utah Jazz fan (or NBA fan in general). Thurl’s message was so inspiring. He shared the story of his journey to become a basketball player. When Thurl first tried out in middle school, he didn’t make the team (two years in a row)! In fact, after the second year, the basketball coach told Thurl not to even come out for the team the next year. Well, the next year, the school got a new coach, and Thurl did try out. And he made it! But he didn’t make it necessarily because he was good, but because the coach saw great potential in him. As I listened to Thurl speak, my mind started thinking about potential and how important it is that we all look for the potential in others, and not doubt the potential of another person. It’s so amazing how when even just one person acknowledges and encourages the potential in another person, great things happen (e.g. Thurl Baily and his coach, Esther and Mordecai, Joseph Smith and his family, etc.) I imagine that all greatness that has been achieved throughout the world’s history can be attributed to the belief of one person in another person’s potential.
I had a great time in Arizona, but I am also grateful to be back!