asbointl.org SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | DECEMBER 2019 7 How ASBO International supports the three pillars of an outstanding association. Pillars of Excellence By David J. Lewis executive director’s message A s I reflect on ASBO International’s recent Annual Conference & Expo, what comes to mind are the three pillars of an outstanding associa- tion and how the association goes about sup- porting the needs for our members. Pillar 1: First and foremost for any profes- sional association is the ability to provide professional development opportunities for its members. With more than 75 sessions covering everything from preparing a CAFR to the risks of procurement fraud to strengthening your school’s cybersecurity protocols and myriad other topics on school business management best practices, this year’s annual conference provided our members invaluable training from their colleagues and content experts that they can take back to their districts to increase efficiencies and reduce costs. In the exhibits marketplace, our members had the opportu- nity to discover valuable products and services from partnering businesses that help provide the expertise and resources so vital to the day- to-day operation of the business office. Just as this issue of School Business Affairs focuses on the timely topic of sustainability and the impact of sustainability initiatives on the budget, sessions at this year’s annual conference covered moving to a more equi- table and sustainable salary model, building a sustainable facility management program, and designing a sustainable bus replacement strategy—all vital topics that are relevant to districts no matter their size, geographic loca- tion, or demographic makeup. Another professional development oppor- tunity available to our members is the ability to virtually revisit the sessions they couldn’t attend due to conflicting schedules. This year, all sessions have been recorded and made available online for members in the Global School Business Network. Even after the meet- ing, you’re now able to access educational sessions and slides whenever you need them, continuing your education after the conference is over. Pillar 2: The second pillar of an effec- tive association is networking and sharing best practices with fellow practitioners. This includes the ability to meet with school busi- ness officials who are facing the same chal- lenges, obstacles, and inspirations within a sometimes little-recognized profession. Our members often remark that they would not have been able to make it 20 years in this business if they didn’t have the ability to com- municate with, commiserate with, and learn from those who have experienced their every- day work world. I find inspiration and encour- agement from our keynote speakers, our past presidents, our board of directors, and our colleagues from around the world who have committed so much of their personal time and energy seeking to improve public education. Being able to recognize outstanding best practices through the Pinnacle Award and acknowledge and appreciate those school business officials who have gone above and beyond to serve their community and profes- sion through the Eagle Award lets us demon- strate to the many constituencies within our communities the important role school busi- ness officials play in providing a quality learn- ing environment for our students. Pillar 3: This brings us to the importance of being an advocate for public education in the United States and around the world. Through a process of active asking and purposeful lis- tening we have sought to connect and engage with our affiliate associations, other educa- tional and community associations, and our policymakers to champion the advancement of public education as a fundamental element of our democratic institutions. As an organization with more than 100 years of leadership represented within our membership and our partnering organiza- tions, it is our responsibility to those who have laid down this foundation to continue to promote public education on behalf of our members. ASBO International will continue to do just that.