When I Grow Up

Thirty years or so ago as a fledgling bar professional I attended the ABA Bar Leadership Institute (BLI). I was the designated minder for the NYSBA president-elect. The three-day conference was a revelation convincing me of the value of convening and peer-to-peer learning. It also in a roundabout way inspired my new chapter — Elizabeth Derrico & Associates.

At that long ago BLI Dadie Perlov was the keynote. A pioneering association executive, management development consultant, and inveterate plastics collector, Dadie was fearless in her approach in working with organizations.

Elizabeth with Mom and Dad

Dadie’s AV equipment was an overhead projector which she used to explain the, “closet rule.” After a charming discourse on using her oven for shoe storage, Dadie explained that she had a deal with her husband that for each item that she added to her closet she would remove another. She charged the audience with doing the same in their own organizations, pointing out that organizational capacity is limited and if we overflow with activities chaos ensues. I cannot do justice to her wry, New York accented, enthusiastically disarming delivery of this message. But it sure was sticky. It was so impressive a colleague reminded that I exclaimed, “When I grow up I want to be Dadie Perlov.”

So, here I am. I am grown-up from the day-to-day ins and outs of being an association professional and embarking on a new endeavor. I am following in Dadie’s considerable footsteps to work with organizations to build their capacity to govern, serve their members and clients, and develop their internal and external leadership teams. I would not presume to ever fill Dadie’s glittering shoes but I can find room in my oven for a new pair of pumps.

18 Replies to “When I Grow Up”

  1. Looking forward to more blog posts! Can’t say I can use the shoe storage technique, however. I love cooking too much. Maybe the broom and vacuum cleaner closet could be repurposed for shoes…

  2. I remember Dadie well and treasure all that we learned from her. You indeed have grown up to be Dadie—you were great for our organization and I know you will be for so many more lucky ones in the future.

  3. I used to say ASAE could make non dues revenue selling bumper stickers saying “What Would Dadie Do?” GREAT role modeland bravo to you!

  4. So proud of you!!
    I always knew, back at Wheaton, you could accomplish anything.
    I know you will have great personal and professional success with this next chapter of your life.

    1. Marci, thank you so much. All those late night conversations years ago continue. Reunion was the final inspiration to move on and take on the next chapter. I am so grateful for you support.

  5. Wow, Dadie Perlov, what a blast from the past! Congratulations, Elizabeth, on your new venture. I enjoyed working and with you in the past and learning from you. You will continue to bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to any organization that is smart enough to hire you!

    1. Thank you, Patience. Perhaps I can lure you and Karen out of retirement for some special projects. The community of colleagues has made all of the difference in my work and my life.

  6. Elizabeth, I am so glad organizations can now access you for wise and practical guidance! You were a healer and energizer as part of the ABA and in your volunteer work. It is so good to know you are available to share your experience and wisdom with groups beyond and within the world of legal associations!

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