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.
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.