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Tuesday September 02, 2014
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What Have I Gotten Myself Into?



It's going to be a lot of work, for no pay, for twelve months starting April 30. I've already warned my elderly mother-in-law in Florida that she can't get sick all year.

So why did I agree? Believe me, I keep asking myself that question. But the answers come rushing in: I'm going to learn so much--about leadership, delegating, negotiating, communicating, fundraising--skills that will help me the rest of my career. It will raise my visibility as a personal biographer, which is the reason I joined the City Club in the first place. And I was flattered to be nominated. At forty-five, I'll probably be the youngest president in the organization's history.

I needed those selfish reasons to justify saying yes. But there's a bigger agenda at work here, too. I believe in this organization, and I want to be part of its future.

In the ten-plus years I've been involved, I've watched membership drop steadily while the wise remaining members scrambled to make the club more welcoming. Founded as the Ann Arbor Women's City Club in 1951, we dropped "women's" from the name in 2008 so that men (who had long been allowed to join) would feel more comfortable. We created a domestic partner membership to parallel the spousal membership and shorter-term memberships with reduced dues. We invested in a significant renovation to add an elevator and bigger bathrooms, update the decor, create a cozy pub in the lower level, and expand the ballroom to attract more weddings and other events. And we hired a superb general manager, Greg Fleming, who has put together a creative, dedicated staff.

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