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Tony Minestra
DePaul College Prep
IACAC President

When I think about Seattle, I think about fog, and lattes, flannel shirts, Harry and the Hendersons, moody vampire romance, Jimi Hendrix and purple haze, supercomputers, Smells Like Teen Spirit, and McDreamy.

But I also think about the ocean. Here, on the very edge of where our world meets the water, I think about how vast that cold blue space is just beyond the market. I think about how this past year for all us, has felt like we’ve been lost at sea. The ocean, and our lives, can feel overwhelming at times, and even the sturdiest captains, with the strongest sea legs and the steadiest hand at the helm, and can feel washed away. We have all helped to keep this ship, this organization, pointed towards the horizon this year, despite feeling lost, and against the tide. We are not yet through the storm, but we’ve at least seen that there is hope for calm waters ahead.

Not sure if anyone read their Pacific Northwest Wikipedia pages, but Seattle, as fate may have it, was actually founded by adventurers from Illinois, wayfarers headed west to the promised land, 170 years ago. So, it seems appropriate that our collection of Illinois-focused professionals gathered in the Emerald City, a new frontier, navigating this storm together, and celebrating each other and our successes. We crossed the country to reflect on the journey we have all traveled to get where we are as an affiliate, as a family.

Seattle has always been, and remains, a place of innovation, of progressive policy and of creativity. That’s us. That’s exactly how I feel about this team, this affiliate. What better a place to capture and celebrate the creative and resilient spirit of our organization and our identity than in the forward thinking city that was responsible for so many ingenious creations, among other gifts to humanity, pickleball, the automated car wash, the bread clip, Pictionary, and the slinky dog? Sounds like they dipped into their own “Innovation Fund” and had a few “Rising Stars” of their own.

Despite the waves crashing over our deck and the winds blowing our sails off course, this association has continued to inspire me with its forward thought and its creativity, its tenacity and its passion…while never sacrificing its soul – our patience, our selflessness, and our dedication to stand in service with one another. We didn’t just survive this storm, we thrived, and pressed through one of the most remarkable years in our memories. We did this as a collective force. I thank you all for your grace as we sailed these seas together, and trusting our fearless executive board and all of our team leaders across the organization with charting our course.

I’ve just about run out of ocean analogies, but one more thought to share before I sign the Captain’s log …

This is not my ship to steer, it never has been. This remarkable year and all of the adventures we’ve shared along the way belong to all of us. Last spring, through the magic of technology (also…very Seattle), I asked all of you to Look for the Good with me through my laptop screen at our organization’s first ever virtual conference. Our time together at the NACAC Conference reminded me that those good vibes are still rolling. My highlight from our week in the Pacific Northwest was sharing in those successes with all of you. We had a moment, during our membership meeting, where each committee, each action team, each voice from around our affiliate had their chance to grab the wheel and share a little bit of where we’ve seen sun through the clouds in this stormy year. Although we continue to navigate in the unknown, the horizon is in sight. We all know the way through. Together.

Be on the lookout for a communication coming soon from IACAC Leadership, recapping the week in Seattle and sharing updates from our Affiliate President and Delegate meetings.

Be Good,

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