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A Farewell to NCE Steering Committee Chair Karen Shoemaker

After two wonderful years, we bid farewell to Karen Shoemaker as our NCE Steering Committee Chair. Karen reflected on her tenure as chair with us, as well as how to get more involved with NCE!

Your time as NCE Steering Committee Chair is ending after 2 years! What’s your most memorable moment (funny, ridiculous, triumphant, or otherwise) from your time as Chair?

There have been so many memorable moments over the past two years, thanks to my colleagues on the Steering Committee across The Arc. I think that one of my favorite and most memorable moments was recognizing Peter Berns for his amazing leadership with the NCE Chair Award at the 2019 NCE Awards Luncheon. Peter and I were at the same table and we were still able to keep the award a surprise right up to the time that I announced it from the podium–I loved seeing the look on his face! And I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my 1st Vice Chair and incoming Chair Chris Stewart and my 2nd Vice Chair Kim Dodson for their support during these last two years. They are both truly special to me and their friendship, camaraderie, and professional advice has been invaluable. 

What was your most challenging moment?

I think that the most challenging moments or times have been since the beginning of the pandemic in March. Trying to keep the Steering Committee connected and energized while we were all facing our own challenges at our chapters and in our personal lives was tough, particularly since we were not seeing each other face to face as planned. I do feel that we became even more close-knit as a group and were really supportive of each other. We kept in frequent contact and worked as a group to ensure that we were efficient with our time and also staying focused on what would benefit our NCE members as a group. 

Do you have any advice for those wanting to get more involved with NCE, either in a leadership or participatory capacity?

There are so many ways to get involved with and utilize the incredible network of NCE. 

Our collaboration with The Arc’s national office continues to be strong and provides us the resources and support for our work as the “leadership development arm” for chapter executives and senior leadership across The Arc network. Together with the NCE Steering Committee, our focus in 2020 since the beginning of the pandemic has been on the continued growth of our professional development opportunities resources for the benefit of our NCE members. We developed new and innovative ways to connect with our NCE members across the country.

The NCE Local Executives Google Group is an important tool that provides our NCE members with the ability to connect with and leverage the unique talents, ideas, and resources of our members across the country. Since the beginning of the pandemic, this resource has been heavily used to share what our chapters are talking about or dealing with due to COVID-19. And despite having to cancel both our face to face Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) and Professional Development Seminar (PDS), the Planning Committee team did an extraordinary job of putting together a highly successful virtual SLI series and virtual PDS that was live streaming and on-demand for attendees. Finally, our NCE Awards Committee put together a very meaningful virtual presentation of the NCE Distinguished Professional Awards during the last virtual General Session of this year’s annual Convention.  

NCE members can get involved by serving on one of the many different task groups responsible for all of these NCE resources and benefits. This is also a great way to learn more about NCE and decide if you want to pursue a position on the NCE Steering Committee.

What’s next in your career?

I love my role as a local chapter CEO. I am very fortunate to have incredible staff and Board leadership who are invested in our mission and who support the work of our chapter. Together, we are focused on continuing to move our chapter forward particularly as we navigate the challenges of the pandemic. I look forward to remaining involved with NCE and the Steering Committee and seeing what the future holds. Most of all, I can’t wait to see everyone in person at future events!