I was elected to the TechServe Alliance (TSA) Board of Directors a few years back and currently serve as the President of the Board. With the Board seat comes an unspoken obligation to “lobby the hill” on behalf of the industry. I am happy to do this and, of course, give it my 110%.

This past May I was in Washington DC with the TSA for my fifth consecutive year. Each and every year I find it to be a great experience with many new things to see and learn. And, with each year, my knowledge of the lobbying process has increased. My first year lobbying I was a proud and concerned citizen who understood the issues. Unfortunately, what I was unclear on was the whole lobbying process. While the issues may change from year to year, the process remains the same and I’ve become even more and more clear.

With all of the procedural red tape though, one can’t help but wonder if, through this process, are we truly making a difference? Maybe I’m a slow learner or maybe I’m slower to make an impact, but this year everything clicked. I think I finally understood. I finally got it. We’re lobbying for our freedoms.

Respond to what needs you

This year, I had the pleasure of bringing my 13 year old daughter along for the lobbying experience. It really blew her away to see up close how our government works. She was amazed to witness our governmental process and was able to learn more about our nation’s history and just how important it is for us all step up and do our part. Watching her and seeing her reactions really got me thinking about our freedoms. As I sit here in Omaha, Nebraska at CRi World headquarters surrounded by amazing views of our great city and its great people and music, I can’t help by think about our many freedoms.

We have all read and studied history and know that many people have and continue to fight for our freedom.  I never really thought deeply about my role in all that. But stemming from my trip to our nation’s capital, now I get it! At its most basic, I’ve boiled it down to: respond to what needs you.

Not issues, but personal connections

It is our duty; our responsibility as business leaders to make sure we regularly work to remove any barriers that could possibly delay or prevent the dreams of the industry, our business and its employees.

It is not just about “the issues” facing our industry. It is about focusing on what you care about and what you are passionate about. Lobbying is the vehicle by which we can connect warmly and routinely with the elected officials who pass the laws that govern our country. Our goal is to build relationships and keep those we connect with informed.

While it’s not realistic for us to think we can deliver on everything (I certainly would if I could), it is within our abilities to make sure our elected officials fully understand the context of the decisions they make and how those decisions impact the citizens and corporations they represent and ultimately our collective, innovative future. That’s the point of lobbying. I get it!

It’s with a renewed spirit that I look forward to my next trip to Washington DC to tackle the important issues facing our industry.

Sue Thaden founded CRi in 1999. She leads CRi today with the same ideals and dedication to service that spurred our genesis more than a decade ago. In this blog, Sue will share her unique leadership and insights as well as her perspective on the future of the industry.

Contact