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Members Share Stories at Spring Mingle

The virtual Spring Mingle recalls a song with a little twist in the lyrics: “Members just want to connect and have fun.” Yes, we all want to get back to meeting in person, but technology still allows us to connect, keep up those personal contacts and have a little fun. The April 21 Spring Mingle accomplished that and more.

A couple dozen members logged on for the virtual event. Even before it started, Kristie Gabel with Elite Cuisine had delivered a snack box of salami, cheese and crackers, and an adult beverage to enjoy.

The mingling then began in two breakout rooms facilitated by Erin Valentine, Marketing Chair, and Trish Jensen, Membership Chair. This gave members an opportunity to network and share their personal and career stories during the pandemic.

The breakout rooms asked participants to focus on the positives:

  • Discussing why and when they joined the chapter.
  • Reviewing one thing that they did during the pandemic that they wouldn’t have otherwise done?
  • Talking about one new “2020 best practice” that they learned and are implementing.
  • Sharing a personal or professional goal that they are working on for 2021.


“It was great to allow our members a way to connect and share their stories,” Erin says. “In particular, members talked about the value of IFMA. They appreciate access to other facility managers, the networking, educational programs and IFMA International events such as World Workplace.”

Erin was impressed with the story of long-time member Shelly Beckemeier with Arcturis who joined the chapter more than 30 years ago when it was still in its infancy. Shelly knows the profession has come a long way since those early days, and her tenure shows the value of her membership.

Trish says she found that members have made the most of the past year or so. “So many of the members noted how the pandemic allowed them to spend more time with their families. Life slowed down so many of us could finally appreciate and enjoy time at home.”

While virtually, the event gave members a chance to have a little fun and share their stories during these challenging times.

With hope on the horizon, thanks to more shots in the arm, the chapter looks forward to a possible in-person event soon. Renee LaBruyere, Program Chair, announced that plans call for a social at the Rhone Rum Bar on Wednesday, July 21, in honor of Facility Management Day. Fingers crossed!