The Red Lanyard Experience: CAGP Conference 2018

I have never been to a CAGP conference. In fact, until 2 years ago I had not idea what the acronym CAGP stood for. With just one CAGP conference, I have become a groupie and a donor. Let me tell you why: 
It started with the red lanyard. Do you remember the playground as a kid? That awkward feeling when you’re new, and you’re not quite sure how to fit in? Well, even for a raging extrovert like me, a new conference can feel overwhelming. The CAGP red lanyard is genius! Members came up to me and asked me how my experience was, and if they could help with anything. I felt like I had been invited into a very special community. A community of people who genuinely care about each other, and about making the world a better place through philanthropy.
Trusts. Capital Gains. Holding Companies. Estate Planning. There was so much new terminology at the conference that my head was spinning! This was my first experience learning about wealth and estate planning. I enjoyed the real-life case studies in the sessions, I loved listening to tax professionals, financial planners and lawyers (yes, I really did!) and I took away a host of new ideas and concepts. My biggest takeaway was that collaboration and commitment to the donor’s vision for a better world must be the force that drives our work as philanthropy professionals. This aligns with my personal belief that together we are stronger. When more people collaborate, the process is stronger, and the outcome is powerful.
It was my first CAGP conference and I was also speaking on the topic of Transitional Questions and the Art of being Meaningful. I had a fantastic group of people in my session who were brave enough to ask questions, connect with each other, and share personally meaningful stories. I noticed this sense of true connection among CAGP members everywhere. The commitment to our work as philanthropy professionals is the commonality, and it attracts a certain kind of personality to the work. The people I met were genuine, open, and curious about each other. Presenters like Gail Asper, Roberta Jamieson, Tom Deans, Fraser Green, and Alen Okanovic shared their stories of triumph and challenge, encouraging us to continue to learn and strive to be better at what we do.
As Gail Asper said, there are leaners and lifters in our world. At some point in our lives, we will all lean on others for help and support. I look forward to leaning on my new CAGP network. I hope that someday soon I can be a lifter for someone else.
Thank you CAGP for a wonderful red lanyard experience!

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