It’s hard to believe we’re just four months away from our 2019 National Convention in Phoenix. We expect a record turnout this year (so register now!), and we’re hard at work putting together an amazing array of program sessions, panels, speakers and competitions.
And yet, I’m already looking ahead to our 2020 Convention in Denver. I know what you’re probably thinking: “Raquel! That’s 15 months away! Stop stressing!”
You’re right. It’s only 15 months away. But that will be here before we know it. The amount of planning and preparation that go into SHPE’s annual National Convention, well, let’s just say it’s a lot—a whole lot. And that includes contemplating potential ideas and themes.
Not surprisingly, one of the first things that came to mind when thinking about a possible theme for the 2020 Convention, is the concept of mountains. It’s an image that’s enchanted and entranced humans for as long as we’ve roamed the earth, and a recurrent theme in our stories, mythologies and religions. Naturally, this got me thinking about SHPE’s own legacy, and why the narrative we create—the stories we tell about ourselves—are so important.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s our job, as an organization, to guide our members up the proverbial mountain—like Sherpas or “guias” guiding trekkers to the summit. At the same time, SHPE has to climb its own mountain: tackling challenges that include recruiting and retaining members, defining and delivering value to its members, partnering with more and more organizations that support SHPE’s vision and mission, and (last but not least) advancing the cause of Hispanics in STEM across the country—and around the world.
Oddly enough, and in keeping with our theme, I just got done reading the latest book by New York Times columnist David Brooks, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. In it, Brooks talks about the two mountains many of us climb. The first mountain is our work, family and personal life. Only, when we get to the top, many of us realize there’s another peak out there to climb—one that gives us a better view of the bigger picture.
It’s a metaphor I can relate to. My legal career was my first mountain, one I spent years trying to scale—and eventually conquered, having risen to the level of chief legal officer and general counsel.
In SHPE, I’ve found my second mountain—a climb whose journey fills me with boundless passion and a greater sense of meaning and purpose. And that purpose is to ensure that SHPE is set up to provide all of its members the requisite support to climb whatever mountain is in front of them, whether it’s graduating from college and getting that first job in STEM or making a mid-career jump to another organization.
I can think of no better place to continue that climb than Denver, the Mile High City at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. But like any long journey, it starts with the steps right in front of us. And that means making sure that this year’s 2019 Convention lives up to its theme—“The Power of Transformation”—and sets the stage for the greater climb to come.
Raquel Tamez, SHPE CEO