Before I knew it it was time for the Media and Partnership Recognition Luncheon. I can remember everyone who sat at my table during lunch. I was delighted to be sitting between Jimm Brown who is the Community Relations Manager at KOMO Television and Radio in Seattle and his lovely wife. We shared lots of little anecdotes about our travel to Washington, D.C. until Jan Withers began the presentation. We enjoyed an informative appearance by Ron Medford who is NHTSA’s Deupty Administrator. And then US Para-olympian Kari Miller had has laughing so hard that we were crying during her touching presentation about how her life was changed by a drunk driver but her determination and upbeat perspective on life kept her going as she worked to win two silver medals in the Para-olympic games.
After Kari’s moving presentation the Media Recognition awards began. I was overjoyed when at one point the Walk Like MADD commercial that KOMO had created for MADD Washington was played for everyone to see. And one of KOMO’s news reports on our walk was also shown. Then Jimm Brown went up to accept an award on behalf of KOMO and Fisher Broadcasting. I was in tears again.
Then to make things even better congressional staffer Dabney Hegg from Senator Patty Murray’s (Washington State) office was one of two recipients of the Congressional staffers of the Year award.
Could the day get any better? I didn’t think so.
I need to pause to point out that everywhere you go at the conference there are memorial walls displaying pictures of those that have been lost to the horrible crime of drunk driving. At every turn you are reminded of why there is still so much work to be done.
After lunch I attended the session on Corporate Outreach which was put on by Sharyn Casey MADDs Director of Development, Fran Lanzer (Colorado) and Mary Beth Griffin (Orange County). I sat next to Jen Godbehere from Arizona and Sherry Megee from Michigan. I discovered that Sherry and I also have some mutual friends. It was a wonderful, interactive session.
After the session I was socked and surprised when MADD founder Candace Lightner came up to me and said how much she enjoyed my remarks during the breakfast session. I was on cloud nine.
At 4pm I was on a panel of speakers during a session on Media Relations. Georgia’s Executive Director Barry Martin, Florida’s Executive Director David Pinster and I spent an hour and a half sharing strategies, tips and tricks on how to get the media more engaged in helping raise awareness and changing behavior. It was perhaps the most interactive session of the day. I had a wonderful time and learned so much from Barry and David. Anna Duerr was a spectacular facilitator. We abandoned the PowerPoint presentations and talking points and instead just flowed with the needs of the audience. It felt great.