No, this has nothing to do with the upcoming United States Presidential election season.

Kristi Davis jumpAs the new President of NSA Michigan, I had the distinct honor to induct my dear friend, Kristi Davis as our chapter’s first Professional Candidate. If you’d like to know more about what that is, keep reading, but first I’d like to say a few words about Kristi.

While not yet a member, Kristi has been an active participant in NSA for quite a while now. She’s an alumna of our outstanding ProTrack program. She and I were actually in class together. Let me just say that when she’s telling her tales about her life as a Rockette and proceeds to demonstrate what she means by “high kicking” you can’t help but be amazed at what she’s experienced.

In fact, Kristi has already published her first book, a memoir of her adventures. It’s an Amazon Best-Seller and 5-star Reader’s Favorite called “Long Legs and Tall Tales: A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey to the Playboy Mansion and the Radio City Rockettes”. She’s also created a motivational keynote, “Kick high! Be spectacular!”, that she’s already started presenting. In fact, if everything goes as planned, she’s told me that she will be a full Professional Member by February.

Be sure to cheer her on!

Now, to the question you might have in your head. “Hey, Greg, so what the heck is this Professional Candidate Program, anyway?”

I’m so glad you asked.

As you already know, becoming a Professional Member requires a definite commitment to the life of a professional speaker/trainer/facilitator/etc. You not only have to accomplish the minimum of 20 paid speaking events in a year, but you also have a not-insignificant outlay of funds. For those of us who’ve achieved that level we realize all the many benefits we receive from both the national and local arms of NSA. For those who are earlier in their careers or even those who are still testing the waters, though, that level of commitment can be a little intimidating.

To address this issue, the Board took a look at what other successful chapters are doing to support their aspiring and emerging speakers. Many of them support what you might call an “affiliate” designation (not to be confused with NSA’s Professional Affiliate Member). These “affiliates” can make a commitment to the local chapter and gain some of the benefits that we enjoy as full members.

This is not a final resting place, though, rather it’s a small step toward full Chapter and Association membership. Those who become Professional Candidates are not members — yet — but have committed to that path. As Members, our responsibility is to encourage, advise, and wherever possible lend a helping hand so they, too, can enjoy the benefits of full membership and we can enjoy the benefits of a stronger Chapter.

For more information about the Professional Candidate designation, please see the NSA Michigan website: NSAMichigan.org