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A Happy Accident

Apr 20, 2012

by Silvia Pendleton, Director of Marketing and Membership

I was recently reminiscing about the happy accident that brought me to the association management field and ultimately to TSSA.  Working my way through college extended my college career for several extra years than my contemporaries, but I don’t have any regrets.  Working a full-time job and going to night school didn’t always leave enough time to accelerate the number of hours I could rack up in one semester.  During that time I took a lot of different jobs but each experience helped shape me and my business interests – and ultimately, this has been a good thing.

When I found myself working for a non-profit organization, I started feeling “at home.”  One particular job took me to New York for a couple of years and thoroughly changed this Texan’s view of the world.  I never thought I’d live in New York, much less enjoy it!  But I always yearned to return to Texas, and so I found my way home.  When the non-profit’s headquarters moved to Washington, DC, I bid them a fond farewell and went looking for my next adventure.  And that’s when I stumbled upon the association management field.  It was a happy accident and one that I’ll always be grateful for. 

Working for an association management company was like getting paid while receiving the best possible education in business.  I was given the opportunity to help shape the direction of several associations and even saw the birth of one or two.  It was hard work with many a crisis to avoid, and many, many constant deadlines to meet.  But it was also rewarding work.  Believe it or not, what I learned during those years helped me start my own business!  After all, I’d learned the basics of any enterprise and I applied those teachings to my self storage business.  And now, I get to apply all those bits and pieces gathered from all those varying experiences to my work with TSSA. 

I know how lucky I am to have the opportunity to merge my two interests – self-storage and association management – to create a perfect blend.  I’m excited about the future of the self-storage industry and I’m forever watching for ways that the Texas Self Storage Association can help members succeed and stay abreast of the latest trends.

It’s a privilege to be associated with TSSA.  I’m sometimes a little envious of young people that seem to know exactly where they want to go in life and have a fully developed plan.  But truth be known, I wouldn’t change the meandering route that brought me to this industry or this job.  It’s a happy accident that keeps me smiling and growing professionally.

What about your professional journey?  Was it a clear path or did you take a few detours along the way?  I know one constant in my life has been continued education.  Regardless of the field I happened to be working in at the time, I’ve always sought out more knowledge.  I also had great mentors along the way that made it possible for me to attend seminars, shared books, or included me in strategic meetings.  Are you mentoring your staff along the way?  Do you spot those eager to grow and offer the gift of your experience?  It’s never too early to start planning for the TSSA Annual Convention.  This is a perfect time to reward your superstars and to offer them an opportunity for growth.  See you in October!

(The TSSA Annual Convention and Trade Show is scheduled for October 14 -16, 2012 in San Antonio!)