A few years ago I attended an international reception at a Summit. I met the STC person running it and I complimented her on creating a program that welcomed our visitors from other countries. I mentioned to her how we had created the first international reception when I was Assistant to the President for Member Programs in 1987; she said “No, there were no international receptions before this one.” She even suggested that she had created the concept.
The point is that we are constantly reinventing the wheel in STC. We used to talk a lot about “corporate memory” in STC. During the eighties and nineties former president Jeff Hibbard was usually identified as the expert in STC corporate memory. Nevertheless, every so often someone tells me of a new idea that I know is not new, but had been created many years ago.
The history of the International Members Reception began in the mid-1980s. At that time STC was getting a tremendous year-to-year increase in STC members from all over the world attending our annual conferences. For the 1986-87 year I was appointed Assistant to the President for Member Programs. Since we didn’t have any set program for recognizing international members at our annual conferences, I assigned our International Member Programs committee, headed by Lorraine Oatley Hughes, to come up with a plan to welcome our members from abroad. Ultimately, the decision was made to have an International Members Reception at the 1987 STC Conference.
However, rather than just having a reception consisting of non-USA members for non-USA members, we decided that STC Board Members and committee managers should try to attend the reception and meet and greet as many of our guests from other countries as possible. Furthermore, we suggested that our leaders make a point to telling these people how much we appreciated their making the trip to our conference and try to make them feel welcome to our country and conference. We got a heartfelt reaction from our guests about the sincerity of our leaders in making them feel welcome here.
An International Member Reception was again held in 1988, and the International Member Programs committee continued helping members from outside the United States deal with issues that are unique to them. This work continued at least through my presidency in 1989-1990.
Some time in subsequent years, this reception concept was discontinued for reasons unknown to me. However, I like to think that it was reinvented in recent years by STC leaders who recognized the same need that I did, and might even come back again.