President's Message: Sometimes You just KNOW, you know?

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 10/15/20 5:13 PM

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As a young man, I came across publicly as a pretty outgoing guy. But on the inside, I was often terrified of facing rejection, of being wrong, of failing. When it came to dating, my hands would sweat and I’d turn into a nervous wreck. Asking a girl out on a date was very hard for me.

So imagine my shock and surprise when I first saw the woman I would eventually marry on a volleyball court prior to my senior year of college and I leaned over to a buddy and said, “You see that blond, I’m going to marry her.” I was dead serious, but he laughed at me hysterically. He knew full well that I hadn’t even met her yet.

As you can see, now I had some figuring out to do in order to make that statement come to fruition.

My wife and I were hired as resident advisors in different dorms at St. Cloud State University in the early 90’s. She was an incoming sophomore and trust me when I tell you, she was out of my league (she still is). I definitely was out of my element, like a fish out of water. I had just told a buddy that this woman was going to be my wife, but I knew nothing about who she was or where she was from.

Oh, and also, she was dating someone at the time. So was I, actually. (oops!)

Without boring you with all the details, I am proud to tell you that by the time that school year ended, she was wearing an engagement ring from me. This December, we celebrate 27 years together.

Sometimes you just know, you know?

Well, this is not exactly the same thing, but for what it’s worth, I just want to tell you all that we’re all going to be alright. I sincerely mean it and I feel good about saying it.

Look, for all of us, 2020 has made its mark. Some of those marks we’d just as soon forget, but some of them too, I’d bet, have been blessings. I’ve spent more quality time with my family in the past six months than I’ve done in many years. It’s been amazing.

Surely you can’t argue that our industry has been blessed. It’s been a RECORD year, in so many ways. Despite the heartbreak of the NASGW Expo being cancelled, your association is going to be just fine. We’ve got a great group of leaders who’ve been smart in the ways they’ve protected the organization for challenges such as these. And to cap it all off, we’re already hard at work on our show for Columbus, Ohio, in October of 2021. We have great expectations and high hopes of seeing you all there.

In this world of chaos and over medication from social media, it’s clearly hard to stay focused on the things that really matter. But like the leaves of Fall, this year and all the nonsense that came with it, will blow away. Soon we’ll welcome a change to this “season” too, so we can all get back to doing what we do… connecting, gathering, working on business deals, breaking bread and sharing our friendship and our affinity for this industry – together.

I know that like me, many of you will be hitting the hunting fields in the coming weeks. I hope you all come home with whatever your version of a trophy might be. But more important, I hope you all come home with peace, satisfaction, and stories and memories that will last far longer than any trophy ever would.

Finally, before I sign off, I want to encourage you all to make sure you vote on November 3. It’s a critical time for our industry and our nation. As we’ve seen all too often in recent elections, every vote really does matter. Please, get out and vote. (And bring some friends!)


Until next time,

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Kenyon Gleason
NASGW President

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