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Plot Twist!
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1/30/2020 at 8:10:40 PM GMT
Posts: 23
Plot Twist!

They say that when change comes, the healthiest thing you can do is yell, “Plot Twist” and move forward to explore that new path forward. This might be easier when the path forward is already defined and neatly set before you. It’s binary… you take the step forward or you do not. But that is seldom the case. What happens when any path is possible and it’s up to each of us to carve it? Now we have a three-dimensional puzzle and endless possibilities: scary stuff!

As many men and women my age are likely to do, I’ve spent a lot of the past couple years thinking about what the next chapter in my life should look like. What do I want to be when I grow up? What will be my next, and final career? Like many of you, I’ve been looking for the way to make a difference and have an impact. What do I want my legacy to represent? Every life should have meaning and purpose. How does a person do that and still pay the bills?

Some of you may know that I joined the ranks of many others this week, when the career I’ve pursued for 35 years took a twist. After 22 years, the same employer that promoted me many times, used me on critical, complex efforts, offered pay increases and bonuses with regularity, and treated me like a respected team member decided that my contributions were no longer needed and my experience and services no longer worth their investment. It all ended with an abrupt walk to the front lobby, beyond the secured doors of the place I once called home. As I hugged the human resources representative whose job it was to get me gone quickly and quietly, I found myself hurriedly dropping last words of advice, asking for care for those who reported to me, asking for leadership concerns to be addressed to eliminate risk to the company. I was still doing my job, even as it was taken from me.

I’m sure many of you can relate. The outpouring of support from membership has been inspiring. Real teamwork makes itself known in the ‘you can do it’ cheers that have been so abundantly offered. The text messages, phone calls, emails, and digital messages warm my heart. The shared wisdom from those who have walked this path offers encouragement, direction, and reinforcement of my belief that together, we are a powerful force. In an industry and society that sometimes makes us feel as if we’re unworthy and insignificant, through IAIP we show that we are unstoppable, undeniable, and a powerful menagerie of wisdom and experience.

I find myself with a familiar challenge, faced by IAIP, by many of its members, and now me, in trying to define what I should be when I grow up. The path before me has not been defined, and it’s not binary. I can and must carve that path and ensure it will lead me to a destination I really want to achieve. Falling back on existing knowledge, industry experience, previous professional roles and patterns is an easy course. But, also before me are the more challenging and risky: coaching in areas where there is expertise but not a client, writing on subjects that are profoundly important but no established audience, teaching when there is no student, working where there is no income. Following a predefined course can allow a fast, streamlined journey to a destination that has already been defined. Carving a new path to a new destination, from nothing and with nothing presents great risk, but carries the potential for enormous reward. So many of you have done this so well, before me.

I don’t yet know where this journey is going to take me. At the end of this life I don’t yet know what my legacy will be, my purpose, my ultimate value. But the one thing I do know is that IAIP members will have helped me to get there, cheered me on, provided me education, professional development, confidence, inspiration, and many worthy examples. In grace each of you has walked, and now I will follow. I lean on your strength, your courage, your confidence, and I am proud and honored to call you my friends and my team. Whether it’s our careers, the plot twists that life throws at us, or the future of our industry and our association, I know that with you walking beside me, we can define our future, carve our path, walk our truth, and leave our legacy. Thank you for sharing this journey and for the strength and support you so generously give along the way!

Cindy J. Prud'homme, AINS, CPIA, CIIP, CLP
International President 2019-2020
Home Email:
Cell: 810-282-7089

Last edited Thursday, January 30, 2020
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