Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Travel and the Independent Educational Consultant

“No sweetie, really, it’s actually colder here!”

That was part of the phone call I had with my 12 year old daughter, when I called her from Newport Beach, CA last week. I had to laugh about it; I had left ME, where one expects it to be cold in the fall, and landed in a cold, wet, and I dare say dreary, southern CA. I know I shouldn’t complain, as IEC’s we do travel to some pretty remarkable places, and yes there are certain perks to the number of miles we fly (no checked bag fee, yeah!) But still… Rain? In Southern CA? Really?

Because of the amount of time we as Independent Educational Consultants spend on the road visiting schools, programs and clients; sometimes I think we get a bit jaded, overwhelmed, and well just plain old tired. After all, to maintain our membership in good standing with IECA, we have to visit programs and schools constantly, and in a busy year we can - when you figure that for those of us in the therapeutic world many of the programs are quite remote - sometimes be out of the office for a week and only have the chance to visit a few programs.

With that knowledge, when I kept hearing about School Connections and the opportunity it presented of meeting one on one with up to 30 school representatives, coupled with the fact that I had only heard great things about it, and the fact that this fall’s offering was in an area near a few programs I wanted to visit, it didn’t take a lot of convincing to get me to go.

After a day and a half of 20+ 25 minute meetings with program representatives, I can honestly say SC is a wonderful opportunity for seasoned IEC’s to complement the visits they do as members of IECA. I found the time flew by, and after every meeting I came away with a new idea/fact/nugget about each program. Many of the programs I had visited, and this time together gave us uninterrupted time to get caught up on new initiatives etc. As for the programs I hadn’t visited, or didn’t know, they were able to give me enough information to entice me to visit so I could make a true assessment after a site visit. O.K. I’ll admit it; it didn’t take a lot of convincing to get me to say I’ll visit the Hawaii programs!

As usual during my travels, I had a brutal schedule filled with meetings, clients, phone calls, etc from breakfast through dinner, and as usual I ended the trip with that odd mixture IEC’s often have of feeling simultaneously utterly exhausted and energized. I’ve only been back for 3 days, and I am already looking forward to meeting up with some new found friends at the IECA Conference in Dallas next month, and, oh, maybe I need to book that trip to Hawaii, I hear the rainy season is almost over!