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A Standing Ovation for Nancy Erickson

Monday, November 17, 2014   (0 Comments)
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by Henry Bial, President

(adapted from remarks given at the 2014 Membership Meeting)

At this year’s Membership Meeting in Scottsdale, we thanked and honored our Executive Director Nancy Erickson, who will be leaving ATHE’s employ at the end of 2014. Nancy began working with ATHE in 1995 while with an association management company in Chicago. After a brief interlude between 1997 and 1998, she was hired as an independent contractor to work half-time as the ATHE Administrative Director. Before long, Nancy’s office had become the de facto ATHE headquarters, and we moved with her from Berkeley, CA, to Boulder, Colorado to Downers Grove, IL, and back to Boulder for good in 2005.

Here are some things that have happened since Nancy joined our Association. President Bill Clinton was impeached for allegedly lying about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Seven new countries were admitted to the United Nations, including Kiribati, Tonga, and Montenegro. Internet usage in the US went from 14% to 87%. Cell phone usage went from 12% to 95%. Social media usage went from “that’s not a thing” to “that’s totally a thing!” Since Nancy joined our Association, there have been three new Star Wars movies, four new Batman movies, and Audra McDonald has won five Tony Awards. The current Broadway revival of Chicago has played 7,475 performances, which is almost exactly the number of conference sessions, meetings, performances and workshops that Nancy has programmed for us.

During her tenure with ATHE, Nancy has had a profound influence on the work of our Association, supporting and guiding ten ATHE Presidents, dozens of officers, and hundreds of focus group representatives, conference planners, and other volunteers. Thanks to her vision, energy, and administrative prowess, ATHE is as strong an organization today as it has ever been.

Nancy has been our Stage Manager, first to arrive, last to leave, keeping us on time and organized. She’s been our Agent, negotiating on our behalf. She’s been our Producer, helping assemble all the elements we need to put on our show. She’s been our Dramaturg, helping connect people to one another, to our shared past, and to our imagined future. Reliable and reassuring as a ghost light, Nancy has always been there for us, making sure we don’t fall off the stage.

I hope you’ll join me in congratulating Nancy on a great run, and wishing her “Break a leg” in all her post-ATHE endeavors.

If you’d like to let Nancy how much she’s meant to you personally, you can e-mail her at, or send an old-fashioned thank you card to: Nancy Erickson, 5324 Deer Creek Court, Boulder, CO 80301.

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