Senior Associate Dr. Bob Imholt recently attended two conferences centered on schools within Latin America: the Association of American Schools in South America (AASSA) Governance Conference in Miami, followed by the Tri-Association Educators Conference in Monterrey, Mexico. As Bob’s wife Jennifer is the Senior Associate for Latin America and the organizer of the mid-November, Latin America, Panama job fair, these conferences were a great opportunity to talk with educators about the benefits of a Search Associates (SEARCH) membership.
Having worked in three schools in that region prior to joining SEARCH, Bob had the opportunity to reconnect with many old friends at the Search Associates table in Exhibitors’ Hall, some of whom have never left and some who had left only to return to the region again. Among the highlights of these mini reunions were visits with Tom Shearer, Director of the Office of Overseas Schools (and fellow Washington State resident) and Dr. Michael William, Director of The American School Foundation of Monterrey.
To open the AASSA Governance Conference, Bob had the privilege of introducing Keynote Speaker, longtime International School Head, and now Board Consultant, Rick Detweiler, who was there to help school boards and school heads find ways to work together more effectively. This was an especially gratifying introduction for Bob, having experienced first-hand Rick’s effectiveness as a board trainer when Bob was Head in a school in Africa. Rick’s patience, wit, charm, knowledge, and experience contributed to improving Bob’s school!
Following AASSA Governance, the Tri-Association 38th Annual Educators’ Conference, featured the theme Building the Empathetic School, “an incredibly apt topic for any school stakeholder,” says Bob. Simply put, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. While designed for different participants—leaders at AASSA and educators at Tri-Association—Bob was struck by the common goal of the two conferences. At AASSA Governance, Rick Detweiler focused on helping board members and school heads understand one another’s positions so that they could work together more closely and effectively. At the Tri-Association Educator’s Conference, workshop after workshop revolved around understanding where school leaders, fellow educators, students, and parents were coming from so that one could work effectively with each stakeholder group. Empathy allows us to walk in others’ shoes, giving us insight into what is important to them and why. Without this additional insight, we are just relying on steering the ship in the direction that we think is best. With this insight, we can use the entire crew to complete our shared journey, making it a much more enjoyable trip with the most efficient course setting.
As recruiters, leaders, and consultants to both candidates and schools, the Search Associates team is committed to continuous professional development. In our 30 years of service, attending regional conferences has been a top priority. We want know the latest in education, regional and school wide concerns, and your career trajectory. The more we know, the more we can help.
Jen and Bob hope to see you at the upcoming Panama City Fair in November!