unnamedFriday I held a special event for the CEOs and visionary leaders within my professional community in Washington, DC. It was an extraordinary affair, though it was not the pomp that made it so. We had plenty to snack on, but the real substance was the people who attended.

In this picture with me from left to right are:
* Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, executive director, The Center for Financial Planning
* Chris McEntee, CEO, American Geophysical Union
* Marla Weston, CEO, American Nurses Association Enterprise
* Kevin Keller, CEO, CFP Board of Standards

These are leaders in associations, both professional societies and trade associations, that are making a difference in our world. Each of them is using their work to make the world a better place and dramatically so. Admittedly, there are selfish motives that are being satisfied, but they are explicit and aligned with the larger goals. These four leaders in particular have dedicated significant time and energy to marshal the resources and face the challenges inherent in such bold aspirations. One CEO even remarked, “It’s a Grand Challenge with the emphasis on challenge!”

Marilyn runs the Center for Financial Planning, which addresses systemic issues facing the financial planning profession including addressing diversity, attracting young people and women, and building a body of knowledge that is recognized by business schools and academic institutions across the country.

Chris runs the Thriving Earth Exchange which creates solutions for the planet, one community at a time, linking local need with scientists and sponsors.

Marla is launching Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ in 2017, which will measurably improve the health of America’s 3.6 million nurses and by extension the rest of the country.

Kevin, helped to launch the Center for Financial Planning mentioned above by working with his board of directors to secure the support and the resources required.

The purpose of our gathering Friday was to look ahead to 2017 and ask what can be done to ensure that we seize the opportunities the year presents us. With these leaders as role models it is clear there is much that can be done to make a powerful difference.

Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.
-Tony Robbins