Keynote speaker Paul Vitale talked to East Texas nonprofit leaders about the
importance of optimism and resilience at the Bright Ideas Conference, hosted
by the United Way of Smith County's Nonprofit Development Center on Friday.
"To all the decision makers in here: thank you," Vitale said. "Thank you very much for what you do to help others. I say that with all sincerity, because I know we all get frustrated and tired. And if you don't do this work, who will?"
The all-day conference included sessions on fundraising, leadership and nonprofit governance, volunteer management, organizational effectiveness, public relations and social media.
At the awards luncheon, the organization gave three awards recognizing contribution to the nonprofit sector in the community.
The Founders Award was presented to Fourth Partner, for its part in establishing the Nonprofit Development Center and "fostering excellence in nonprofits," said United Way board chairman and former mayor, Joey Seeber.
Brookshire Grocery Company was awarded the Corporate Citizen Award, for its efforts to "embody charity as part of their corporate mission."
Marilyn Abegg received the Chairman's Award for her "visionary leadership of the nonprofit development center's advisory committee and leadership council since 2006."
Nan Moore, executive director of the United Way of Smith County, said event organizers decided on Vitale as a speaker because of his emphasis on the power of the individual, which they wanted to be a theme for the conference.
"His messages -- "Energize the Enthusiasm that Exists Within" and "It's Your Life, Dominate It" -- really do focus on the individuals in the nonprofits," she said. "He talks about taking care of yourself so you can take care of others, which is so important for these leaders."
Vitale encouraged the leaders who attended, while at the same time, challenging them to be better.
"At times doubts, fears and self-limiting thoughts will enter your mind," he said. "When this occurs, realize we all deal with dark shadows from time to time. Stay true to your beliefs, all while giving yourself permission to succeed."
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