NAFA CEO Phillip E. Russo, CAE: Creating Rooms For Everyone in NAFA’s House

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Release date: 7/5/2018

“My Father’s house has many rooms.”

“All are welcome!”

“Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.”

“Be part of something bigger than yourself.”

One of the greatest attributes of NAFA, and certainly one of the highest-valued benefits of membership, is the sense of community one feels when interacting with members – and the quotes above symbolize our drive and need for “belonging.”

Despite that sense of belonging to a larger community, members in each specific segment of the fleet profession -- corporate, government, public safety, utility, university, and even suppliers -- want and expect information specific to their segment.  In fact, in a recent survey we conducted, we were told very clearly that foundational “best practices” are important, and can cut across multiple segments, but there is a need for supplemental information to bring more specificity to each segment and add value for them.

NAFA’s Board of Directors recognizes the importance of this sense of community, as well as the critical nature of having segment-specific content. That is why the Board has developed goals and approved plans that will ensure NAFA continues to be the most relevant and thriving source for peer interaction and valuable segment-specific information. Last month, the Board began putting in motion a progressive initiative that will make sure this happens.

NAFA’s “Communities 2019” initiative will provide valuable segment-specific programs and content, while facilitating greater input from and communication with the various critical segments of the fleet market. In addition, this “communities” platform will open the doors for more members to get involved in the Association and develop a deeper engagement. After all, we want all of you to be part of the NAFA family for a lifetime!

Based on NAFA’s membership data and other relevant information, the first communities to be formed, with an expected launch date of April 2019, will be:

  • ·         Associate Member Community
  • ·         Corporate Fleet Community
  • ·         Educational/University Fleet Community
  • ·         Government Fleet Community
  • ·         Multi-National Fleet Community
  • ·         Public Safety Fleet Community
  • ·         Utility & Telecomm Fleet Community 

The basic premise is that each community will be a 24/7/365 forum for individuals to present issues, questions, concerns, solutions, best practices, innovations, etc., related to their specific community.  In addition, NAFA will “seed” each community with content relevant to the community’s needs.  Just as important, each community will serve as a sounding board to provide feedback, information, and direction to the NAFA Board of Directors. 

I presented details of this initiative to the leaders of NAFA’s chapters and national committees at last month’s Leadership Forum in Dallas. The response was overwhelmingly positive, especially when the volunteers rolled up their sleeves and began brainstorming programs and content they would like to see developed for each community.

The idea of creating content for -- and giving voice to -- specific member segments is in line with NAFA’s long-standing ideology of being inclusive to every fleet sector. NAFA is uniquely positioned to serve the broadest and deepest fleet audience, as no other fleet association or organization has the diversity and quantity of fleet professionals as NAFA, nor the resources NAFA has to accomplish this initiative. 

Over the next few months, we will be building a new database to serve as the platform from which these communities will be run. We have also added new staff and shifted work responsibilities to ensure this initiative gets the attention and resources it deserves. 

We anticipate opening enrollment to the communities at next year’s annual conference in Louisville.  Between now and then, we will be sharing more information about the communities initiative in this newsletter, on NAFA’s social media outlets, and in direct emails to all members. As always, though, please feel free to reach out to me whenever you have questions or comments.

I hope you have a fun, relaxing, summer!




P.S.  Another aspect of this initiative will streamline and improve NAFA’s national committee structure.  Right now, NAFA has 21 committees and/or councils, with the majority of volunteers on these committees being from public service/government fleets. This new communities initiative mandates that every committee have at least one representative from each of the community segments. This will ensure each community’s voice is heard when we’re developing such important programs as the I&E sessions, CAFM program content, and articles for FLEETSolutions magazine.