The Courage and Grace to Embrace Change

The Courage and Grace to Embrace Change

“Change is good. You go first.”

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“Change is good. You go first.”

This was the title of the final session at AAMVA’s 2023 Workshop and Law Institute. The presentation that followed resonated with the audience on many levels, as individuals and as representatives of their agencies and jurisdictions. For me, it also resonated as a quality of the AAMVA community.

We advocate for change, we get excited over change, change scares us, and often we are not sure where or when to take the first step into change. Sometimes we go first and at times we stand back, observing and learning from others while they deploy a new process, product, policy or behavior.

The AAMVA community offers great examples of the courage to change. On any topic or activity, we can count on one or more agencies taking the lead, stepping out front to test a new approach that improves safety, service delivery or system and identity security—sometimes all three. Underlying much of the change is the constant desire to provide top-notch service and save lives.

Symbolic of the AAMVA community is the generosity to share with peers the lessons learned from the experience.

The sharing happens during Chief Administrator and Program Manager calls, regional Chief Administrator roundtables, and in networking or concurrent sessions at meetings and conferences.

When the new initiative, process or policy shows favorable outcomes, the discussions evolve into jurisdiction-to-jurisdiction learning visits. They may also be discussed by AAMVA Standing Committees and Boards of Directors. In some cases, the initiatives or issues become ad hoc committees or working group assignments and a best practice, model legislation or association policy.

In short, the spirit to change combined with a community committed to sharing and learning from each other, with an improvement path in mind, sums up the AAMVA community. Jurisdiction agency representatives, private sector associate members and federal agency partners, together, build a space for change to take place and for individual jurisdictions to go first and help the rest learn, follow and refine.

Through forums like the Workshop and Law Institute, Contact Center Pop-up Classroom, user conferences for the CDL/CDLIS program, NMVTIS, S2S, AAMVA Regional and International conferences and, of course, MOVE Magazine, members leverage opportunities to discuss change and lessons learned. Members have the drive and courage to improve through change and the generosity to provide a safe space where those who went first can recover from the bruises and, ultimately, celebrate the wins.

The adage about going first applies to us as individuals, too, and I am fortunate to be on AAMVA’s doorstep preparing to welcome the association’s new CEO and President when that person is selected. I am excited for the richness of community this person will be stepping into and know that you will give them your support and grace as they introduce change with some wins and some not-wins, just as you have done for me.

Thank you!


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