Dear Mr. Mark Dorsey, Executive Director and CEO of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI),
Please allow me to formally introduce myself. My name is Cherise Lakeside (CSI, CDT) also known among some of our members as the CSI Kraken.
I would like to welcome you on this, your first official day at CSI, to our family.
This is a love letter.
While this October 31st will mark my 4th anniversary in CSI, it feels like I have been part of the CSI family for a lifetime. While work and family obligations early in my career prevented me from having the time for CSI, I was spoon fed in this business by a well-respected Architect and charter member of the Portland Chapter of CSI. I may not have been a member but I have always done my work according to CSI standards and principles.
I finally had the time and space in my life to join this organization four years ago. That is when I fell in love.
While I joined to pole vault my career, get caught up and network with my peers – I didn’t anticipate gaining a family. Outside of my “real” family, this organization has become just that for me. I have never met a more outstanding group of collaborative, kind, smart, funny and experienced professionals in one place in my entire career. What started as an adventure in learning eventually became my professional home.
But that is not really the point of this letter.
Times have changed and our industry is changing at rates of speed that I have never seen before. CSI needs to be changing with it and, sadly, we are not doing that fast enough. CSI has faced some challenges and will continue to face them with the changing of the guard as people adjust to new faces, procedures and ideas.
This organization has an opportunity to step up our game and get up to speed. Take it to the next level. Go big or go home. We have amazing people, multi-faceted education and solid standards but we need to grow. That time is now.
Change, if we are brave enough to make it, can hurt for a while but reap great rewards in the long run. We need to embrace our young professionals and get them involved from the top down. We need to solidify our standards and get them accredited. We need to communicate better and be more consistent with our message. We need to spread our message (CSI is the best kept secret in the industry – that is just wrong).
Regardless of our challenges as things change at the speed of light, I still firmly believe this is the very best organization out there for any AEC professional and I am ready and willing to stand up, raise my hand and help it grow. I will challenge other CSI Members and Krakens alike to do the same.
My challenge for you is to ask you to lead the way, listen to your members (not just the ones at the top) and help this organization be indisputably number one.
I would hate to lose my love!