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International Board Experiences Iowa During Strategic Planning Retreat

November 21, 2012

The Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) board of directors gathered from around the world for a strategic planning retreat October 2?4, 2012, at AICI International Headquarters, located at the offices of Association Management Ltd. (AML) in Ankeny, Iowa, USA.

Board members invested personally in being able to meet face-to-face as they traveled from the United States, Canada, The Netherlands, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.

AICI President Kimberly Law, AICI CIP, of Vancouver, Canada, notes, "AICI is the largest image consulting industry association in the world with members in 57 countries. One of the primary topics of discussion was on how to increase our global reach, and bring more credibility to our industry." She went on to say, "The AICI Board of Directors is made up of 14 members from around the world. Generally we meet by phone once a month for board meetings and only see each other face-to-face at AICI?s Annual International Conference. It has been really nice holding our strategic planning meeting at AICI headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. This has given us the opportunity to plan our strategic direction more effectively and attend to the ongoing business of our organization face-to-face. Des Moines is a beautiful city and the hospitality has been wonderful."

The agenda included a review of the function of the AICI board and chapters, the AICI certification process and feedback regarding the AICI Annual Conference. Directors discussed plans to update the AICI website and member publications.

Throughout their discussion, Vice President of Member Communications Magoe Johnson, AICI CIP, from Houston, Texas, says, "We feel accountability to our members and we are here to make the best decisions to represent them."
Among the key topics was giving more autonomy to AICI's 26 global chapters.

Valerie Antoinette Berset-Price, AICI FLC, from Beaverton, Oregon, who serves as AICI Vice President of International Relations, reports, "A great breakthrough was the development of a new model for our organization's global structure, decentralizing the power and regionalizing it. Previously, AICI was international in that we accepted members and have had 28 chapters all over the world. Now we are going to be truly global by giving independence to the regions, which will have their own hub, starting with Latin America, which will include Mexico to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, South America."

Members of the group found inspiration from the professional discussion.

Brian Lipstein, AICI FLC, Vice President of Conference, said, "This meeting reinforced what it means to be part of this profession. Being an image consultant is a lead-in to conversation with clients. I started making custom suits for men, but got into assisting men with their whole image, to help them in accomplish their goals by how they present themselves.

"AICI relationships have helped shape my business, which was in its infancy when I joined. This organization has taught me skills, including how to work with clients. It is exciting to be part of this meeting, involved in the decision making to help AICI move forward. We've had a productive meeting and brought about new initiatives to grow our organization globally, which will help us, all our members and our industry."

Vice President Education Christina Ong, AICI CIM, from Singapore calls it 'empowering' to be part of the AICI board of professionals who volunteer their time out of their passion.

"This board is truly a melting pot as each of us brings our unique experience from our own country and clients," she says. "We sharpen and define our own thinking by being with likeminded peers in a synergistic hothouse. The result is more than the sum of all our individual parts."

In addition to AICI business, the visitors had the opportunity to experience Iowa.

The group was treated to a number of unique Iowa experiences, including culinary delights at several fine restaurants and shopping at Valley Junction and Jordan Creek Mall.

Membership Vice President Jane Seaman, AICI CIP, of Houston, Texas, was "super impressed by the art and culture of the World Food Prize Center in downtown Des Moines."

But the highlight was a visit to an Iowa farm where they experienced harvest firsthand, including rides in a combine and tractor.

"Having been on a farm gives us a fresh appreciation for what goes into the food we eat," Johnson says.

Ong said, "Being the only AICI Board member from Asia, this was a good cultural exchange experience. Coming from the 'garden city' of Singapore with manicured landscapes, Iowa is so different from our modern city with high rise buildings and bustling crowds everywhere. Seeing Iowa's vast land expanse is awesome. I emailed home with an observation that even amidst the old world charm of Iowa's historic buildings, farmers have state of the art technology in their huge combine-harvester machines - complete with hydraulic hauls, air conditioning and music ?. how cool is that!?

About AICI: The Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) is a global organization that sets and promotes the highest professional standards for image consultants in appearance, behavior and communications. Learn more about AICI at

For more information contact:
Kimberly Law
AICI International President
Association of Image Consultants International
Phone: 604-298-7228
Cell: 604-626-3907

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