It’s been a busy time for me. First of all I went to the annual general meeting of the National Association of Friendship Centers in Vancouver. A great place, nice to visit and recommended for all. The meeting was great and at the same time the Aboriginal Youth Councils were meeting. All this meant there was a great many people who showed up. Since the Delta hotel chain in Vancouver was on strike it led to a few problems. Seems there’s a staff to sleepover-client ratio that has to be respected since it was the law.

As a result I was standing in line waiting to check-in when I hear they’re turning away people who had made reservations. I’m praying at this point to get in. No problems and it wasn’t due to any of my sweet talking but good planning. The good planning of the Friendship Centers Executive Director Ida. She had secured my room before the cutoff point had been reached. I was safe. I watched as she charmed the staff and made sure that fresh towels and such were on hand. The only thing I had to do was make my own bed. No bad, not bad at all. It gave me yet more appreciation for her work to see she even took care of the small details.

Truly the least appreciated people, at times, in any organization, are the executive directors, office managers or other middle to upper management types. They are seen as the red tape perpetuators and as holding on to power as a miser hoards gold. To be fair some of the bureaucratic ilk are like that but others aren’t.

They are the focal point of any problems and thus take the heat while others such as myself (in the case of the Friendship Center) manage to escape relatively unscathed.

In this case I shouldn’t have worried at all.

Congrats and kudos to our local boy made good, the new National Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come from all the Nation staff. I noticed Coon Come managed to snag Bill Namagoose as his intern executive director for the AFN. Namagoose, as most of you, know is the executive director of the Grand Council of the Crees. Everyone at that office is hoping he’ll be back soon. Coon Come is probably hoping along different lines. He, like others in his position, knows the executive directors, office managers and management types are important components of any organization. As a leader you can have the vision of where you want to go but you need some paddlers and people to get things organized for the trip. The organizers are the ones who make the trip an easy one or a living hell as you watch things fall apart.

That’s why we should always try to protect the good ones as they are few and far between. That’s why there are headhunters out there scouring organizations for the best. But any headhunter comes around my executive director or office manager should know what Billy Diamond used to say, “all my hunters are armed!”