Happy New Year! I hope you had a rewarding and refreshing holiday season. I am excited, honored, and humbled to be your President and want to thank the many ASIS leaders who mentored me over the years and helped shape my career path, as well as deeply influenced my leadership and management skills. On that note, I would like to share some thoughts with you on professional and leadership development.

The start of a new year is traditionally a time of reflection and renewal. It is an ideal opportunity to reevaluate professional goals and plan concrete steps toward achieving them. I encourage you to pause and assess where you are today and where you want to be by the end of 2014. Not sure where to begin? Here are some tips that have worked well for me.

Nurture your network.

Having a strong network is an essential part of a successful career. But maintaining it takes effort. It's easy to add someone on LinkedIn and then forget about him or her. Resolve to follow up with those you meet at conferences and chapter meetings. Be flexible with how you do this. It could range from recurring meetups for coffee or lunch to simple phone calls or email. Remember, your network is worth as much as you are willing to put into it.

Commit to learn something new.

Education does not end when you’ve earned a degree or certification. The most successful people I know have made learning a lifelong commitment. Lifelong learning is a critical element of being a successful leader. Whether you sign up for a chapter event, devote a few days for a comprehensive professional development class, or set aside time at your desk for a webinar or Ted Talk, you’ll find ongoing education and professional development to be one of the most satisfying resolutions to keep.

Help others.

There are a number of ways to give back to the profession. You can help find speakers for your chapter meetings or serve on an ad-hoc committee. Are you a seasoned practitioner? Why not offer to serve as a mentor for the Women in Security and Young Professionals initiatives. No matter where you reside, you can share your expertise by drafting Foundation CRISP Reports, serving on a Standards and Guidelines Committee, joining one of our 29 councils, or participating in one of the ASIS LinkedIn groups. I can personally attest that volunteer service is personally and professionally rewarding. Some of my deepest professional relationships are with members I met through volunteer activities.

Embrace innovation.

The phrase “doing more with less" may be overused, but the challenge of meeting your organization’s expectations with declining budgets continues to be a reality for many practitioners. It is essential that you understand the business needs of your organization and can articulate how security contributes to the bottom line. In the months ahead, ASIS will roll out tools and resources to help practitioners measure what matters and demonstrate the ROI of security programs.

In addition, our relationship with (ISC) 2 helps members connect and learn best practices from their IT security counterparts. As mobile devices continue to proliferate and cyber challenges grow in scale each year, collaboration between these functions will only continue to grow.

Developing a list of career goals should be a priority for all professionals. With planning and a healthy dose of persistence, you’ll position yourself for even greater success.

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank 2013 President and now Chairman of the Board, Geoff Craighead, CPP, and all the volunteer leaders, for ably guiding ASIS this past year.

Let's embrace 2014 for all its possibilities and agree to tackle challenges together with a unified voice. I look forward to serving as your president this year and I will be relying upon each of you for input and advice as we move forward. My best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year.