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The Courthouse Journal is the official newsletter of the Washington Association of County Officials. Along with a newsletter to members, WACO also hosts the Courthouse Journal blog.

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Aug 02

2022 WACO Annual Conference – Keynote Speaker Announced!

Posted on August 2, 2022 at 8:20 AM by Cella Hyde

“To Make a Difference is just another way of saying, to serve a purpose that you believe in for people you care about. When you know that what you do makes a difference in the world, that's a primary ingredient for authentic happiness.” – Dave Caperton on WACO’s 2022 Conference Theme

We are excited to announce that Dave Caperton, author of Happiness Is a Funny Thing, and 30 Days to a Happier Workplace, will be delivering 2022’s keynote speech: No Small Thing!

Dave’s talks have been requested and lauded by industry leading organizations such as JP Morgan Chase, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Nationwide Insurance, Limited Brands, The Cleveland Clinic, True Value Hardware, NBC Comcast, the FAA, and hundreds of others. His programs are infused with relevance, humor, and transformative takeaways.

In No Small Thing, Dave invites attendees to explore their unreleased gratitude and the importance of every person regardless of their position. He encourages us to not neglect the small things that build relationships and promote personal and professional growth - as granular actions can result in big outcomes, strong connections, and build trust. Most importantly, Dave implores attendees to not forget the impact they make that they may never see.

We had a brief Q&A with Dave earlier this month and he left us with these words of encouragement for WACO members who can often feel far, far away from being able to see the fruits of their labor:

“We've all sat under the shade of trees planted by the hands of those who would never live to enjoy that shade themselves. Every difference we make is an act of faith in the future. We may see that happen or we may not, but when we're putting the right energy into the world with a sense of purpose and compassion and joy, what it yields has to be good.”

Below you can find the rest of the Q&A with Dave Caperton!

Q: What does it mean to you to Make a Difference

A: “Tennis great and early AIDS advocate, Arthur Ashe, was once asked how someone without his fame could make a difference in the world. He said, ‘Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.’ 

To make a difference is simply to effect positive change-big or small- in the part of the world where you live, in this moment. I think too many people think a difference has to be of a certain magnitude or we have to be in a certain level of leadership to be of any real value, but that kind of thinking limits us and can even discourage our efforts to make an impact. 

Research shows that we are more influential and powerful than we might think. Did you know that by sharing kindness and good cheer in our daily communication, we raise the chances for others to experience that same happiness by 15% up to a third degree of separation? That means that your own positivity can make a difference in the daily experience of not just the people with whom you come in direct contact, but the people they interact with and the people those individuals interact with during their day. 

A traffic study published in the Wall Street Journal in 2017 showed that one driver can single-handedly ease a traffic jam by simply making space and generously allowing others to cut in freely. The lesson from these and other findings is simply this, the difference you make doesn't have to be large and it doesn't have to come from a place of power. The smallest granular efforts can change the world regardless of where you are or what you think you have.”

Q: What’s the most surprising thing someone has done for you that made a difference?

A: “I've had so many who have made a difference in my life in the form of encouragement and challenging me to see myself as capable of more than I thought. But my favorite story isn't one that I experienced, it's one that showed how the smallest actions can make an impact on others.

 My wife was a teacher for 30 years. It wasn't unusual for her to receive notes from her students about the difference she had made in their lives, but one day I found her with tears streaming down her face while reading a card. She told me that it was from a student who had recently graduated, and it was a lovely note about how my wife's smile and kind words had gotten this student through her school year at a time when her home life was dysfunctional and toxic. 

The most amazing part was that she never had this young woman in her class. Her entire experience with her had been during moments when the teachers would stand at their doors and talk to the students between bells. But this girl had stumbled into the influence of my wife's smiling energy and warmth. I imagine that first time was like discovering a beam of sunlight on a dark day. And from that day forward she made sure she passed her way. That, she said, was what got her through.”

Q: Is there something that you do in your daily life to try and make a difference for others?

A: “Making a difference for someone else can be intentional and strategic. But it can also be unintentional and organic. The challenge is to make sure that the difference you make is always a good one. While there is no way to ensure that that's always the case, there are some choices that can raise the odds that the difference we make is positive. Here are three rules for making a positive difference starting now: 

1. Escape the me-niverse. The more we focus inward on our own needs and wants and feelings, the less likely we are to make a positive difference for others. 

2. Replace judgement with curiosity. The more we understand about other people, the more we can make a useful difference in their lives. Judging others is easy (and sometimes it seems mostly the point of social media) but it's an obstacle to getting to understanding. 

3. Practice small kindnesses. The kindness we share becomes the stories that others tell, and that story can make an impact in every retelling. 

My mother often told a story about when she was a child and had rheumatic fever. The doctor told my grandmother to take her out into the sun for an hour every clear day to help ease the pain in her joints. One day, a neighbor named Mrs. Gaffney came into the yard and handed my mother a bowl of freshly picked strawberries from her own garden. They were topped with sugar and heavy cream. My mother would tell that story every time we had strawberries and she always said, ‘It was the best thing I ever ate.’

When Mom passed away in 2012, I thought about that story she had told so many times. And it occurred to me that that bowl of strawberries lasted for 79 years. That single act of kindness outlived Mrs. Gaffney. It outlived that little girl who would become my mother. It may outlive me. A story of kindness is a kind of immortality that continues to make a difference each time it is told.”


Dave’s keynote speech, “No Small Thing” will take place as part of the WACO Annual Conference on Wednesday, September 28th from 11:00AM – 12:00PM in-person and streamed through our virtual platform.
 

Register for the WACO Annual Conference here!

 

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Thank you to WACO Annual Conference Sponsor Amerigroup for sponsoring this keynote speech.
 
 
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 Amerigroup Washington is dedicated to providing world-class care and improving the health of Washington communities. Since 2013, Amerigroup has been creating healthier lives together with their members and partners. Amerigroup currently serves over 270,000 individuals receiving Apple Health Medicaid benefits across all 39 Washington State counties. Learn more about Amerigroup here: 
https://www.amerigroup.com/