Road Trip: Blue Jays, Golf History and Blue Hens

Last week I drove my daughter from our home in southwest Virginia to Maryland’s Eastern Shore to visit a friend. My plan was to visit some clients and writer/author friends during my daughter’s visit. Then I would pick her up on Friday and drive home.

My first stop was Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, known on the athletic field as the Blue Jays. I met with clients who work in the Annual Fund department, for which I write fundraising appeals and other development communications. They recently moved into a new facility on the western edge of campus. After a brief tour, we had lunch at a nearby commons area.

The following day I was in Far Hills, New Jersey, to tour the new Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History at the United States Golf Association (USGA). I met up with an author friend who lives in New York City. If you have more than a casual interest in golf, I highly recommend a stop at the USGA if you’re in the area.

That evening I had dinner with a friend who is an investigative reporter for the New York Times. He told me about some of the big stories he was working on, and then swore me to secrecy.

The Blue Hens are the mascot of the University of Delaware, where I paid a visit to the new annual fund director who was formerly at Johns Hopkins. She told me all about her new post and gave me a quick fundraising history of the university. I plan to return to meet one of her colleagues before the year is out.

The trip reminded me of the obvious: It’s always good to meet with clients and fellow professionals face to face, even if you need to log 1300 miles, my total mileage for the six days away from home. It may not be absolutely necessary in this day and age of e-mail and e-conferencing, but it’s invaluable for building and maintaining strong relationships.

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