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I vividly remember the moment I knew I wanted to become an IEC. Standing behind my table during the “swap” at the IECA 2006 Fall Conference in Miami, I was exhausted by the sheer number of questions being asked of myself and the head of the small boarding school where I was serving as the director of admission. Even with two of us, we could hardly handle the conversation stream. Arriving home after that conference, I told my husband about the engaging and thoughtful conversations I had with dozens of independent educational consultants (IECs) who seemed passionate about their profession and cared deeply for the families with whom they were working. I told him that I wanted to be an IEC when I grew up, and two years later, that’s just what I did.

Through membership in IECA, I have developed a significant professional network of colleagues and mentors. I have yet to encounter a situation in which I couldn’t reach out to my IECA peers for guidance and a possible solution. In our profession, continued education and professional development are paramount, and IECA does an excellent job of providing opportunities for newly minted IECs as well as seasoned members. IECA has always been ahead of the curve by staying on top of trends in education, the changing global landscape, and business practices. Working in a field that can sometimes feel isolating, I have always appreciated the opportunities IECA has provided for members to interact both professionally and socially, whether at a conference or during an organized tour. I love that I can now count so many of those same IECs who stopped by my table in 2006—and showed me just where my career could go—as my colleagues and friends.

Kristina L. Dooley, MA, CEP, IECA (OH)