Tuesday, May 31, 2011

~AMI National Convention 2011~

Motherhood was definitely elevated during the 2011 American Mother's National Convention held at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah. Nearly 400 American Mother's from across the United States and Puerto Rico gathered to unite in the common cause of elevating motherhood.

Utah's AMI National Convention planning committee members welcomed mothers to our state with rather chilly temperatures (including a little snow), but with warm hearts. Utah's Governor Gary Herbert also extended a warm welcome to each mother noting that Utah is a state that promotes family values. He said Utah is the second fastest growing state in America due to the good people who live there but more specifically because of the good mothers who live there.

The convention was packed solid each day from early morning to evening with everything from state delegates voting on the new 2011 Board of Directors, the announcement of the winners of the National Cultural Arts Competition as well the 5th grade essay contest, to the announcement of a memorial garden and bench that will be constructed in honor of mothers everywhere in the city of Orem made possible as an Eagle Scout project.

One of the highlights of the convention was the outstanding workshops featuring many popular and sought after speakers to help mothers feel uplifted and elevated with new ideas. The morning presenters included Heartbound, a popular singing group, Randi Escobar, a financial expert, Lili Anderson, a relationship expert, along with an Internet safety panel moderated by John Gunter. The afternoon presenters included Matt Townsend, a popular relationship expert, Don Aslett, a well known house cleaning expert, Darol Wagstaff, a motivational speaker, Hilary Weeks, a popular entertainer, and Diane Callister, 2010 National Young Mother of the Year with Shari Carlstrom. There was also a panel of bloggers including Sandy Sponaugle, Sheri Carlstrom, Courtney Kendrick and Kelly Anderson, the Start Up Princess, who answered questions.

Of course, one of the most anticipated parts of the convention was the announcement of the new 2011 National Mother and Young Mother of the Year. The new National Mother of the Year was announced at the Gala Banquet after a beautiful processional of state mothers from across the nation were escorted by candlelight. Utah was wonderfully represented by Sally Olsen as the Mother of the Year and Emi Dalton as the Young Mother of the Year. The mother selected as the 2011 National Mother of the Year was Ernestine Allen from the Washington DC/Metro area. Keynote speaker for the evening was Sheri Dew, CEO of Deseret Book. The new National Young Mother was announced at a banquet the previous night. Shawni Eyre Pothier from the state of Arizona was selected as the 2011 National Young Mother of the Year. Keynote speaker for that banquet was John Gray, renowned author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.

Other great happenings included listening to the Mother of the Year and Young Mother of the Year speeches, leadership training, a memorial breakfast honoring 28 mothers, general business meetings, men's booster activities, an interfaith devotional, a wonderful boutique and vendors, fabulous meals, keynote luncheon speaker John Bytheway, a Rocky Mountain Roundup BBQ and Bus Tour at Heritage Pioneer Park, and culminating the entire event was a special VIP invitation to attend the broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with a special private gathering after.

A new national board was installed and National President Deanne Taylor turned over her duties to Connell Branan who will now lead the organization as National President.

The convention was a success in every way imaginable. Many thanks to the convention committee and chair Claudene Gordon, who tirelessly planned and spent many many hours to insure it would come off without a hitch. It was an awesome task to undertake, but it came together more beautifully than anyone ever could have envisioned. Everyone involved rose to the occasion to make sure every mother in attendance was uplifted and elevated ...

Beautiful Salt Lake City (you may click photos to enlarge)

Young Mother State Representatives

Mother's about to be "elevated".

Some workshop presenters.

UP with Motherhood luncheon.

Young Mother of the Year banquet with John Gray as keynote speaker.

Utah's 2011 Young Mother of the Year Emi Dalton with husband Steve as escort.

Shawni Eyre Pothier was named the 2011 National Young Mother of the Year from the state of Arizona.

Gala Banquet beautifully decorated.

Utah's 2011 Mother of the Year Sally Olsen with Richard Gordon as escort.

Ernestine Allen was named the 2011 National Mother of the Year from the Washington DC/Metro area.

National President Deanne Taylor presenting gifts to Ernestine.

Mom's just wanna have fun!

Sheri Dew keynoting Gala banquet. Her speech was amazing. She received the only standing ovation at convention. There is a link at the bottom of this post to excerpts from it.

A special VIP invitation to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was extended to all convention attendees.

A few Convention Planning Committee members with Sheri Dew.

Whew! We survived!

Lots of fun was had by all!

The National Convention Planning Committee

Thanks ladies for elevating mothers across America!

Links to other stories about convention:

Insights with Jon Du Pre TV interview from BYU: Mothers of the Year

LDS Living Magazine ~ LDS Women Among National Honored Nominees

Deseret News Article ~ Utah Hosts National Celebration of Motherhood

Deseret News Article ~ Latter-day Saint Named National Mother of the Year

Key Points from Sheri Dew's Speech at Saturday's Gala (where the National Mother of the Year, Ernestine Allen, was announced), titled: The Influence of Mothers

Posts from Andrea, State President of American Mothers in Texas:
Gems from the Mother of the Year Speeches

A few highlights from the Young Mother of the Year speeches:
Summary of Young Mother Speeches

Shawni Pothier's reaction to being announced as National Young Mother of the Year from her blog 71 Toes:
"My Weekend"
Shawni's 3 minute speech she gave at National convention
Shawni's Speech

Linda Eyre's article in Deseret News column about her daugher Shawni being named National Young Mother of the Year : "Whiney, Worried Child Becomes National Mother of the Year"