Today I write my last President’s Message. I am grateful and honored to move forward as a past president of PPA. I am overwhelmed by the incredible support I’ve been so generously given over the years, particularly in these past 12 months. Thanks to all the PPA affiliates that invited me to be a part of your events, to PPA Council for allowing me to serve our association, to PPA staff for being the most patient and wonderful people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with, and to the Board of Directors, with whom I’m honored to serve. Each of the PPA members who volunteers to serve on the Board and every PPA senior staff member gives 100% to making this the greatest association in the world. I think—no, I know—what has always attracted me to PPA is that, just like many of us with our art, lives, and businesses, PPA is all in.
All in can be a scary idea because it means putting all your faith, energy, fortitude, and hope into something. The amazing photographers and small business owners I serve with on the Board, plus PPA staff, are all in for the members of PPA, including our generous industry sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers. I admire this all-in attitude in people and businesses, and I recognized it in PPA over two decades ago. It’s incredibly special to find in an organization, especially one as large as PPA. As someone raised by strong women and encouraged to put my heart and energy fully into my pursuits, I admire PPA’s all-in attitude.
Being all in doesn’t mean showing up when it’s easy or making appearances for the applause. It means showing up for all of it—the successes, the defeats, the easy work, and the laborious tasks. I remember a late-night talk show host once sharing what it means to be all in: Being all in means going to your fourth-grade year-end banquet at a small Catholic elementary school, winning several academic awards, celebrating with sheet cake and punch, and then sticking around with family to pick up the chairs and clear the cafeteria for the eighth-grade basketball game the next morning. Being all in means being around for the awards and also the cleanup.
The concept of all in has been a mainstay in my life. It’s helped me in my marriage, other relationships, raising my children, owning a small business, and being a volunteer. Sometimes it’s easier to be halfway listening, trying, giving, working. But if you find the energy to give fully, the returns are much sweeter.
One of my favorite quotes comes from author Nikki Banas: “It doesn’t matter what exactly you choose to do with your beautiful life, but I hope that whatever you choose, you go all in. I hope that you give it everything you’ve got, every single day. I hope that you’re not afraid to dig deep within yourself as you chase your dreams. And I hope that you chase them with as much passion and boldness as you possibly can. I hope you pour your entire heart into them and go to bed each night so proud of yourself because you knew you gave it everything you had … . My beautiful friend, I hope you’re not afraid to go all in with your one beautiful life.”
I must also thank the most important people in my world: my family as well as my business partner, Jamie Hayes. They have held my hand the entire way. A special shoutout to my mom, since she’s the one who encouraged me to do this from the very beginning. Thank you, Daryl, Alex, Jax, Mom, Andee, and Jamie. I could not have done it without you.
Mary Fisk-Taylor is the co-owner of Hayes & Fisk Photography in Richmond, Virginia.