My Workspace: Aloha Spirit

By: Julie Shoop

How Christina Garneski's good turn came back to her in a bottle.

They say what goes around comes around, and for Christina Garneski, FASAE, CAE, it was a little bit of paradise.

"I like to fill my office with memories—photos, souvenirs, that sort of thing. One of those memories in particular has an interesting story," she says.

Garneski, director of marketing and communications for the National Parking Association (NPA), honeymooned on the Hawaiian island of Molokai with her husband, Tim, in 2006, when she was working for the Institute of Transportation Engineers. While on a tour of the remote Kalaupapa peninsula, "to our great surprise we ran into an ITE member and his wife," she says.

The couple asked a favor: Since they would not be able to visit the beach at Kalaupapa, they asked Garneski and her husband to collect a sample of its famous black sand for them to take home.

Garneski obliged, and several weeks after the trip, a bit of the same sand— bottled and sent as a thank-you from the member—arrived on her desk at ITE, where it remained for seven years. The Kalaupapa sand continued its travels this spring, when it moved a much shorter distance to Garneski's new office at NPA.

She remembers the chance meeting with ITE colleagues in a remote place as an unexpected bonus of the trip. "We ended up being booked on a waterfall tour with them, as well, and shared a couple of dinners," she says. "It is by far my favorite ITE memory."

Julie Shoop is VP/editor-in-chief of Associations Now in Washington, DC. Email: [email protected]

Photo credit: Christina Garneski

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Julie Shoop

Julie Shoop

Julie Shoop is editor-in-chief of Associations Now in Washington, DC.