The passing of the gavel ceremony took place at the Palm Springs regional on December 14. Outgoing President Bill Cook presented the gavel to 2014 ACBL President Phyllis Harlan.

Harlan will travel extensively when she starts her term as president on Jan. 1, and she has messages she wants to take to the ACBL membership at large.

“I believe strongly that our growth comes from clubs and teachers,” she says. “I want to learn their best practices and share their successes with other clubs and teachers to help them do their jobs in the best possible way.”

Harlan also plans to come up with ways of recognizing the contributions and hard work of ACBL’s tournament directors. “I want to show the directors that we appreciate them,” she says.

It’s also important, she says, to make sure everyone who plays bridge has a good time, regardless of expertise or experience. “I feel strongly about the social aspects of bridge,” she says. “I want to bring back fun and prove that we are truly an extended family.”

Harlan believes the future of the game is bright and that the ACBL is good hands with current management. “We have an excellent CEO,” she says of Robert Hartman, “and a fantastic staff. They are really service oriented.”

Also at the tournament, ACBL Charity Foundation trustees Phyllis Harlan and Bonnie Bagley were on hand to present Esperanca with a $24,000 grant. Esperanca is a philanthropic organization of orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses that work pro bono in third world countries healing those with no health care or operating equipment.