Having a vision of how you believe the chapter should serve its members – and being able to share this vision with others – make being a President easier. For instance, I worked my year as President around making sure we did all the activities required to earn a Community Achievement award – and we did; we won a Community of Excellence award. The trick was being organized (or having a super volunteer who can keep the process organized) but, most importantly, having a great team of members, volunteers and long-term members who know how the chapter runs best. I didn’t come up with that idea on my own… there is a community handbook that clearly spells out what you need to have accomplished in order to earn the award. Attending Leadership Day at the annual Summit also helps motivate and inspire! I felt as if I were a steward more than a captain: because, just as in most organizations, there isn’t too much room for grandstanding or taking all the credit. It’s a collaborative effort.
After your term as President, you get to sit back and support the people who have helped you so much step to the forefront of the organization. If you are lucky, you’ve had a great VP who is now eager to take over the reins. It might be hard at first letting go, but you have likely earned the right to put your feet up and let others develop their skills and experience.
That network I knew I needed developed through this process; I’ve worked more than 5 contracts over those 3 years which have kept me busy. The network really delivered early this year when no fewer than 4 job opportunities came to me without my lifting a finger (ok, I had to press the “answer” button on my phone). Really, keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date and highlighting the skills you developed – even as a volunteer – is paramount. Ignoring this useful tool is like committing career suicide as many recruiters use LinkedIn to find potential candidates. LinkedIn has wonderful communities rife with discussions about industry standards and practices, job postings, research and trends. It’s the best way to keep current in your profession.
Please consider volunteering this year for the Vice President position. You might not be in exactly the same place as I was three years ago but there are few among us who wouldn’t benefit from learning more about leading an organization, participating in the local chapter of our professional organization, and having many laughs along the way with your peers and mentors in this profession of technical communication.
For more information or to submit your name to the nomination committee, contact the Volunteer Coordinator.