Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Looking ahead with 2011-2012 JLBR President Nancy Dockerty

I recently attended the AJLI Conference for President-Elects and President-Elect-Elects with Jackie Reeves in New Orleans.  True to our mission statement of “ ..improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers,” this conference had some amazing sessions on leadership. One in particular that stood out to me was on Servant Leadership, facilitated by Vicki Clark. Robert Greenleaf coined the term servant leadership in his 1970 essay, titled “The Servant as Leader,” where he describes the servant leader as one who leads by serving others. I thought, “YES that’s it, that’s exactly what a Junior League President does and it’s exactly why I’m thrilled to be the incoming President.  I can do that; I can serve our membership by empowering them to use their talents to accomplish the League’s goals.” People often ask why I want to be a League President and it always seems hard to explain. I’m not a coach, or a cheerleader, or a motivator, but when I learned more about servant leadership, I realized, yep that’s my personality, encouraging others to bring out their best, and when we do that together as volunteers in the League it has a tremendous impact on our community.

The leadership team for the League next year was recently slated and announced at our February Cottage Meetings, and when I looked at the list of names, I was so impressed and inspired.  I think so many of these women have that same skill set; to motivate, encourage and foster a sense of community spirit. As Oprah would say, I had that “aha” moment; that moment when I realized our mission statement isn’t just something pretty hanging on the wall, it’s an attitude that our members embrace fully and the results are in fact that we are “women building a better community.” And we’re doing it by serving the members of our community.  I recently read a quote by Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  I love it, and I think it simplifies what we do as League members, thru volunteerism: “building a better community,” we’re building a better self, and that seems like a win-win to me.


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