Home Concepts Concepts of Leadership Community Engagement Senior Sage Leadership: Interview of Barbara Thomas

Senior Sage Leadership: Interview of Barbara Thomas

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8. What is the name of the one organization on the list in which you are most  involved and committed?… Were you invited to become involved or did you approach the organization and volunteer your services? Are you paid or unpaid? On average, how many hours a month do you give to this organization?

My current passion is an organization that helps young girls. Initially, the executive director invited me to lunch and said she was starting a marketing team for the organization. She asked me to head the team, and I agreed. From there I got involved in mentoring the girls. This organization draws on the lion’s share of the 60 hours a month that I give to volunteer work.

9. I’d like to learn more about your involvement in this organization by asking four questions:

First, describe the leadership role that you play within the organization. Second, in what ways do you believe you have most helped the  organization? Third, as you think back over your involvement in the   organization, what roadblocks have been most challenging? Fourth, what  experiences within the organization have given you the most meaning and satisfaction?

My principal leadership role is serving as Board President. I work closely with the Executive Director and talk through a variety of organizational issues with her on a regular basis. I also try to bring good spirit and attitude to the internal organization when I visit with staff. Much of my time is given to motivating individual board members and building a personal relationship with each of them.

I believe I most help the organization by supporting and nurturing the Executive Director—especially letting her know when she is doing as good job and listening carefully and caringly when she is troubled. She and I have weathered some real storms lately, especially involving a board member who was asked to leave. I spend a great deal of time reading how the board and staff work together and believe I bring a certain level of maturity to the organization’s climate. I don’t view myself as being the center of anything. I simply see that things need to get done and jump in and do them with the help of others.

Most of the roadblocks I have experienced in the organization have to do with myself. Historically, success is very important to me and failure is to be avoided at all costs. Being up front and center is not my favorite thing to do, although I have done a lot of it. I don’t like personal attention. I simply want to put it out there and get everyone involved in getting things done. So I constantly check myself and let the “me” in me take over.

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