By Cynthea Ryder
Why do you volunteer? That is the question posed to nearly 100 people attending the HBA volunteer appreciation breakfast. HBA Metro chapter president, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, welcomed us and honored volunteer Gerada Collins for her many contributions over the past year. Congratulations, Gerada. With 200 active volunteers, special thanks also go to Cathy Pariser and Jane Fayer for leading volunteer engagement.
HBA Metro chapter mentor, Ceci Zak, shared with the audience that she found opportunities through the HBA to develop the leadership skills she knew she had within herself. As she pointed out, your job doesn’t always present the growth opportunities you would like to develop and realize your potential. Serving on HBA committees is an excellent way to grow and to meet people who share your values and face the same types of challenges you do, who will mentor you when you need advice and who will cheer for you when you succeed. Success in one area of your life can flow into others.
The featured speaker was Lynda McDermott, founder of the HBA Florida chapter.. Coincidentally, earlier in the week Lynda had presented the webinar “Getting a Seat at Your Leadership Table: How Women Can Land the Leadership Roles They Want.” In the webinar, Lynda’s first challenge to listeners was to strategically choose at what table they want to sit. Judging by the number of people drawn to her after the brunch, Lynda’s message resonated. When attendees were directed to rotate to a new table during the event breakout session, Lynda’s table was by far the most popular.
Already a successful business owner of her own international management consulting firm and without any prior experience on any HBA committee, Lynda chose to sit at the HBA leadership table. She overcame each barrier she encountered in starting a new chapter from scratch. She proved there was interest, followed HBA processes and procedures, and now, with 166 members, continues to build membership within the HBA Florida chapter.
In the webinar, Lynda had advised women to build their team of all-stars for support. In practice, Lynda did just that. She called on her vast network, pulling in her connections. They bought into her vision of an HBA chapter in Florida, joined her advisory team and mentored when necessary.
If you are not where you want to be in your career, Lynda advised, be strategic about where you want to be and what skills you need to develop. Visualize where you are headed and what would it look like if your vision were realized. Develop a set of goals, engage people in your vision, find people who can help you get there and then showcase your new skills.
If you find your current position limiting, there are numerous aspects within the HBA where you can develop new skills or hone existing strengths.
Now, why wouldn’t you volunteer?