Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that leadership has been the subject of choice throughout the past two decades.  Leadership is taught in business schools, in universities and colleges, in the military, and in seminary.  There have been more books, more inspirational speakers, and more time spent talking about it than ever before.  And yet, in the volunteer world, rarely do volunteers come forward equipped with leadership training and experience.  In our organization that is also true.  

While some volunteers seek out leadership, most of us are thrust into it.  Is that a problem?   No, I don’t think so.  When you are asked to lead should you turn away because you feel unqualified?  No, not if you have a sense of how things should be in the future.  Don’t turn away from leadership if you want to make things better, if you are a willing student of leadership, if you are a good communicator, or if you have a passion for improvement.  

Most of us in the volunteer world are not natural born leaders; we are leaders made through service, through experience, through learning, watching and imitating.  Leading in a non-profit setting requires focus, listening, planning, coordinating of the work of others, and locating resources to make others successful.  It requires confidence, clarity, and concise communication.  It also requires humility, the ability to change and grow, and the ability to see the potential in others. 

My bet is that most of you have been developing these skills throughout your lives, albeit in different settings.  When speaking with the Chautauqua Scholarship students or with the Learn & Discern Interns, I said “I serve and I learn; I learn and I serve”.    Could this be the right time for you to apply your skills in a leadership position?  I hope so.  You are needed. 

Christine Dawson

Past President