By Jean Ronnei, SNS, SNA President 2015-07-23 23:04:02
Recognize the Leader Within I am honored to write this column as the newest president of our great organization. I have big shoes to fill left by all those who went before me, especially Julia Bauscher, whose clear vision and dedication have added to the lasting legacy of SNA’s past presidents. Over the years, I have been inspired by many great leaders at the local, state and national levels. But, sadly, there are even more individuals whom I’ve met who don’t consider themselves to have leadership potential—boy, are they mistaken! Maybe it’s because today’s social media whirl and 24/7 news cycle tends to define leaders as those rare heroes who change the world through incredible feats and great sacrifice. We overemphasize the unbelievable things that only a few are able to do, while overlooking the accomplishments that we all achieve when we accept leadership responsibilities in our families, workplaces and communities. I like to call this “everyday leadership,” simple acts you do regularly to positively influence the world around you. Think about a person who has made a significant impact on your life. Can you pinpoint what she or he did or said that made such a difference? Most likely, it was a series of simple things, like consistent encouragement, regular affirmations and compassion in moments of darkness. These everyday leaders are our coworkers, friends, family and even kind strangers! When I became a foodservice director, I knew joining SNA was an important professional step, but I never considered becoming more involved than in my home state. This all changed when Dora Rivas, then president-elect, asked me to co-chair the 2010 School Nutrition Industry Conference. Boy, was I surprised! By simply asking, Dora planted an idea in my head that I could become a national leader. If she hadn’t asked, I might have stayed content at the state level—but then missed the chance to advocate for our profession on a national scale, to help influence our future direction and to write my first magazine column as SNA President. Thank you, Dora. Take moments to thank the everyday leaders who have made a great impact on your life. But also be sure to pay it forward by seizing everyday leadership moments yourself. Compliment a coworker on a job well done, remind a friend of their greatest talent or buy a coffee for someone behind you in line at the cafe. I want to dedicate this year to recognizing the everyday leaders who make our Association better. I encourage you to join me in this effort to spread positivity and celebrate the leader in each of us. We have an incredible power to make a difference in others—let’s embrace it and do what we can to make the world a better place!
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