By Patricia Montague, CAE, SNA Chief Executive Officer 2017-11-02 03:10:47
Giving Thanks for the Journey and Its Destination ASK ANY SNA PAST PRESIDENT AND SHE WILL TELL YOU not only which previous president spurred her to follow that example, but the exact Association meeting and year when inspiration struck. For many, it was very early in their school nutrition careers, often at their first national conference. Even more impressive is how they each were motivated to form a thoughtful plan to grow as leaders at the local, state and then national levels. I’m similarly moved each time I see one of our presidents taking time at national meetings to actively engage with members at all levels. A cook or cashier is given the same attention as a state agency director or industry patron. This courtesy helps members to get to know their president as a person and not just some talking head on the stage. In a related activity, SNA’s incoming president shares her (or, one day, his) leadership journey with state leaders at the National Leadership Conference and now at the Annual National Conference. This inspirational get-to-know you exercise has proven so popular that SNA Board members share these at their own meetings. In addition, this concept has been adapted in SN magazine, with its monthly “My Leadership Journey” column showcasing members in varying volunteer service positions with their school/district, association or other organization. We hope you find it an interesting and inspiring spin on conventional profiles. Do you ever take time to reflect on where you are in your career—and how you got there? Helping incoming presidents with their conference scripts usually prompts me to take stock. I have fond memories of my own early leadership experiences. I was a Girl Scout, a member of the International Order of Rainbow Girls, a high school athlete, editor of my high school and college yearbooks and a Resident Assistant in college. I had no idea then how important they would be in shaping me into the leader I am today. We all come from diverse backgrounds and experiences that mold us to become leaders in our families, communities and workplaces. I challenge you to take some time, perhaps during the Thanksgiving break, to reflect on your own individual leadership journey. And if you are like me, when looking back, you will give thanks for the many leaders you have encountered who inspired you with their example and support!
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