This year has been a year of surprises. The best surprise came during the the summer while I was on vacation with my family in South Carolina. I received an email that has since changed my life, and I owe it all to a few random decisions that now, I realize, were more strategic than I initially thought.
Before I get into the details of the email, here is a bit of context. In addition to the wonderful work I do at Generocity.org, I have the pleasure of volunteering my time at the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy Philadelphia chapter, or EPIP Philadelphia, a professional network of leaders in philanthropy and social impact. I have been part of the organization for about two years.
Within the first year of becoming a member, I was offered a leadership position in their newly created giving circle and later, asked to join the steering committee. Since then, I have worked alongside others passionate about philanthropy and have increased my own passion for the sector.
In addition to being involved in EPIP Philly, over the last year I participated in a program offered by Young Involved Philadelphia called Board Prep. Its a wonderful program that offers participants an opportunity to learn about serving on a board and board governance over a six-week period.
I went into the program only wanting an overview of the work, and I had not intended on actually serving on a board. However, this past June, I submitted an application to the national board of EPIP — which I did, honestly, more for the experience of applying, rather than actually expecting to receive the position.
Later in the summer, while on vacation, I received an email from the chair of EPIP’s national board stating that I had been nominated for a position on the board. I found myself in an interesting position. I was more excited than I had been all year — and I had plenty to be excited about in 2014!
I gladly accepted the position. Serving on a board feels like the beginning of fulfilling my pursuit in life, which is to serve others before myself. It’s an opportunity to learn, stumble, and be humbled. I plan to refine my leadership style so that isn’t just about me, but about influencing others to think great things about themselves.
It’s also my chance to answer a question that was asked of me a year ago: What kind of leader do you want to be?
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It’s a question I know I will be answering for a very long time with a different response from year to year, but right now my answer is this: I want to be the kind of leader who knows my role is to represent kindness and offer support. A leader who intends to turn the world upside down by inspiring people and ideas to start a movement that changes our lives forever.
What moments in your life have shaped your experiences in the social impact ecosystem? Share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Photo by Mo Manklang at a Web Junto Meet-up-30-
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