We are so excited to welcome a guest contributor to share her story & hope with you on our blog! Lindsey Clemensen is a Tri Delta from Oklahoma State University and stays involved with sorority life through an advisor role with the NAU Tri Delta chapter. For all our outgoing officers, we hope you will read this feeling so proud of all you've accomplished AND aware of the unique role you can play in an emerging leader's journey. You have worked so hard this year so it is probably hard to realize that it is just the beginning of someone's leadership in that role! Read below to learn why your ceiling is another sister's basement:
Let me explain… in regards to leadership, your goal and responsibility is to make your position, team, organization, or sister better off than when you first started. Where your leadership role started (your basement) was the highest place your predecessor was able to get to (her ceiling). For the past year, you have been working hard to develop, plan, and execute your position responsibilities.
I want you to take a moment to think back to the very beginning of your role when you first accepted your new officer position. Reflect on how you felt. Did you feel nervous? Excited? Scared? Did you start to brainstorm a million ideas and goals you wanted to accomplish? There are a ton of emotions that come with getting called into a leadership role. In just a few short weeks, your successor will most likely be feeling those same emotions.
Now look back at all you were able to accomplish within your role.
Your predecessor could never have imagined you would have to learn to pivot, adapt, and change to be able to carry out your officer responsibilities in the midst of a global pandemic!
She could have never trained you on how to prepare for the year, which is 2020. Acknowledge just how far you have come! This has been a challenging year. You deserve praise and recognition for everything that you have learned to navigate. You did it! You came out of this on the other side a much stronger person than when you first started. Sometimes this is not said enough, so I want to make sure you hear it from somewhere; THANK YOU for all you have done this year for your sisters and your organization!
The woman who is getting ready to take on your current role is probably feeling all the same emotions you initially did as well. You have the gift of time in knowing everything you learned and how much you have grown since you first started in your role. All the hard work and goals you accomplished over the past year is now this woman's starting place! Your ceiling is now her basement. How cool is that? The time is coming to pass the torch on to the next wave of officers and leaders for your organization. However, some of your sisters do not even see themselves as leaders yet (even if you know they are)!
I want to share a small piece of my story that directly relates to calling up leaders within your chapter. I had just begun my first semester of graduate school in Texas, and I was looking to build a community of people. I started attending a young adult Bible study offered weekly through my church. The group had a male and female leader; the female leader was named Julie. Over the course of the semester, I began to connect with others in the group, became comfortable being vulnerable, and was genuinely interested in being a contributing member of this group. Without my knowledge, Julie took notice of my initiative, empathy towards others, and general curiosity.
It was a couple of weeks before the winter break when Julie pulled me aside after group one night and said, "I really can see you being a leader for this group and want you to take over my role next semester" as she would be stepping down as the female lead. At first, I was awestruck! Julie, the leader of this group whom I had come to admire and look up to over the past several weeks, wanted ME to step into her leadership role! I had never thought or envisioned myself as a small group leader. That is...until she called me into it! I lead a small group for the next two years while I completed my graduate degree. I proceeded to establish and start 3 other young adult small groups at other churches over the next 5 years!
Developing community has now become my biggest passion! And it all started with another woman saying, “Hey Lindsey, I see you as a leader. I really admire these qualities about you and think you would make a great…” My life story has forever been shaped by that one conversation. Now I am constantly looking at women in the organizations I am a part of to see if I can call them into leadership roles. You never know what kind of impact that could have on another woman's life!
Our organizations thrive when we continue to look to the next generation to lead the way.
A sister might not yet see herself having leadership qualities, but you are the one that can call those out in her. By telling a sister that her skills or passion would make her a great fit for your position, you validate her value in the chapter! You can build your sisters up to become the next risk management chair, director of philanthropy, or chapter president. As cliché as it is, empowered women, do really empower other women.
Remember, your words have power. You are the one that needs to light a sisters’ flame. Sororities were founded by strong women leaders who saw leadership qualities in other women. They created a place for women to propel each other to become the best versions of themselves.
Your ceiling is truly another sisters’ basement!
Want to support the incoming executive board's leadership development?
Check out our year-long leadership course, Executive Board Vision Planning!
Our 7-module course will equip your incoming officers to preparing for their leadership roles and support them in addressing the pertinent issues you have just navigated this past year: