Volunteer Spotlight: Gayle Lantz
PUI: Can you give us an example of a leader that you consider to be strong and effective? What is it about this individual that stands out to you?
GL: One of the most impressive leaders I coached was already extremely successful, but wanted to learn more and grow personally. He looked for ways to challenge his thinking and gain exposure to new ideas and perspectives. He modeled what he wanted his team to do. His focus was on growing people as much as growing the business. Service over ego.
PUI: How essential has volunteer leadership been for your own professional development?
GL: My volunteer leadership experience at Career Connections, and with other organizations, has always been mission driven. My strengths are visioning and strategic thinking. If I see a need I really care about and believe I can impact, I will take action – even if the vision isn’t entirely clear at that point. I like to start initiatives that can grow. So professional development has been more of a byproduct as opposed to a goal. But my volunteer leadership experience has been essential in helping me grow personally and professionally.
PUI: What advice would you give to someone looking to find a meaningful volunteer leadership position?
GL: Just start something. Don’t wait. If you feel strongly about a cause, need or mission, talk to other people with similar interests. Voice what you really care about. You can make an immediate impact. Adjust and grow from there. That’s what we did with Career Connections. The need for people to find work was critical. We could have taken days, weeks or months to plan an ideal approach, but we had immediate expertise and support to offer. So we said, “Let’s get started!” I wasn’t looking for a leadership role. I simply wanted to help. I think that’s the case with many volunteer leaders. The leadership role finds them. They take action because they feel compelled to make a positive impact. Progress beats perfection when you’re trying to make a difference.
Gayle, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and provide our readers with such valuable insight from a proven leader.
When you think of a strong leader, who do you think of? Why?
Leave a comment and let us know.
Need to go back? Click for the first half of the interview.
Volunteer Spotlight: Gayle Lantz
Gayle Lantz is a leadership consultant, executive coach, author, speaker and founder of WorkMatters, Inc. She helps organizations and entrepreneurs get clear and focused so they can grow their business and themselves more quickly. She also helps individual leaders who want to take charge of their own career path doing work that matters and provides a lot of good insight & information on the WorkMattersBlog. Her services reach local, national and global markets. As a volunteer leader, she is co-founder of Career Connections.
Projects Unlimited, Inc. (PUI): From your perspective, how can volunteer leaders truly affect positive change in a member-based organization?
Gayle Lantz (GL): By keeping a clear and compelling vision in view. It’s not about “pushing and pulling” people, but inspiring members to be a part of something important that makes a big difference. Engage members in conversations about what the organization is trying to accomplish. Let them know their voice is needed as you move in new directions. Stop trying to do so much yourself, or you’ll burn out.
PUI: Are there any unusual “off the beaten path” type qualities of effective leaders that you find to be particularly endearing and effective?
GL: One quality is enduring optimism. People always want to have a sense of hope. These leaders view challenges through a different lens – one of new possibilities. They also constantly raise the bar, resisting status quo thinking. They expand their vision of what’s possible, and are on fire to make it happen. Instead of trying to go from A to B, they already see G or H down the path. They think bigger.
PUI: Have you noticed any trends in the roadblocks that are keeping individuals or organizations from reaching their full potential as leaders?
GL: Yes. The biggest roadblock is usually their own mindset. Some individuals and organizations hold themselves back based on fears, doubts — unwillingness to take risk, invest or make a mistake. Mindset matters as much as (and sometimes even more than) skills. Also, organizations can be too slow in their decision making – overcomplicating the process – so they miss opportunities to make a stronger impact more quickly.
Click for the second half of the interview.
Why or Why Not?
We are new to the ‘blogosphere’. We like the idea and how it feels so far. This article by blogger Ana Hoffman lists many of the reasons why we have chosen to make the switch from website to blog.
So, we want to know…
Does your company or association have a blog?
Why or why not?
If you (or your company/association) do blog, what is your favorite feature about your own blog?
Leave a comment and let us know.
August 16, 17, and 18 will bring a unique opportunity to our business community.
The South Region Minority Supplier Development Council (SRMSDC) is hosting their 2011 Business Connections Conference at the Sheraton Birmingham. This 3 day conference will focus on the changing dynamics of our global, national, and local economies, and present ideas for strategies to position your company for success.
We think this is a good way to spend a few days in August. Register here.
Here’s the schedule of events at a glance:
Tuesday, August 16
Highland Golf Course
Registration & lunch – 11:00a
Shotgun start (that’s fun) – Noon
The Birmingham Museum of Art – 6:30p
Wednesday, August 17
Opening plenary session – 8:00a
Education & development workshops – 9:30a
MBE Minority Business Enterprise showcase luncheon – Noon
Tradeshow – 1:30p
Dynamic MatchMaking – 3:30p
Crystal Awards dinner – 6:00p
*all activities will be held in the BJCC South Meeting Hall
Thursday, August 18
Corporate and Supplier Diversity Town Hall Meeting – 8:00a
featuring Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, SVP, Public Affairs and Government Relations, The Nielsen Company
Ms. Pearson-McNeil holds responsibility for widening the scope of The Nielsen Company’s government, community, and corporate social responsibility programs, as well as the company’s philanthropic commitment to multicultural communities. In this role Ms. Pearson-McNeil works to expand public outreach efforts across the company’s Media, Business Media and Consumer businesses. She leads the company’s diversity advertising strategy and co-manages two of its three external advisory councils.
For those of you coming from out-of-town, reserve your room at the Sheraton Birmingham by calling (205) 324-2011, and make sure that you mention the “2011 Business Connections Conference” to confirm your discounted rate! Or, reserve online here.