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.
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