by Toccara D. Porter, Kentucky Chapter, Information Technology Division
The idea of being future ready, particularly as a newbie to SLA, leads me to examine the style of leadership within the entire Association on down to the Divisions and Chapters. In attending my first Leadership Summit I walked around introducing myself to people. Many of the conversations focused on their experiences being in a Chair-Elect or President-Elect position. People talked of either finding themselves ‘thrown’ into the position without a clue about what to do or having adequate support from the incumbents and the entire board.
Considering these prospects as a toss up of what could happen to me in the same situation brought to mind the summer of 1993. The year marked my entrance into the 5th grade. Anxiously I awaited ‘the letter’ from my elementary school that would reveal which teacher’s class I would be joining: Ms. Roberts or Mr. Patterson. All the kids at school had nothing but great things to say about Ms. Roberts: she was nice and was always welcoming when someone approached. However, Mr. Patterson was the opposite; grumpy and a bit of a pushover. When the letter finally arrived it seemed as if my entire life rested on whose name was inside as I opened the envelope: Ms. Roberts or Mr. Patterson?
The point is: thinking about what type of leadership style awaits within a Division and Chapter makes me a little hesitant about opening that envelope. As SLA prepares its members—new and established—to be ready to demonstrate strong leadership qualities we must continually reflect on whether the current leadership structures in place can truly open the door to that future or close it; because I am ready to walk through it! What about you?
In case you were wondering, I had Ms. Roberts. And, yes, being in the fifth-grade was a good year!
Toccara D. Porter is the Librarian-In-Residence at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. She is a member of the Kentucky Chapter and Information Technology Division of SLA.