In 2 more days I will be completing my year as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. This year has been a year of great change within the Chamber. We have conducted a 4 month national search to hire a new President, restructured personnel and programs and took some stands on some very controversial political issues.
At events that I’ve attended this past week, I’m asked by most everyone if I’m glad my year is over. That question has caused me to really stop and think.
While, all of those changes took a lot of time that I was not expecting to devote to a volunteer position, I believe the benefits have far outweighed the time and effort required. I have received far more than I gave.
But, isn’t that usually the case in almost any area where you volunteer your time and efforts? It starts by you giving your thoughts, ideas, money and time and it ends with you realizing how enriched your life was made by that volunteer effort.
This past year I have had the opportunity to better know those I’ve been serving with over the last few years. Some friendships have deepened and new friendships have begun. I had the opportunity to meet some very important people who I would have never had the chance to meet. I went to Frankfort and to Washington to advocate for the Chamber’s positions and experienced, in greater detail, how our government works – or sometimes doesn’t work.
While I always felt that I was a leader, this past year developed my leadership skills even further. I also have become rather proficient at public speaking on the spur of the moment. I’ve had the opportunity to meet the reporters who cover our region and see just how quickly news can happen.
I had the opportunity to give my input on the type of leader our Chamber needed and met with the most powerful of business leaders in our community to get their input, too. And, while they put their shoes on just like the rest of us, having the chance to interact with them was special.
I’ve seen the dedication of our Chamber staff, who are so often quietly in the background making sure things go smoothly, scripts are written and events are successful. I’ve seen healthy debate over differences of opinion and I experienced unhealthy name calling over the same issues. Funny how differences of opinion can cause rational people to act in irrational ways. But, that’s human nature, I suppose.
Like every other volunteer effort in the past, I received so much more than I gave. I am grateful to the Northern Kentucky business community who gave this old dog the opportunity to learn some new tricks and meet some wonderful people. From the bottom of my heart – thank you!