On August 10, 2015 I and 11 other 2015 ASAE DELP scholars stood in front of hundreds of association professionals as we were recognized for our achievement during the ASAE 2015 Annual Meeting in Detroit. The Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) is a two-year program that recognizes individuals from under-represented identity groups who demonstrate exemplary leadership skills and a commitment to advancing the association community. Our class will participate in an accelerated leadership program of education, mentoring and volunteer service in the association community and I couldn’t be more excited. What motivated me to apply?
Someone believed in me. Every now and then in one’s life you meet someone along the way who exudes deep enthusiasm, and you can’t help but be excited with a project or endeavor that he or she is sharing with you. I met that person a year and half ago. She’s my boss, Lynda Patterson and the owner of the association management company, I work for. I didn’t know about DELP until Lynda told me about it and enthusiastically offered to sponsor me. She recognized my leadership abilities, was proud of my accomplishments, and thought that applying for the scholarship will usher in more opportunities for professional growth, allowing me to go even further in my association management career.
The goals align with growth needs. I am impressed by ASAE’s commitment to support diversity and to provide opportunities to under-represented groups so that we may access professional education and a deep network of strong leaders. Having over a decade of association management experience but not much exposure to continuing education, I would benefit greatly from DELP’s benefits.
Far reaching benefit. Association managers in Wisconsin do not have easy access to continuing professional education. DELP would provide learning not just for me personally, but also, indirectly, to other professionals in Wisconsin. I would be able to help broaden the reach by passing on the knowledge with colleagues I interact with in my place of work and also in the Wisconsin Society of Association Executives (WSAE) in which I am currently a member.
Surround myself with rock stars. I believe that if you want to get better than you think you already are, and learn new ways to live a successful professional and personal life, surrounding oneself with people you want to emulate will provide the encouragement and example that will help you reach the next level.
Be an inspiration to others. My eleven years of experience with helping associations live their missions have been very successful, and I am on track for even greater success. I want my success to serve as an inspiration to others who might otherwise think their race or gender is an insurmountable obstacle. Already, I know of some people who have been inspired by my personal story, how I moved over 3,000 miles across the globe while a single mother with four young children. I think DELP can help stories like mine be shared broadly, inspiring many to greater dreams and achievements.
The benefits go both ways. Much as I would learn from well-experienced, connected professionals through DELP, others may benefit from the global experience and attitude of purposeful action that I bring to the table. Three of my top five strengths from the Clifton Strengths-Finder — Activator, Maximizer, and Achiever — identify me as a candidate who would “maximize” the opportunity, continue to advance the goals of the program, and, when given a project, get it done.