human, being


On winning an election
April 10, 2009, 9:54 am
Filed under: work | Tags: , , ,

I’ve run for a few things in my life: student council leadership spots, Miss America. I’ve won a couple, but mostly I’ve lost.

It’s the losses I remember, the stinging, shameful, I’m-not-popular-enough losses. Most painful memory of high school: running for treasurer of my junior class and getting booed during my speech. Why? I’ll never know. I’m not sure who was booing. But that experience killed a part of me that never quite recovered. Many hours of therapy later, I can think about it from a more detached point of view … and yet the experience still feels like a poke in the gut.

When I was married I ran for a seat on my neighborhood association and lost. I thought about running for school board, but just couldn’t get up the courage. It’s funny, because when I’m on a committee, invariably I wind up as a leader. I can’t help it. I’m bossy and organized and have good ideas. It’s the voting–which equals acceptance or rejection–that I don’t like. Appoint me any time. Just don’t ask me to run.

A few weeks ago, I received a call for nominations for my national professional organization’s steering committee. It’s an interesting group of people, comprised of communications leaders from cancer centers across the United States. Last year, I attended the annual conference, met some good people, learned a lot.

It would be fun to be on the steering committee. I could learn a lot from the very well-placed people who also sat on it. Yet, I waited until the last possible minute to send in my self-nomination. Part of me was all “why bother, you’ll never win.” But I threw my hat in the ring, to use the cliche.

When I saw the list of candidates I was competing with–their titles, which are bigger than mine at more prestigious organizations–I said, oh well. So much for that.

Then yesterday, I got a call from the committee chair, and I braced myself for him to say, “Unfortunately …”

Instead, he told me “Congratulations!”

So, I’m psyched. I now get to serve a two-year term, which means a little extra business travel for me (three trips a year, as opposed to the one trip a year I take now). I do have good things to offer this group, and I’m sure that I’ll also learn a lot from my experience.

I’m still a little shocked that I was elected. Shocked, but grateful for the chance to broaden my horizons and represent my center nationally. And grateful that others read my bio and thought I would be a good addition as well.

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