Confession #7: One of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make

This new job of mine is challenging. Invigorating. Interesting. Exciting. And very intense, in terms of no longer being able to focus on any of the extracurricular activities that I had been focusing on before taking on this new role.

Specifically, the volunteering I was doing for SDA (Society for Design Administration), and especially for the Seattle chapter. I knew I needed to do something.

So I slept on it. I talked things through with my husband. I had long, internal conversations with myself in which I played out various scenarios—should I do that; could I do that; what if I didn’t do that?

And it ultimately came down to this: I could not give SDA the best of me (even a half-hearted attempt of me) while doing my new, challenging day job. My paying job.

I needed to have a chat with the chapter’s President-elect.

I told her that it wasn’t fair to the chapter to have the President not be available during business hours. I told her about my new job and how challenging it was.

I told her of the very hard decision that I came to, which was that I needed to step down as chapter president, for the good of the chapter (and my sanity).

There, I said it. (And without any ugly crying, although I remember I did tear up just a bit at one time).

One of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make: Go back on the promise I made when I was installed as chapter president.


On the bright side for me: The current chapter board members are awesome! Dedicated. Committed to their positions. Willing to take on additional duties (because I stepped down from the president’s position). I know things are going to be just fine with the chapter this year.

I still feel like a s**t for stepping down, instead of trying to ride things out. I did the right thing. Right?


Doh! Lessons Learned

learn-2004900_1920I put myself into a situation that I thought I had a good handle on. But then on the day of, I realized that I was demonstrating some Excel features using 2013, instead of 2010, which was the version I had been practicing with and the version I used for the screen shots that made up the webinar handouts.


Not to self: Pay attention to the laptop you are using on the day of the webinar.

In my day job, I work in Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook . . . 2010. So I am comfortable moving around the 2010 version.

I’m not as up to date as I would like to be on the changes made in the menu items from Excel 2010 to Excel 2013.

So there I am, presenting a webinar—a live presentation—and I don’t know where to find some of the features I’m talking about. Because the menu has changed a bit from 2010 to 2013.


What did I do? I had to admit to the attendees that I just realized the laptop I would be using for the webinar presentation was not the same version I practiced with. (Otherwise, I think I would have looked like an idiot, spending time trying to find where the Excel feature was that I was looking for.) So I ‘fessed up.

Shame on me for not paying attention to the equipment I would be using for my webinar.

Note to self: Pay more attention to all of the details next time!  You don’t have an admin assistant to help you, so it’s up to you to make sure you have the right equipment, especially if you are presenting a webinar to others.

Lesson learned. You can bet I won’t let that happen again.

On another note—to admins in particular: You are a wealth of knowledge and you should be sharing the knowledge you have with others (whether it’s your admin colleagues or anyone else in your firm). Help them grow their skills and knowledge. Encourage them to share their knowledge, in whatever format is comfortable for them (written, in-person 1:1 or in a group session, webinar; whatever). When the webinar host asked me if I had any last words, I talked about how I was a bit nervous knowing that I had to do a webinar presentation (it was my second time webinar-ing for the organization, but the first time doing one where they’d see my live keystrokes while in Excel), but I forged ahead and agreed to do it. (You could say I crossed that off on my bucket list—presenting another webinar—if I could become as great a webinar presenter as Melissa Esquibel, how sweet would that be?!) So . . . step out of your comfort zone and make an effort to grow your presentation skills, and share your knowledge at the same time. Once it’s over, you’ll be glad you did it.

Oops, I did it again!

Inspiration comes to me (flows into me) in many forms.

What inspired me to take on another big leadership role–after having been there, done that two years ago?

The inspiration this time came from a job well done; let’s see if we can top that.

I’m talking about my professional life and specifically as a member of the Society for Design Administration (SDA). In 2014-2015, our Seattle chapter turned things upside down and just went gang-busters on doing so much more than had been done before. The really cool thing (for me anyway) was that we provided 17.70 hours of continuing education units (CEUs).

Then during our 2015-2016 board term (yours truly served as Vice President), we offered 23.65 CEUs. (You read that number right; that’s definitely not a typo.)

So there it is. That’s my inspiration. I wanted to be on the next team to try to beat those stats.

So when the Nominating Committee called, I—with some hesitation of course, because it’s a huge, non-paying job—said yes, I’ll do it again. I’ll serve as the chapter president-elect for 2016-2017. And you know what that means, don’t you? That means in 2017-2018, I will serve again (for the third time in my life) as the chapter’s president.

So . . . by saying yes, I volunteered for three more years of service to an all-volunteer board of directors.

Which is really kind of scary. Will we have awesome, dedicated and passionate members who are willing to serve on the board during those years?  Will we have awesome, dedicated and passionate members who like a good challenge and are willing to help the board work on the 5 goals that will lead us to successfully achieve our 5-year vision?

I think so. I hope so. I know that the last couple of years have demonstrated to SDA members and the A/E/C community that our chapter (and the entire SDA organization) is a valuable resource, and I think from that comes dedicated and passionate members.

So now what does that mean for me? I just need to step up my game and try to be the best leader as I can be:

  • Someone who initiates and promotes team performance
  • Someone who models leader behavior
  • Someone who helps further the goals of the chapter and the organization at large

imageSince I did it again, you can bet I’ll be blogging about my adventures. I hope you’ll hang in there with me, and also share your leadership experiences (the good and the not-so-good).