20 Day Challenge Day 9 & Leadership Austin 2013 Essential Class

in Leadership, Public Relations

Time begins – 8:06

If you were following our social media over the weekend, you caught a great announcement. On Saturday, I received notice that I was accepted in the 2013 Essential Class at Leadership Austin. In addition to going swimming with my kids, it was definitely a highlight of the day.

Leadership Austin is a non-profit organization that aims to develop civic leadership and provide programming that fosters community engagement. Similar programs exist in most major cities and may be hosted in local Chambers. Here in Austin, Leadership Austin has a wonderful reputation and has been part of the journey for many aspiring community leaders including most of our elected officials and leaders of many of our largest employers.

I’m honored to have been selected. I joke that Austin is a town with a lot of cool kids, so it’s always a little satisfying when you get invited to participate in something like this or TEDxAustin when you know there were more applicants than spaces and the pool was rich with smart, talented, and engaged people. I really look forward to the program starting next month and embarking on a journey to learn more about Austin and to be with a cohort of new friends I haven’t met yet.

Participating in Leadership Austin is stop on a journey I have been pursuing for some time. I’ve lived in Austin since 1998 and consider it my adopted home. I came here to work as a paramedic originally. For nearly, a decade it has been home base for my consulting. A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to become more engaged in my community. I didn’t want it to just be where my house was, but I wanted it to be my home and I began to make it so.

Reflecting back, it’s funny, but when I worked for the city as a paramedic many years ago, I perceived myself as a public servant, but I’m not sure I fulfilled that role fully. While I worked for the citizens and served the community, I did not do much outside of my work. I wasn’t involved, I didn’t know the issues, and I wasn’t contributing to making it better outside of my profession. I see this a lot in public safety professions around the country. I predict it’s why they often have a strong disconnect between the first responders and the citizens they serve. Interesting topic for another blog post.

When I think about home, I reflect on how my parents became part of their community of Greenfield, MA. They weren’t from there, but once they made a home there, they adopted it and lived it fully. When I think of being part of the community, I reflect on my mother-in-law who transplanted to Birmingham, AL via New York and Florida and, over time, became woven into the community, it’s people, and it’s future. Austin is a wonderful place and I aspire to do the same here.

If you’re interested in becoming more engaged in your community or if you wish to develop your civic leadership, I encourage you to seek out your local program. I’ve known people who have participated in Austin, Ft. Worth, Tulsa, and Birmingham and all have reported back it was a wonderful experience and well worth the time and investment. I look forward to starting very soon myself.

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Time 25 minutes

PDSA learning. This morning’s post went pretty quick. May have been because I was thinking about it over the weekend. Tomorrow is the last day before I hit the road again, so we’ll see how that goes. No new insights.