Monday, June 29, 2015

Belonging - better than joining?

     Recently I read a tweet of Amanda Kaiser's (Smooth The Path) that literally jumped out at me. Belonging is more important than joining. "Yes, you are so right." I said to myself.

     Each year in DKG, an international organization of women educators, we lose many more members than we initiate or reinstate. There are a variety of reasons our members resign, but one that is frequently mentioned is that they do not feel connected; they do not have a sense of "belonging."

     There is no question but that we need to attract and engage the younger generations because they represent the future of our organization and our profession. For years I have said that it is not an either/or situation. It is both/and. We need both the younger generations and we need to keep our experienced members.

We need to engage the younger educators and we need to re-engage those who may feel disconnected so that they can share their experience and wisdom and can mentor and be mentored by those who are younger and/or new to the profession.  And both groups need to have a sense of belonging.

       Belonging is reflected as the third level in the pyramid of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Most of us never get to the point, regardless of our age, that we don't desire acceptance by someone, a group or an organization. We want to relate to other humans and feel connected, valued, and appreciated. How can DKG members take care of their own?  The answer might be very simple.
  • Contact members personally
  • Acknowledge every member's past/present/future contributions
  • Affirm all members' value
  • Seek the opinions of all members on changes they would like to see
  • Involve members in a program, project or activity
  • Invite members to share a talent, skill or idea
  • Extend a personal invitation to each member to state, regional and international meetings
  • Ensure that each member has an opportunity to "serve" each biennium
  • Share international information with all members to increase the feeling of being in the loop
  • Recognize some members may need/want something but won't ask
  • Encourage members regardless of their presumed emotional/professional strength
  • Connect with those who rarely participate, appear uninvolved, or who sit alone at meetings
  • Treat all members as you would like to be treated

Friday, June 12, 2015

Generational benefits

     During my term as DKG international president, I proclaimed the benefits of DKG for all generations and especially those in X and Y. Recently, I reviewed the statistics of those blogs and realized they were less read or viewed.  Do younger members not read my blogs? Do experienced members not read blogs about engaging younger generations? 
     I don't know why those blogs were viewed less than others. But, this is a great time to reiterate numerous ways in which DKG assists, supports and enhances educators of all generations! Check out a few of the benefits.

  • financial support for graduate study
  • support for educators working on National Board Certification
  • coaching, mentoring and other support for educators new to the profession
  • professional networking in a multi-generational environment
  • leadership development opportunities
  • funding for classroom, school or community projects
  • support for attendance at professional conferences
  • publishing opportunities in a juried journal
  • professional development hours for renewal of teaching certificates
  • professional speaking opportunities
  • supporting diversity and involvement in programs at chapter, state organization and international levels
  • genuine friendships with outstanding women educators in 17 countries

Let's continue to dialogue ways to engage the younger generations and re-engage the experienced, long-term members. We could even debate other issues. Open discussions about the issues confronting DKG enable us to better face the future with warm courage and high hopes.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Friendships - A Reason to Belong!

     I would belong to the international organization of women educators (DKG) if it had only the one purpose, Uniting Women Educators in a Genuine Spiritual Fellowship. Because of my membership I am friends with some of the most talented, dynamic, resourceful, intelligent and beautiful leaders
Berneil Drake, Arizona
in the world. Well, at least in 17 countries of the world.

     Berneil Drake, Arizona, was my friend and one such leader. I was shocked to read in her obiturary in April of this year that she was born in 1921. She was extremely youthful in her appearance, demeanor,
attitude, thinking and leadership style. I had few clues we were from different generations!

     Berneil and I had a special bond as we were both state organization editors during her 30 year tenure in Arizona. We had several other things in common. She served as international second vice president as did I.  We both chaired the international communications committee at the international level, and in that role reviewed hundreds of chapter and state organization websites.

     I was elated when she won the international achievement award in 2007, and remember fondly that  in 2010 when I received the same award, she commented about our similar paths as editors and the fact that I had just been elected as the international second vice-president.

     Berneil was one classy lady and will be missed by all! She was, as I want to be, alive when she died.  Serving as her state organization's liaison to the DKG Educational Foundation at the time of her death, she left a generous bequest to the Foundation - a living testimony of her dedication to giving to educate the world.  Goodbye Berneil and thanks for the memories.  

     If you are reading this blog, chances are you are someone I might not know but for my membership in DKG. Please know I am grateful for your friendship. Let's stay in touch!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chapters Have Autonomy?

 Recently I was involved in a discussion of changes that might assist DKG in remaining relevant and sustainable. Rules and/or traditions that might limit chapters and state organizations also surfaced. After reflection and a brief discussion with a mentor and DKG sage, I wondered if perhaps we make assumptions that might not be true. Do we think we can't do something based on past practice, myths, or misunderstanding, or do we actually have restrictions that impede our progress?

 DKG chapters have only eight mandates.
  1. Members must be recommended, and elected at a chapter meeting based on identified qualifications, which includes initiation. Reserve status may only be granted for two reasons.
  2. Members must pay dues and fees on time.
  3. Chapters must have four regular meetings per year.
  4. Chapters must have an executive board with defined duties.
  5. Chapters must adhere to the Purposes and Mission Statement, and are responsible for Society work within whatever committee structure they choose.
  6. Chapters must have Rules that are consistent with the Constitution and its state organization bylaws.
  7. Chapters must elect and appoint certain officers who must be members and are elected in even-numbered years.
  8. Chapters must submit annual and biennial reports.
With the exception of number 1, which deals with membership, and number 6 which addresses the organization's governing documents, chapters appear to have much autonomy.

If additional flexibility is desired, a member, chapter, or state organization has the opportunity, every four years, to recommend changes to ensure continued relevance and sustainability. Is four years too long to make changes in the Constitution? Should it be more general? Should membership be changed?

Chapters are the heart of the Society and the members its lifeblood! It is crucial for each member, chapter and state organization to participate actively in determining the future of our great organization. This might make a great discussion for a chapter meeting.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hello again Blogging!

 This past weekend I was reminded of  a statement, "Communication is too important not to use every strategy available."
Since leaving DKG Society Headquarters in Austin, I have not been without things to do. In addition to a little rennovating, mowing lawns, cleaning fence rows and flower beds, and pressure washing my house and driveway, I have resumed my local civic and community responsibilities. I have also texted,  tweeted, used facebook, instagram, pinterest and even the What app. But, alas, my blogging went by the wayside.

Although I understood, during the two years I served as international president, that not one person sat with bated breath waiting for my next blog, I faced each attempt as a noble effort to reach 84,000 women educators in 17 member countries!  My saying goodbye to blogging, while going unnoticed by others, presented an incongruency for me.

Those of you who know me realize that I extol the value of using all types of social media to increase the visibilty of DKG, engage the XYZ generations, connect with seasoned mentors (baby boomers), and advocate for desirable educational policy. Because of that and my desire to walk my talk, I am returning to blogging!

So, hello again blogging. It is good to be back!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Special Medallion!

Dr. Jensi Souders, Tennessee
Recipient, 2014 International
Achievement Award
Dr. Jensi Souders, Tennessee, received the International Achievement Award at the International Convention in Indianapolis, at the Celebration Luncheon on July 30, 2014.The gold medallion she received was first presented in 1953 to Eunah Temple Holden, Florida. She wore it until her death in 1975, and in 1987 it was then presented to Dr. Jessie Sim. Prior to Sim's death, the medallion was returned to Florida for safe keeping.  In May 2014, the medallion was sent to Society Headquarters to Dr. Beverly Helms, 2012-2014 international president. A new gold bar was added to the middle which now bears Dr. Souders' name.

Dr. Jensi Souders has served the Society for many years in numerous chapter, state,  and international leadership positions. She was the 2010-2012 International President, and served on the 2012-2014 Administrative Board as immediate past president, chair of the DKG Supporting Corporation, chair of Transition Planning for the nominee for international president, and chair of the Administrative Board's committee to review regional conferences. She also served as a member of the 2012-2014 performance appraisal team.

The Danger of Silence

Clint Smith, a teacher talks about the Danger of Silence.  Watch the four minute presentation.
What is the implication for DKG members with regard to our voice on educational issues and policies?