By Ruth Bates and Leslye Heilig, Northeast Mentors
When you were planning your first chapter meeting, you probably gave little or no thought to how you would transition the chapter leadership in the future. However, leadership transition needs to be a consideration right from the start in order to ensure that your chapter stays healthy and vibrant long into the future.
The main reason that DFW chapters go inactive is that the chapter leader cannot continue and there is no one able to take over the leadership role. This is why we consider it an essential and best practice to have a co-leader or even a leadership team. Life is filled with change—-we change and the needs of our chapter change. To anticipate this change, one thing you can do when you establish your chapter is to give it a chapter specific email address that you also use for your meeting invitations. In the long run, this will make any transitions—either planned or unanticipated—that much easier.
How do chapters transition successfully? Some organizations consider making an upfront time commitment to holding certain positions (i.e. such as a two or three year term). This makes sense for many reasons, not the least of which, is to maintain a fresh outlook and continuity. Consider your co-leader/s and bring them into the conversation early on. And watch for members who are excited and might consider doing more of the chapter management. Don’t approach the leadership role as one that is unique to you. Share the responsibilities of hosting, presenting, and communicating.
Several months before you plan to step-down, let your Chapter Mentor or Regional Leader know about the changes, and give them the information they will need to communicate with your incoming chapter leader/s. And consider volunteering with DFW in another way—-perhaps as a Chapter Mentor now that you have the skills needed. Stepping down ad chapter leader does not mean an end to being a DFW volunteer. Open volunteer positions are listed here.
Being a chapter leader is a critical position—it is the heart and soul of DFW, and we could not continue to be the organization we are without you. Thank you for all you are doing!