Been a little too preoccupied to write much here the last few days. Taking care of a sick daughter. Also visiting with my parents; I haven’t seen them as much as one might suppose as they’re staying at Camp Restore and doing volunteer work to help rebuild New Orleans.
Nevertheless life churns on. I suppose the most dramatic development for me personally is that, as of Thursday night, I am now president of Friends of Lafitte Corridor.
I’m both honored and excited to take this position. FOLC and its mission are very dear to my heart. I come on the heels of FOLC’s first president Daniel Samuels, who has done a lot of heavy lifting. During that period I have served as FOLC’s Chair, meaning that I ran the board meetings, so this represents a shift of focus for me, from process to active involvement. Daniel is very detail-oriented at a level I could never be, and I devoutly hope he continues to mind those details as a member of the board. But since a good foundation has already been lain, hopefully I will be able to direct my efforts in a slightly different direction, concentrating more on outreach. As president I believe my primary role will be to represent the organization to the public, to seek partnerships, to build enthusiasm and support for the project of the greenway and the revitalization of the Lafitte Corridor — in short, to share the vision widely. I hope I can do our mission justice.
Still, I don’t think I’ve ever been president of anything. I’ve never wanted to be president of anything before. And so it feels a little weird. Therefore, this might be a good time to remind myself not to confuse authority with leadership. As president, I’m authorized by the organization to do certain things. I’ll be expected to accomplish those tasks. But that’s not leadership. That’s just doing the job. In fact, leadership is never authorized, yet it’s something we all have an opportunity to exercise on a regular basis. It’s not a position occupied but an initiative taken. Indeed, FOLC’s whole project might be seen as an exercise in leadership, pushing forward on a project everyone agrees would be beneficial to the community as a whole but which has never been given priority. No one authorized us; we just started pushing. That’s leadership. I hope I’m able to remember that true leadership can come from anywhere, from anyone, at any time. I hope that I’m able to recognize it when I see it, not as a challenge to me personally, but as an opportunity for the group and the mission.