by Lisa Niedenthal, Beta Phi (Indiana U), International Vice President
Once upon a time there was an AOII alumna who was busy with work, family, friends, and hobbies. One day an AOII sister whom she had always admired, invited her to a luncheon. The alumna said “yes.” It was an informal event with just a handful of women. Then the sister AOII asked the alumna if she would like to join an AOII committee. The alumna said “why not?” And so it went…
The alumna in the story is me and the sister AOII is PIP Barbara Hunt. Barbara asked and I answered.
We talk about succession planning as a serious endeavor, and it is. It is important at every level of our Fraternity from collegiate and alumnae chapters to international volunteers and boards. Succession planning is the process of identifying and growing new leaders within an organization. As current leaders we must spend time thinking about and developing our succession plans, for both emergency situations and for the longer term. We need specific answers to the “what if” and “who is next” questions. We must create step by step plans, processes and educational development around succession. But it doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. To me it’s really about building relationships and mentoring each other. In doing so, we ensure the legacy of AOII leadership.
It’s election time. We ask who wants to be chapter president. No one responds. Sometimes it helps to flip the question… Instead of focusing on who could fill a particular office, why not ask members what interests them? Then analyze how the chapter could align that interest with a position of leadership? Identify the skill set that exists within the membership. Then ask how we can grow those skills. How can we create a path to success for our member leaders? Granted, this requires time and thought. This requires a plan that is continually evolving and growing.
As an Executive Board member, it is incumbent upon me to seek out and help develop potential future board members. All of us currently serving on the XB answer questions and consult with interested members about our day-to-day work serving AOII. All members of AOII, whether they hold office or not, have the same responsibility. Recommend a sister for an advisor position. Encourage a sister to apply for a work group or committee. Help a sister get the training or personal development needed to succeed in her next role. Create opportunities for members to grow and gain experience.