MARY ANNE MARR, SR/WA
Blueprint for Success
Chapter resources help volunteer leaders
achieve their goals
I have always believed that our
Chapters are the heart of the IRWA.
This is where most of our members
realize the value of being a member.
And getting involved can really take
that value to a new level.
Although leading a Chapter,
Committee or Region may sound
like a daunting task, it can be very
rewarding both professionally and
personally. Yet, I understand how
many of our volunteers might feel
a little intimidated as they step into
their new roles. If you find yourself
asking how you got into this new role,
how you will find the time or how
you will learn what’s needed to carry
out your responsibilities, please know
that you are not alone. All of us want
you to succeed!
In June, our leadership will transition
as we install new officers at the
Annual Conference. That means now
is the time to start preparing for your
new leadership role. Let’s focus on the
Chapter level and on our incoming
Chapter Presidents. Are you ready to
As an incoming Chapter President,
have you thought about what you
hope to accomplish during your
term? A strong leader will set goals
and priorities and then develop plans to
achieve them. For example, do you want
to grow your membership base? If so, it’s
important to establish a target number of
how many new recruits you hope to add
to your current membership so that you
can monitor your progress. If you want
want to increase meeting attendance,
determine by how much. Would you
like to see more members taking IRWA
courses or attaining their credentials?
Outlining the number of courses you
want to present, which courses are
needed and how many attendees you
hope to attract will help you put your
plan into action.
These are just some examples of targets
that you can easily set. I encourage you
to set three to five goals. The key here
is not to wait until you are Chapter
President to begin your planning. Once
established, your team can develop
action plans to help you achieve them.
Remember to revisit your goals, targets
and action plans at every board meeting.
This will be your blueprint to success!
Strong Chapters are comprised of strong
teams where everyone is working toward
common goals. Some members of your
team are elected, but many positions are
appointed and serve at the request of the
Chapter President. Now is the time to
address some really tough questions: Do
you have well functioning committees?
Do your current committee
leaders understand their roles and
responsibilities? Are there too many
committees? Should the existing
Committee Chairs continue serving or
is it time for a change? If any of them
have evolved to a committee of one,
it may be time for some new recruits.
Because education and membership
are vital to IRWA’s growth, I believe
the core positions are the Chairs of
the Membership Committee, the
Professional Development Committee
and the Education Committee.
Know Your Resources and
You are not alone in your leadership
journey! I encourage you to build a
close working relationship with your
Region leadership and your dedicated
staff support. Talk to them, ask for
their help and listen to their advice.
Get to know your Region Chairs and
Vice Chairs. They offer a wealth of
information and support. They are
familiar with each Chapter within their
Region and can share best practices
and help guide you throughout the
year. Region Chairs are also your
elected members on the International
Governing Council and help IRWA
with strategic direction and in the
development of programs and policies