At a recent meeting, DC EPIP members discussed the difficulties of managing an organization like ours in a city like DC. As a group of under-fortysomethings, we're getting established in our careers, taking on new professional obligations, finishing college, entering graduate school, having families, and more. In short, we're busy, busy, unbelievably busy people. That's not to say that other generations aren't busy. I can only assume that it just gets worse.
Add to the mix the transience of DC professionals. People are constantly coming and going. New opportunities take us to different places and back again.
It's a fast-moving, fluctuating membership of emerging leaders going places. Obviously, it's going to be tough to bring those people together. So we tried to come up with a new way of looking at the situation and a way of dealing with it:
Observation #1: When a leader leaves, celebrate. That's what we call a victory. If EPIP is about networking and professional development for emerging leaders, when an emerging leader gets an opportunity to lead through a promotion or a new job elsewhere, that's a victory. Yeah, it's going to be tough losing that leader to new responsibilities, but the organization should anticipate that. EPIP has to anticipate - at the very least, believe - in the possibility of its own success.
Observation #2: Go in pairs - at least. That means redundancy has to be built into everything we do. It means the buddy system. If only one person is heading up a program or event, that program or event is one scheduling conflict, one promotion, one job away from not happening. The Third Thursday lunches have survived leadership transitions and more because several wonderful people have taken it on. When one can't make it, another steps up. It's like a phalanx of gracious hostesses - and I get great lunches and great conversations because they scout for restaurants and send an invitation every month.
We work as a team. We work in teams. If one of us moves out, up, or on, we can celebrate with them because there's someone else to take up the tasks tomorrow. If we don't do this, we watch what we build disappear with the builders.