After a recent challenge to put into words how my year of presidency has helped me grow, I took some time and reflected on my amazing journey with The Jacksonville Bar Association in 2016.
This year of leadership has taught me more than I ever imagined I would learn in 365 short days. The words accountability, productivity, growth and self-confidence all came to mind.
I am leaving this position with a new outlook on people in leadership positions and feel like each and every one of us should contemplate and undertake a leadership role.
This remarkable journey has been a catalyst to become more focused, accountable and productive. I plan to get more done each day. I focus on tasks at hand with a renewed energy. I hold myself accountable to my schedule and hold others more accountable.
I’ve personally found that to be the best me, I start my day the night before with planning. I wake up and kick-start the day with exercise.
It is a critical component to starting my day right. I get more done, have more energy and stay energized for all the activities to come.
I discussed this mind-set with my husband, Jeff. I wanted to get his opinion on any changes he’d witnessed during the last year.
“You were focused before, but even more so now. You’re up at 5:30 a.m. every day, including weekends, and often you’re working out before I even get up,” he said.
Don’t get me wrong, we are all different and do best in different ways. I also deviate occasionally and take time to rest. Jeff added, “You also nap more during the weekends.”
In general, I do my best to power forward with my regular exercise and tasks but make sure to include a power nap on the weekends after cycling and running.
I’ve learned to trust my instincts more and to be a quicker thinker and better listener. I’ve learned to visualize and experience the future I want to achieve.
I’ve learned to listen to my inner motivator and less to my inner critic. I’m more comfortable in my skin and in my surroundings. I entertain ideas, but prioritize and implement those that are best aligned with organizational goals and ideals.
I’ve grown and developed more meaningful relationships. And perhaps, most important, I have made a point to celebrate big and small accomplishments and victories.
All of these lessons have come from JBA events — whether from luncheons, special events, board meetings or committee meetings. To be the best leader I could be, I strived to continue learning every day and share my findings with others.
In positions of leadership, there are challenging days, and at times, more criticism than praise. However, those tough days lead to the biggest breakthroughs.
I learned to take that feedback and focus on improving the impact of my work. Doing so has helped to keep me inspired, engaged, happy and invigorated.
I’ve grown into a more comfortable public speaker. I’ve let go some of my insecurities and been able to appreciate the moments where I can find motivation from seeing the difference our work is making in the community.
Whether it is the JBA staff, JBA members, community leaders or even friends, I’ve been humbled to hear from those who followed my columns and use the words to take action in their home or work life. It has been these same sentiments that encouraged me to stay visible.
I communicated regularly with members through newsletters, columns, events and pictures. The ability to stay connected has renewed our membership and left me with a profound sense of dedication.
However, I think the biggest leadership skill from this year of service is empowering. Trusting and empowering others is how transformational leaders implement change.
I learned to trust and empower the JBA Executive Committee, the JBA board, the JBA staff, section and committee leaders, members, my staff at Marks Gray, my friends and my family. They all provide the ideas, the best support and inspiration to keep going.
Over the past year, we engaged more than 2,000 members, increased membership, provided educational and relationship-building opportunities for all involved and made a positive impact in our community at large. The work of everyone combined has allowed me to learn and be the best me during this incredibly busy year or service.
By leading, I’ve learned to serve myself and my community better. Not only did I serve our JBA community, but I grew my business immigration practice, trained for and completed one Ironman, the Boston Marathon and my first ultramarathon.
Lastly, leadership, particularly in the JBA, will help teach you about your association. The JBA provides an amazing array of opportunities to grow and learn.
I could not have completed this year of learning without the amazing support from my husband, Jeff. It is through his help and support that I leave this year of service with a heart full of gratitude.
The JBA is more visible, more impactful and more recognizable in the community and that is what being a more productive me is all about.