What I’ve learned from having strong leaders is that it’s a quality that can’t be taught from a book. It’s inherent, identified and sharpened by more experienced leaders, and honed through practiced decision making.
Going thru the pain and overcoming challenges is another ability instilled in you by those more experienced leaders. Adapting to situations and always maintaining a sharp mind (when run down and tired) is what I learned to do. A 30-mile road march in Alaska now couldn’t break me. Minus sixty-two in Fairbanks, fine. 15 months in Iraq with countless missions at a breakneck pace became normalcy. Heart and team. This is how I envision Expert-Exchange. There is no quit in this mission, if we fail, they fail.
My service decisions effected lives, and now these real-world decisions via Expert-Exchange are also effecting lives. The importance of treating these decisions as life and death, matters. This was a quality I learned from the military and it’s stuck with me until today. This same loyalty and duty are now my mission for Expert-Exchange. I’ve realized I have an innate sense of professional integrity and always wish to do the right thing. It may be a little old school but I feel it’s a critical trait in todays world beleaguered by skepticism and dishonesty.
I was an NCO. NCO’s are the backbone of the army. Officers make the decisions and give the orders, NCO’s are the ones who carry them out and direct their success. The title is earned via hard work and respectfulness. This is why you can have faith in my call of duty to this endeavor. I will strive to be mission oriented and tirelessly do the right thing by those we help. This is a call of duty for humanity.
The military taught me the importance of teamwork. For Expert-Exchange to work effectively there needs to be this model in place. In the military my team consisted of many moving pieces, and without that I could not do my job nor could they do theirs. Same goes with Expert-Exchange. I need a team to complete the task at hand and grow. Once that team is in place, Expert-Exchange can fulfill its objective.
As a leader one must generate enthusiasm. The goal is not autocracy, but to inspire others to emulate. Establishing trust is key. The teams trust comes from respect born of a belief in your integrity as a leader. Furthermore, you would never ask anyone to do something you yourself were not prepared to do. A leader is always there for the team and never afraid to admit when they were wrong.
Leadership is a significant responsibility. Lives depend on it. The temptation for some is to be arrogant in the role, and perhaps that pride can diminish clarity of vision. But here in Cambodia there is an opportunity for humility at every turn. There is no room for arrogance and face saving, time is of the essence, people need help now.
After a long road and much planning the days of action have finally arrived! I’ve settled-in and started to reach out to other NGO’s and communities to put in place projects that will dramatically shift the standard of living for selected villages. The amount of work that needs to be done is a little overwhelming, but there seems to be an abundance of capable, enthusiastic volunteers. For me the challenge is how to affect the most change and do it the best way with limited resources, so, I’m approaching it on a case-by-case basis. Who wouldn’t love to “change” the world, but I'm a pragmatist at heart and can only do so much, and at an honest pace. I believe - with care, patience and diligence - I WILL implement improvement for select families, within a community and thereby create my base model. From infrastructure, to conveyance of expertise, to preparation of the host community and on to the final microfinance with ongoing support, I believe EXPERT-EXCHANGE will manifest a strong and worthy template.
To quote a cliche is easy - “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” - but how many nonprofits successfully implement this ethos? Modern non-profits need to run like smart businesses: in our case that means loans are holistically supported and monitored for maximum results. Success will be measured by the longevity of donated funds and how many cycles they successfully enable: but that success will be seeded firstly by the Experts who choose to engage with this program. Which of you will join me?
Be a leader, nurture a leader. It’s an exciting opportunity and it’s right here, now! I encourage anyone to get involved (not just my service brothers and sisters), for this program WILL change people’s lives for the better. The best part of being an Envoy is that in just a month of sharing you CAN change someone’s life permanently. All it takes is 30-days of your time. As an Ambassador you CAN invigorate multiple families/communities with a single donation. Our mission is to take the very least you can offer and turn that into miracles that keep on giving. Please, make 2015 a year of beneficence. Happy New Years, let’s make it amazing!
Executive Director's Blog
Follow Macie through SE Asia as he embarks on a humanitarian adventure and assists inspirational individuals to improve their life quality.