servant leadership volunteering

Servant Leadership and a Philosophy of Giving Back

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that there are lots of opportunities for healthcare marketing and strategy professionals to give back to the profession through involvement in national, state, and regional associations. There are all kinds of volunteer opportunities including serving on boards and committees, speaking at conferences, and contributing content to their publications. I’ve always been one who wants to serve and believe that through servant leadership I can help create opportunities for others in the field and enrich their experiences. It is also my belief that you can’t go wrong by putting forth a spirit of generosity and kindness within your professional life. My perspective is that I belong to a community of healthcare marketers, strategists, and communicators, and want to do what I can to better that community.

Last week I was reminded of the importance and value of servant leadership when I attended a board meeting of the New England Society for Healthcare Communications (NESHCo). We are all busy professionals and volunteering to serve on a board or committee of one of our professional associations can seem daunting. I get it. At the end of a long week of business travel, I flew from a speaking engagement in Arkansas to Boston just so I could attend this board meeting. Just getting to the meeting was exhausting. But, once I walked into the conference room and began interacting with my fellow board members, I was re-energized. The NESHCo board is comprised of really smart professionals who are dedicated to the organization’s mission. They all work to position the organization as the pre-eminent resource for healthcare marketers and communicators in New England. We work to give our constituents the tools they need to make them more successful in their jobs, to adapt to the changes that are taking place in our field, and to elevate the stature of the marketing department within their organizations. We want to make sure that the marketing team has a seat at the strategy table.

For consultancies and other firms providing services to healthcare organizations, sponsoring conferences can be a great way to support the profession. Most of the time when my firm sponsors healthcare marketing conferences, we are doing it to support the professional association hosting the conference. We have no expectation that our sponsorship will bring us business. Sponsoring the conference is another way to give back. These conferences, particularly the regional conferences like CHPRMS and NESHCo, could not take place without the support of sponsors. With that in mind, we are happy to do our part. As the chair of the sponsorship committee for the Carolinas Healthcare Marketing & Public Relations Society (CHPRMS), I am uniquely focused on the value that sponsors provide! Their support is priceless.

Another opportunity for servant leadership involves volunteering to serve on the judging panels of industry award competitions. This month I will be judging the 2019 Digital Health Awards. It is something I do every year and thoroughly enjoy the experience. There are lots of awards competitions out there and lots of opportunities for anyone interested in serving as a judge.

In closing, I’d encourage you to think about what type of volunteer role might be right for you. If you need help identifying the right opportunity, feel free to contact me and I’ll point you in the right direction.

One closing caveat: Too often people take on volunteer positions, particularly board positions, for the wrong reasons. Yes, this kind of activity looks good on a resume; but you should not join a board or committee if you’re not planning to roll up your sleeves and do some hard work.

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