Learning Self-Reliance: Serving as a Liaison
I worked in non-profit management for three years before opting to change my career. My role at the company where I worked was to serve as the staff liaison for the annual meeting program planning committee of a Bioethics association. The annual meeting that I planned throughout the entire process had almost 300 individual sessions and over 500 presenters. I was the only staff person to communicate with the presenters to ensure that they were prepared for the meeting. The meeting had the highest attendance rate, with over 1,000 people, since its inception in 1998.
Importance of the Experience
The previous annual meeting was the first annual meeting that I attended for this association, but I started at the company only two months prior to the meeting. While I was involved in the final phases of planning, my supervisor had handled most of the details. I assisted her on-site at the meeting as she guided me through the process. Following my attendance at the first meeting, I became the staff liaison of the program planning committee. My supervisor was not involved as she was assigned to work on a different client. I did have her support in the office to inquire about procedures, but she did not travel to the meeting. I recalled the procedures that I saw at the previous meeting and followed the predetermined schedule of events. This included the set-up prior to the start of the meeting as well as the daily session preparation, such as scripts for announcers and session sign-in sheets. The committee was pleased with the outcome and thanked me for my determination and energy to ensure that the meeting was beneficial for attendees.
This experience taught me about my ability to take charge of a situation. Dividing up the annual meeting into smaller tasks, such as presentations, registration, exhibition, and ancillary events allowed me to focus on all responsibilities individually. I am capable of leading a group of people. By handling multiple components of the meeting, I was able to enact my strong organizational skills. My timeliness in ordering promotional products, completing marketing materials, confirming presentations, and efficient on-site management impacted the success of the meeting. My enduring work ethic enabled me to complete each task of the meeting. For instance, I created the program book template as well as completed all the editing for it. When dealing with a large, varied population, I had to understand that I could not please every individual. Instead, I made responsible decisions that would benefit the majority of the presenters and attendees. I focused on making every aspect of the meeting successful while handling a myriad of demands. I put forth tireless effort and determination to ensure the attendees found the meeting beneficial to their professional development.
Impact of the Experience
Recognizing my ability to make difficult decisions transfers into my live as an educator. My decisions may not always be popular with my students, but I want to convey to them that I am making choices for their benefit. Furthermore, my responsibilities as a staff liaison will help me to work with a variety of students, parents, and colleagues. Dealing with a variety of personalities as a staff liaison has shown me how to effectively communicate ideas as well as collaborate with peers. This will be essential in my teaching experience. I will demonstrate the importance of team work to my students and how to take responsibility for your own actions to be a resourceful team player. Additionally, it has impacted how I work with collaborating teachers during my observation as a graduate student. I am thankful for teachers inviting me into their classrooms and view them as knowledgeable resources in the field.