Leadership

3 Lessons: Continuing Education

By / Apr 15, 2013 (Photo by John Koltner)

For William D. Pawlucy, MPA, IOM, CAE, the Chairman and CEO of Association Options in St. Paul, Minnesota, leadership means constant learning.

Learning never ends.

In a five-year period, I was elected president of a state society, earned my master’s degree, and earned my CAE. But I knew I wasn’t done. Today, I’m in my second year as an examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and I’ve gained a tremendous amount of education and experience in this position. I’ve kept digging and learning to ensure that I provide value while maximizing my portability in my career.

You’ll have to fight stereotypes.

In my first executive director position at an association, I worked with older and “wiser” professionals who attacked my credibility because of my age. They didn’t know I had significant business experience in Asia and Europe. You cannot fight or argue the fact that you are a younger professional, but you can arm yourself with education.

Leadership builds on itself.

Leadership has brought me to where I am today as a successful owner of a company dedicated to addressing nonprofit issues. That work has led me to increasingly complex projects with complex demands. I have gone beyond the corner office to a global office. But my goal has remained the same: Lead with humility and follow with urgency.

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