Editor’s Note: Stepping Up

The inspiration for volunteer leadership, which isn't always an easy thing to fit in with everything else.

The inspiration for volunteer leadership, which isn’t always an easy thing to fit in with everything else.

What inspires busy people to carve out time to volunteer for the challenging work of governing an association? Most volunteer leaders have more than enough career and personal obligations to fill their days, evenings, and weekends many times over. But somehow, association board members fit volunteer leadership into the mix, and their organizations are vastly better for it.

We wondered how and why they do it. So, in a special feature in this year’s Volunteer Leadership Issue, we asked Maggie McNally Bradshaw, Vinsen Faris, and Gaby Maldonado. We think you’ll enjoy meeting them.

Bradshaw is chair of the American Motorcyclist Association, a lone biker chick leading an otherwise all-male board. Faris is a longtime Meals on Wheels Association of America board leader who walks the walk when it’s time to take the association’s message to lawmakers. And Maldonado is a young up-and-comer on the board of the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation with an eye on developing the organization’s future leaders (it seems likely she’ll be among them). Although their organizations have little in common, these three volunteers share the commitment needed to do nuts-and-bolts governance work and the imagination it takes to see a future that could look very different from the present.

Volunteer leadership takes both: a focus on today and a vision for what comes next. This issue aims to help you with that in a handful of full-length features and the annual Board Primer. Keep it handy as you go about your leadership work. And if you meet other inspiring volunteer leaders along the way, I hope you’ll introduce us.

(Al Trendo/Glow Images)

Julie Shoop

By Julie Shoop

Julie Shoop is the Editor-in-Chief of Associations Now. MORE

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