For Sharleene Cano Quiara, CAE, director of membership and publications for the American Thyroid Association, learning to lead takes ongoing commitment.
Conquer doubts. As a younger association professional, sometimes my relative lack of experience, skills, and knowledge has made me hesitant to participate in professional growth opportunities. I had to overcome this apprehension by committing to becoming a leader in the industry. Pushing myself outside of my comfort zone continues to be essential. This is an ongoing process—to get involved and stay invested—but the commitment is paying off, in both career and personal growth.
Communicate openly. Speak up, be honest, be transparent, and, most important, share what you do and don’t know. I have learned that sharing information empowers the group and serves the greater good. The challenges of time and work deadlines, to get the right information in front of the right people, are always before us, but the benefit of communicating what you know is totally worth it.
Lead with compassion. Even though it’s my natural bent to show concern and support for my colleagues, it can be a challenge, especially on busy days. My interpersonal and “interprofessional” relationships are a priority. I am dedicated to sharing and learning with others, including my experiences, strengths, weaknesses, goals, and challenges. Strong leaders embrace compassion and growth that enhances the collective strength of the team, project, committee, or organization.