If We Build it, will they come? Or: how we prepared the ballot for HAPS

Go AWAY. We told you we don’t want to run for an office!

One of the duties of the HAPS president-elect is to develop the ballot for the next year’s election. This year, the ballot consists of candidates for president-elect, secretary, central regional director, and southern regional director. When I became president-elect, I knew this task would be one of my most important in this upcoming year.  It also was a task that stressed me out immensely.  What if I was unable to find enough qualified candidates who were willing to run for the position?  Would I become the equivalent of the garrulous party guest that everyone tries to avoid, as I tried to solicit nominations for the ballot?  And if I did ‘build’ a good ballot, would the voters ‘come’ to the polls and vote?

Luckily the president-elect does not need to take on this task alone.  S/he appoints members to be part of a Nominating Committee to help with this procedure.  So how to appoint such a committee?  Lesson #1 – first ask these dedicated, overachieving and hard-worked individuals if they would like to be candidates for the ballot, but if they cannot run, to consider being part of the Nominating Committee.  And *that* is how I quickly populated my Nominating Committee.  It is all a matter of perspective. 🙂

HAPS is populated with with many qualified, hardworking individuals who would make great officers.  But many of these people (yes, I am talking to YOU) doubt themselves, and hesitate to run.  They think that they may not do a good job, that the work may be too much, etc.  In other words – some of these people are their own worst critics.   Thankfully, not everyone feels this way.  While some may have some concerns about running and may be a little hesitant at first, they don’t let their fears prevent them from helping an organization that is important to them.  Thus, the HAPS nominating committee was able to prepare a ballot with multiple qualified candidates.

Where do we vote for HAPS officers again?

So, now that we have a great ballot, will all of you do your part and vote?  I would love for this to be the year where we have the highest voter participation record ever for a HAPS election.  We ‘built’ the ballot – please ‘come’ to the election and make your voice heard!  (All you have to do is click on the photo.)

HAPS leadership opportunities and volunteering, or ‘how I came to write a blog for HAPS’

Have you ever wondered (in a positive sense, I hope) “How did I get to this place in my life or career?” Some people have a specific life plan that they followed religiously. Then there are people like me, who may have started off with a plan, but in the process I meandered off the original path and serendipitously found myself in my current path, which includes being president-electtwopaths of HAPS.

How the heck did THAT happen?

I would like to say that I carefully planned out my entrance and involvement in HAPS- but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. When I attended/presented at my first annual HAPS meeting in 2001, I was a bit intimidated and wondered what I could possibly contribute to the organization. I was used to other organizations where there tended to be a ‘hierarchy’ – those more established would present, and we mere underlings would ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over their achievements and stand in line to ‘kiss their ring.’ But HAPS was different. There WAS no hierarchy. Instead, there was a group of caring educators who treated each other like equals, and who wanted EVERYONE to participate. And so began my HAPS journey. I was encouraged to participate in committees – ‘but what could *I* contribute?”, I thought? Turns out, a lot – just as much as everyone else at the table. Just like all of YOU have a lot to contribute but may be just as hesitant as I once was.And so I progressed from committee member, to committee chair, to elected official of HAPS.

So how DID I come to write a blog for HAPS? In our monthly Board of Directors (BOD) meetings, we discussed the HAPS blog and I naively mentioned that it would be nicevolunteer_mug if BOD members contributed, and talked about their experiences. Oops – before I knew it, I am at the keyboard writing the first blog from the BOD. Serendipity, you are a double-edged sword. But interestingly, I am having fun with this new venture! Some of you may be hesitant about volunteering and exploring leadership opportunities in HAPS, but instead of heeding the words on the mug (pictured), just jump in and participate! You will be glad you did – I know I am!