By The Peer Engagement Team
Looking back through the program for our recently-concluded Conference, one is struck by the number of times one came across the same names popping up, over and over, for this program and that, for this duty and that, for this office and that. It quickly became apparent that a small group of people was responsible for a big part of the Conference and a big part of running PCB. This is not a good thing. It is not good for these people, and it is not good for PCB. Too few people running too many things leads to insularity, staleness, and burnout. But what can be done?
First, it must be emphasized that the people in this small group are not aspiring oligarchs, dedicated to hording power, and controlling everything. They do as much as they do because the work must be done and there are not enough peers stepping up to take on responsibilities. These people would like nothing better than to give up some of their offices, share duties, and mentor peers to succeed in making PCB more inclusive, more diverse, more energized, and more effective.
Second, peers should know by now that PCB is an organization that encourages participation, supports initiative, and values team entrepreneurship. If you volunteer to help, you will not be left out on your own. You will be welcomed into a team, asked to identify your skills and passions, given duties that play to your strengths, and provided mentoring so you have the best chance to succeed and to advance to leadership roles.
Third, PCB is only as strong as its renewing crop of leaders. No organization can thrive if its leadership consists of burned-out veterans. There must be a crop of leaders rising through the ranks, learning the ropes, bringing new perspectives, contributing fresh energies, and remaking PCB to meet new and different challenges.
Fourth, this can only happen if peers step out of their comfort zones, volunteer, make a commitment, learn new skills, and do the work. PCB has so many individuals with talent that is simply not being tapped, nurtured, and harnessed. Peers are the lifeblood and engine of PCB and if peers don’t feel like PCB works for them, peers should ask how they can work for PCB.
Finally, you, as a PCB peer, must ask what am I doing to make PCB stronger? What experiences, expertise, or enthusiasms do I have that I can share with a PCB team? Where can I not only fit in, but also make a difference? Membership has its privileges, but it also has its responsibilities. When too many rely on the effort of too few, no one wins. We all lose. You lose because you don’t enjoy the feeling of being part of a big, vibrant, powerful community. The small group loses because they only see another year of limited participation and continued overwork. And PCB loses because the small group withers and the organization hollows out from the center. Only you can stop this process. Look around you, learn about all that PCB is doing, figure out how you can help, and dare to become a leader!
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