National Capital Chapter

Thoughts from the National Board

By Sam Villegas, APR, Mid Atlantic District Director, PRSA National Board
As my first two-year term on the National Board of PRSA comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the experience, in search of the lessons I can impart and take with me into my next term. It’s been a challenging couple of years, but strangely, I don’t feel drained or defeated by the challenges. In fact, sitting here thinking back on the year and looking forward to next, I feel hopeful, empowered and wiser for the wear. And I think that’s because of three things: gratitude, patience and perspective.

The most overwhelming feeling I have right now is gratitude. I am so thankful for the experience of leading this organization. Though it’s been challenging at times, it has been fun and didactic and rewarding. I am grateful for the lessons and the opportunity to sharpen this skill set, but most of all, I am grateful for the people I have had the chance to meet who have inspired me, taught me, and modeled amazing restraint and wisdom.
I continue to work on patience. Like many leaders, I am a doer, and I like results. But this organization is HUGE. There’s a lot going on that affects a lot of people, many of whom are doing the work of this organization on top of a full-time job, or a full class load, or both. So things take time. And the process is as critical as the outcome. So I am learning to be more patient, and trust that those around me are all doing their darnedest to balance their personal, professional and PRSA lives with grace and fortitude. They want what I want – a strong, effective, high performing and successful organization. It’s just hard. And we have lives, and opinions and competing solutions. So I am practicing patience and faith and respect for all those things. And I know we will get there, together.
Last, this role on National Board has given me more perspective. Everyone on a Board is important, and success requires commitment at all levels. No decisions are just easy or clean. In fact, 99 percent of the time we are all between a rock and hard place, weighing the pros of going one way, the cons of going another, and finally settling on what we believe is the best course forward. It’s usually a compromise that positively impacts the most and negatively impacts the least, but always a compromise, always with the best of intentions, with the best information we have in the moment.
The stress of serving and leading can be enormous, and the stakes are high. But having a Board that disagrees congenially, then rallies together as a team behind the final decision makes it better. I cherish our National Board for our ability to do this over the last two years, and I look forward to this continued teamwork into my next two.
Cheers to all Board members wherever you may serve for the work you do, often unknown or unnoticed; the emotional labor you perform; the little wins, the compromises, and the losses you take with grace. Cheers and thanks to everyone who had a role in PRSA’s collective success this year, and best wishes for 2019!