The Rotaract Club of Tortola was chartered in June of 1984. A community service organization, dedicates its time and resources to helping those in need.
What is Rotaract?? Rotaract clubs bring together people between the ages 18 and 30 to exchange ideas with the leaders in the community, develop leadership and professional skills, and have fun through service. Rotaract clubs take the initiative and decide themselves, how they intend to run the club, manage their funds and plan and execute different community service projects which are usually aligned with monthly themes ensuring that they are important to your community. Rotary clubs that are already established in those communities are usually there to offer guidance and support and partner with Rotaract clubs in service.
In communities worldwide, Rotary and Rotaract members work side by side to act through service. From big cities to rural villages, Rotaract is changing communities like yours.
The Rotaract Club of Tortola is a service organization where members and guests alike are encouraged to come together for socializing for a greater good. The Motto “Service Through Fellowship”, encourages members to not only be a part of something, but to foster lasting relationships throughout one’s time as a member in the club and beyond. To date there are over 9000 clubs and almost 300,000 members worldwide.
The Current Leader:
The current President of the Rotaract Club of Tortola, has truly exemplified leadership. Since her landslide victory in the 2017/18 board elections, she hit the ground running. She gathered her board and met on several occasions in the earlier months of 2017, before taking up her presidency officially on July 1, 2017. The president planned for the proceeding year various service activities, professional development seminars and social gatherings for the club to foster personal and professional growth of current and prospective members and guests.
Although the Island has suffered great turmoil in the early months of her presidency, August flooding (which led to the cancellation of the annual Emancipation from Slavery festival parade in which the Club was to take part), and two category 5 hurricanes in September (which demolished more than half of the island), the President remained positive. In fact, she has gathered the club on several occasions to partake in distribution of vital essentials to the wider community with the Red Cross as well as the Government of the Virgin Islands in different districts of the Island.
As the island regained electricity and some sort of infrastructure normalcy, The Rotaract Club of Tortola resumed regular meetings in the early parts of October.
The president has taken the organization from a drama filled club, back to the values and core beliefs as to why the club initially originated. She is truly an authentic leader as she has often used her passion for service as well as her belief in the core values of what Rotaract entails to inspire and motivate her board as well as the club members despite the obstacles that the club has faced especially since taking up her presidency. As learned an authentic leader tend to have a clear understanding of themselves. (Daft, 2013) They embrace and their actions are consistent with values that are ethical. The president has remained “real”. She has remained not only true to the club and it’s beliefs, but she has also remained true to herself. She has inspired many with her openness and authenticity.
Passion: The president has pursued her purpose, not only as president, but as a rotaractor with a passion. As she demonstrates high levels of purpose, she inspires commitment from the board as well as members and prospective members of the Rotaract Club of Tortola.
Practice solid Values: Although The president strongly believes in the core values of the Club, she also values her own beliefs and she has remained true to them even in the face of adversity. Members of the club are aware of what she stands for and this has inspired trust.
Leading with hearts and heads: Remaining compassionate and also knowing when to make tough decisions can sometimes be hard. As the devastation of the island has left many without places of abode, The president was left to make tough choices such as collection of monthly club dues. Members who expressed their financial positions, she understood and allowed them to still partake in club activities promising to contribute in any little way that they could.
Establish Relationships: Even prior to her presidency, as a member of the Rotaract Club of Tortola, the president has built relationships with members of the club as well as other Rotary Partners established in the British Virgin Islands. Because she has established genuine friendships with members of the club, the board has a genuine connection and are able to discuss ideas and current issues with little to no disagreements.
Demonstrates good self-discipline: The president has demonstrated excellent self-discipline as a member so It came as no surprise that she would have portrayed the same behavior as president. She knows when to take risks that are well calculated ensuring not to harm the club. If she makes a mistake, she openly admits and owns up to it.
SWOT Analysis is a tool that the club has not used during its stages of planning. SWOT Analysis includes such a meticulous assessment of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that can impact an organization’s performance. (Daft, Strategy Formulation and Execution: SWOT Analysis, 2013) Although there are identifiable variables, the club has not fully focused on analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Strengths are internal factors. Two strengths that the club may capitalize on are;
– Support for the local community who are in need because of hurricane Irma and Maria subsequently. The members of the club can engage in varying community service outreach programs which can help restore the community. This can vary from donations to family in need, assisting with resource distribution and even small clean up initiatives to reduce the amount of debris remaining in different communities.
– The meeting place for meetings is usually inviting and comfortable. The board members can use this to their advantage as this can encourage engagement amongst guests and new members and encourage them to keep coming back.
Weaknesses are also internal factors. I do believe that the club has not focused on this much. Two predominant factors that the club should venture to lessen or eliminate are;
– Decline in membership as a result of exclusion due to preexisting cliques and groups as well as due to persons relocating because of hurricane Irma. A lot of persons including myself have moved away from the BVI which has led to a drastic decrease in membership numbers for the club. This in turn leads to lower income for the club’s initiatives from membership dues, lower member turnouts at meetings, and community service outreaches.
– Poor reputation from unresolved conflicts within the club. This is a result of poor communication within the club amongst board members and club members as well. As mentioned before the club’s internal issues have been made public and many persons shy away from the club to avoid the unnecessary drama, both members and prospects.
Opportunities are external factors that the club can seek out as openings for growth. The club can seek out the following opportunities.
– More community service initiatives present themselves. This gives the club an opportunity to showcase themselves and let others know what the club is about with hopes of gaining new members.
– There are other organizations that exist, however they have less attractive programs, little to no community outreach or social interactions.
Threats are another external factor that may pose possible threats to the club’s growth. These are but aren’t limited to;
– Aggressive campaigning for new members by their sister club the Rotaract Club of Virgin Gorda. Many members of the Tortola club have already transferred to the Virgin Gorda Club because of more attractive programs and greater social interactions between the members there.
– Weakened economy due to the island’s devastation and many businesses closing. Because of this, the club may not receive sponsorships for joint community initiatives or donations for community service projects and special gifts and awards for deserving community members as well as members of the club.
As an authentic leader, there are many strengths that the president has. The president’s compassionate nature is welcoming and encourages members to partake in club initiatives, both social and community oriented. (Daft, 2013)Her understanding of personal situations has allowed members’ flexibility within the club regarding attendance, club dues etc. Leading with your heart does not always signify weakness. In fact, communicating and showing compassion is critical for success.
Authentic leaders are truly self-aware and genuine. The president does not act one way at home, or outside of club meeting times and another during. Her “real” self is portrayed in everything that she does. Her mistakes are owned up to and corrected where she can.
As an authentic leader, the president deliberates issues within the club having gathered opinions of the members whom the issues may impact. This makes the club’s members feel inclusive when it comes to making major decisions within the club.
The benefits of authentic leadership are numerous and can be beneficial in many ways. I mean who doesn’t want authenticity, especially in a leader?
It is important to note that although today’s society craves “real”, authentic leadership may not always promote progress within the club.
The president was left to make very critical decisions after the island was left devastated. Although many were left without abode, she waived attendance requirements and membership dues temporarily for some members and once they contributed their time or any other resource available to them at their disposal. This can be detrimental to the club as several of the club’s events (social and community oriented) are funded with club funds generated from dues paid by members. Showing too much compassion can also lead to members taking advantage of the president’s authentic nature.
Although the president’s genuine nature benefits the club, her willingness to own up to mistakes may lead to harsh criticism and unwarranted opinions from members as sometimes people are judged for being “too real”.
Another weakness of this style of leadership is the loss of time deliberating issues within the club. Authentic leaders tend to have all members weigh their opinion in on issues before making a decision. Although this gives voice to all, more time is spent soliciting opinions and weighing in on the needs and wants of the members of the club. This can cause slow decision making within the club. When the president feels strongly about a particular idea, members may not comply based on her position and may seek to question her values and fairness and her ability to make a decision from all points of view.
Authenticity begins with complete self-awareness; it is knowing who you are, what your values and what you are capable of, and how others see you. (Lisa Rosh, 2013) Authenticity has often been thought of as the opposite of artificial. It is something that is straightforward, something that is “real”. Great leaders understand that their authenticity needs to be meticulously managed to avoid stagnancy or worse, defiance within the club. (Rob Goffee, 2005) Despite the benefits of authentic leadership, it can backfire. In order to maintain a good balance between the advantages and disadvantages of authentic leadership, the president should adapt the following recommendations.
Going against our natural instincts can make the president feel as if she is no longer being authentic, even if there is a decision to be made to further enhance the growth of the organization. Being completely authentic can be perceived as one’s willingness or lack thereof to learn something new.
In Harvard Business Review, Hermainia Ibarra introduced the concept of Adaptive Authentic Leadership. She defines it as a growth process. Leaders must stick to their sense of integrity, but always be adaptive to new ideas and new behaviors. (Ibarra, 2015) She further delineates the dangers of being an authentic leader.
The idea of authenticity can become an excuse for a leader’s unwillingness to change as one may be too comfortable in their “true self”. It is important to understand that the authenticity of any leader should evolve as one reflects on who they are and seek ways in which they can improve. (Ibarra, 2015)
True leadership will almost always require a leader to step out of his or her comfort zones by challenging the people around them as well as themselves in order to grown as well as taking risks. Choosing to remain completely authentic to oneself can hinder growth and is not conducive to the growing aspects of leadership. It is important to understand that openness to growth and change does not compromise one’s authenticity. These are to be seen as vital keys of authenticity.
...(download the rest of the essay above)