22 Jun Call to Service
I’m still reeling from UTC Telecom & Technology 2023 just a few weeks ago. This conference was slightly different this year, in my new role with UTC, but the mission was, and still is, the same. For those who were not with us in Fort Lauderdale, I want to ask you for a favor, just as I did with the Opening General Session audience. I want you to join me in my call to service mission.
Think of a time when you’ve been called to serve. We’ve all been there, whether we realize it or not. Remember the coveted “Line Leader” role in elementary school? Being trusted with the task of leading the class in from recess was worn like a badge of honor.
If you’ve ever been a part of a scouting organization, their missions are completely centered around service, and you quite literally wear badges to represent those acts of service. These are some of the examples I can think of from the earlier years of life, throughout childhood. As you make your way through adolescence, into your teenage years, serving can lose its appeal for some. Maybe it’s not “cool” anymore or the reward isn’t what it used to be, at least not physically. We must remember that we’re not always going to get a badge to wear, a trophy to add to our dresser or a certificate for Mom and Dad to display on the fridge.
When you step up to serve, it should always be selfless.
I’m proud to say that I have been serving my entire life. Yes, I have received honors or awards throughout the years- but in much of the time that I’ve spent serving- there was no reward, and that is something that I am okay with. The reward is getting the job done.
As we become more seasoned in life, our responsibilities inevitably increase. Our options to serve become broader. The saying “good work is rewarded with more work” couldn’t be truer. I think I’m speaking to most of you reading this when I say that in this industry, or just in life for that matter, it is easy to feel like we’re being pulled in multiple directions at once. Finding that balance between multiple obligations or commitments can become stressful at times. Prioritization is key. Set deadlines for yourself, set goals for yourself, and ensure that you are still making that personal time for yourself and your loved ones. Don’t lose sight of your mental and physical health. If you feel like you can’t give 100% on something, take a step back and regroup, reset, and relax- do what you need to do to be your best self when it’s time for you to answer that call to service.
I have instances that I can insert to reinforce the point of finding balance and reevaluating my priorities. Ultimately, I found myself as Vice Chair while I was leading a men’s group at church, was a Boy Scout Leader, was Chairman of the School Board, and was the President of the Firefighters Association. As I saw the move to Chair coming – I had to make some choices as to where to pare back the time so that I could focus. I had worked hard to build capacity in the teams that were part of each of those efforts. While I was missed and part of me still wanted to stay involved in all these other organizations, I knew I would not be able to contribute my full self. I did what was best for me and the people within those organizations and because of that, the organizations all continued to thrive.
Now, I’ve found myself in this new role as Interim President and CEO for UTC. I can honestly say that I never thought I’d be here, but I always knew that UTC came with a lifetime membership for me. I’ve always felt like a part of this family from the moment I joined, and I have always been encouraged by this organization to continue to serve my community and our members.
I want to thank Sheryl Riggs for her leadership and service over the years as President and CEO. I appreciate her trust in me as she passed the torch and put her faith in my leadership and ability to serve as I was called upon to fulfill this role as Interim President and CEO.
In this role, I am going to make it one of my goals to call each of you to join me in service. Most of you already have the ability to serve, but do you have the willingness? Can you make the time? This is where I want to encourage you to get out of your comfort zone. Consider joining a UTC Committee as your first step. This is an easy way to get your foot through the door and connect with your colleagues over shared interests and goals.
Although we just wrapped up the 2023 annual conference, we are already putting out a call for presentations for 2024. What sessions do you want to see on the agenda? Is there something you saw at this past conference that you’d like to participate in next year or maybe there is something you’d like to see done differently? Let us know!
Throughout the conference, there was a lot of buzz about the association being pushed back towards a more technical focus. The work on the troubleshooting guide, the Software Defined Networking (SDN) group and the IPv6 group are all efforts in that direction. We will need their help to know where to go next.
Remember, UTC is member driven. The service must start with you.