FINAL The following article is reprinted from the September/October 2003 issue of Hearing Loss. Message from the President of the Board By Ann Liming Another year in the life of SHHH has sped by. Board members and staff are busy advancing our mission and creating greater visibility for our organization. Without a doubt, those of you who are active at the local and state levels are doing the same as you exercise your leadership. I would like to pause for a moment to express my appreciation of those who have gone before us and laid the foundation upon which we are building this great organization today. It is impossible to name every individual, but by categories we have our founder, past executive directors and staff, former Board members and presidents, and members from around the country. None of us -- Terry Portis, current staff, Board members, or I, take the contributions of these individuals lightly. I would like to reflect on our successful 2003 SHHH Convention in Atlanta. The local organizing committee (LOC) and our staff worked very hard doing their parts to make the convention a great experience for everyone. In addition, our many sponsors, the wonderful presenters and exhibitors, the volunteers from across the country who worked with the LOC, the team that assured us access to all events, and our volunteer CART providers, were all a big factor in making the convention enjoyable and memorable. The people involved in arranging the Research Symposium did an excellent job and their work is appreciated as well. If you were there, your presence made the efforts of everyone worthwhile and you added your personal touch to the experience. Thanks to everyone who had a part in planning the convention and congratulations for your success! A very special part of the convention was the opportunity to host the president of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA), Colin Cantlie, and the executive director of CHHA, Janice McNamara. CHHA and SHHH have agreed to work together to improve conditions for people with hearing loss in our two countries. Our commitment to one another includes attendance at each other’s annual conventions. It was my privilege to represent you, the SHHH membership, the staff and Board, at the CHHA annual conference held in Calgary this past May. CHHA has many good programs and their members are passionate about their organization. SHHH and CHHA would like to strengthen our relationship and will continue to work together to do so. For more information about CHHA I encourage you to visit their website at www.chha.ca. SHHH has many opportunities and possibilities to look forward to in the coming year. Our staff and Board are committed to keeping you informed of our activities and programs. As we move forward I would like to remind each of you of your importance to SHHH and to the people you serve in your communities and state. No matter how big or how small we perceive our parts to be, we all occupy a position of leadership in this organization. There are many books that offer theories on leadership and give us steps to becoming a good leader. A few years ago, I stumbled upon a book about leadership that I have enjoyed. Its message is simple and is one I strive to carry out. That doesn’t mean that other materials are not helpful. It only means that this is the basis I want to build my own leadership skills on. Being human, I miss the mark sometimes and I find it much easier to share the message than to practice it. The title of the book is, Leading With Soul – An Uncommon Journey of Spirit. The authors, Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal, identify four gifts of leadership: authorship; love; power; and, significance. Authorship is defined as “…the feeling of putting your own signature on your work. It’s the sheer joy of creating something of lasting value. The feeling of adding something special to our world.” Think about the things that you do in your sphere of leadership. It may be in a chapter or state organization, or in your family or community. It may be to a large group of people or to a single individual, but you have the opportunity of putting your signature on your work and of giving others the opportunity to do the same. The second gift is love. The authors tell us that if we show people we don’t care, they will return the favor. The gift of love involves finding ways to show others we care, and a big part of this is finding out what really matters to another person. There are many ways we can demonstrate love in the work we do for SHHH. I am not talking about gushy sentimentalism but about caring for and about others. This is a gift that many people who are hard of hearing receive little of. The third gift is power. The gift of power means we sometimes have to admit mistakes. It involves listening, opening ourselves to the ideas of others and working together for success. The authors tell us that we can give power away and wind up with more. This may be the most difficult of the gifts to give away. Often it seems easier to do things ourselves but our motivation may be misinterpreted and resentment can readily set in. The last gift, significance “…comes from working with others, doing something worth doing, making the world better.” We confirm and deepen the feeling of significance through celebrations. It is the glue that holds us together. When we experience significance for ourselves, we long for others to experience it as well. And, as with the gift of power, when we give significance to others, we wind up feeling more significant ourselves. Thank you for embracing your leadership role in SHHH. Remember, no matter how important or unimportant your role may seem to you, it is of great importance to the organization. Enjoy the gifts of your leadership, and enjoy giving them away to others. Ann Liming is president of the SHHH Board of Trustees and lives in Landing, Michigan. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.