The selfie is as good a testament as any to the current age of self-absorption. That, of course, is typically accompanied by a social media channel that’s been curated to demonstrate everything about “me.” So how do we look outward instead of inward? And, are there models that we can follow?
President’s Cabinet Officers
I’m watching the turbulence around a new executive team entering the White House. I particularly like Rex Tillerson, now the Secretary of State. I had the pleasure of watching Rex at work with the Boy Scouts of America, where he served on many committees and as the President. His day job at the time was running Exxon Mobil as Chairman and CEO. Instead of retiring from what has to be an extremely challenging position, he’s extended his contribution to society by serving as Secretary of State. Talk about giving back.
Another one is Betsy DeVos, now Secretary of Education. She’s been giving back at the forefront of education in charter schools, school choice voucher programs, and much more for decades. Despite exposing herself to incredible character bashing from opponents, she’s stepped up to continue giving back.
Neither she nor Rex needed to take on these challenges. They are wealthy and accomplished. But they no doubt felt it their duty to give back to our society and contribute their talents to our governance. I wonder how many selfies they’ve taken…
Closer to Home
My next door neighbor has just started a new job, working as finance director for a Catholic high school for boys. Previously audit director at a major corporation, this CPA/MBA has elected to bring his high power experience and expertise to a nonprofit organization. It’s the next step in his career and involves a fair bit of giving back. But there are many rewards along that path.
At my home, I started working for the Boy Scouts in 1992. That involved moving from the for-profit corporate world into one of the largest nonprofits in the nation, if not the world. As with my neighbor, I brought an MBA as well as considerable experience in publishing and training development. The guy that hired me said I was the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, I had the dynamite and knew how to use it…
Even so, it was a real blessing to contribute my expertise, experience, and hard work to help advance the Scouting movement. It was so much of a blessing that even though I’m retired I continue to make a contribution through volunteering in several roles. As one example, I’ve just returned from a meeting at the World Scout Bureau in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where our team began developing a strategic plan for the largest Scouting event in the world – Jamboree on the Air – Jamboree on the Internet.
You Can Do It Too
There are lots of ways to seek out employment opportunities in nonprofit organizations. There are even more opportunities for volunteers and donors. Where’s your passion and interest? If you can’t switch careers or organizations, you can certainly volunteer or donate time, talent, and treasure.
It can be a very rewarding PathForeWord. But, it’s based on giving back, not taking selfies or spending time demonstrating to your circle of social media friends how wonderful you are.