The P.E.O. Record July-August 2022 (public)

SPECIAL | feature

You’re Not

in Charge,

Madam President!

I joined P.E.O. in 2007, I was a very young 32 years old and I only mildly understood what P.E.O. was at the time. I served as corresponding secretary for several years in my chapter and even up until a few years ago I never thought I could handle, yet alone enjoy, being president. I was absent for several years when we temporarily lived abroad and when my children were very young, but even in my absence I always paid my dues and eventually I was ready to rejoin as a participating member of the chapter. My sisters were very gracious and encouraging to me as I regained my footing and served again as the corresponding secretary. My work as an officer helped me to see the inner workings of P.E.O. and I understood more fully what P.E.O. was all about. I love that two-thirds of our mission statement isn’t about fundraising, it’s about helping each other. The longer I am in P.E.O., the more fully I understand this. The loving concern for each sister is genuine and constant. This is part of what made my decision to accept the nomination for president such an easy one. I knew that the women in my chapter were nothing but gracious, forgiving, encouraging and full of kindness and would only want me to succeed. And this desire for others to be successful flows down, not only from the chapter, but from the state/

provincial/district and International officers as well. P.E.O. is doing a great job of making it easy to understand the role of each officer with online training and easy access to district representatives. “You’re not in charge, Madam President!” This is what I remind myself before the meeting starts, that we work together. It’s funny, all those years when I was worried about being asked to be vice president (and presumably “I am not in charge of my chapter. When I start a meeting the only thing I am there for is to guide the flow of the meeting.” – Sunshine Regiacorte president following that) I was scared of something that didn’t really exist. I am not in charge of my chapter. When I start a meeting the only thing I am there for is to guide the flow of the meeting. I am there to help a team stay on task—a team of women that already know how to work well together and support each other. I remember when one of our members became president of the chapter and, having been installed the previous month, was running her first meeting.

She was older than me and someone I looked up to as a mentor and a professional in the community. How surprised I was when during that first meeting I saw that her hands were shaking as she turned the pages of the President’s Book. This woman that I looked up to was nervous! I realized how vulnerable she must have felt at that moment but also how much she trusted our group of women. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized that it’s okay to be nervous and it’s okay to feel insecure about what you’re doing as long as you’re willing to learn and try. Each “Madam President” sets an example for the future “Madam President’’ and this woman was a great example to me at that moment. If you’ve been serving as an officer and suspect that the time might be drawing near to take your turn with the gavel but you’re worried that you’re not cut out to be president I would urge you to allow your fear and worry to be transformed into enthusiasm and hope because your sisters only want to see you grow. Being president is work, don’t think I’m saying it isn’t, but it is worthy and rewarding work. And best of all, you don’t do it alone. Your sisters go before you and beside you—from all the past presidents to the officers and all the way down to the newest members. From my viewpoint, if you

ever find yourself working alone, you’re probably doing it wrong.


THE P.E.O. RECORD | July–August 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

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