May 7, 2020  |  Written By Kelley Weisenbacher

I currently wear many hats Wife, Mother, Full Time Employee, Volunteer, Cancer Survivor, and most recently Chairman of the Board. I have been an active volunteer at Chicago Street Theatre for 16 years. I’ve been on the board for 5 years and this past year, I took on the role as Chair. When I made this decision, I didn’t realize the impact it would have on me personally. This has been a learning experience and I have grown in strength and wisdom.   

The people in our Northwest Indiana communities are known for their passion to give back. If you’re considering taking on a lead role inside an organization you’re passionate about, allow me to shine some light on what that might look like for you! Below are key items that have been vital to me on my journey as Board Chair at Chicago Street Theatre!

Support of Your Family: 

  • My husband and two daughters are my rock. I would not be able to achieve anything without their willingness to come along and be a part of my goal. When I decided to join the board, it became a family affair. My husband supports me at home, with the girls, and at the theatre as a volunteer. My daughters even come down to the theatre to “work” and at an early age they are learning the act of volunteerism. 

Dedication: 

  • Immerse yourself in knowledge of the organization’s past, present, and future goals.
  • Dedication means giving of your time.  Depending on the type of board, be understanding and receptive to the amount of time it will take to achieve those goals.   

Integrity: 

  • Let integrity guide you. Be open, honest, and true to yourself in all actions and that will bring solidarity. 

Inspire Others: 

  • Organizations will not grow if you are unable to train and nurture future volunteers.  Make it a goal to encourage the next round of volunteers to take ownership and believe in your mission. 

Build Relationships: 

  • Listen. Listen. Listen.  People want to be heard, feel validated, and understood.  Whether right or wrong sometimes all it takes to calm a situation, or spark an imaginative concept is to listen to the ideas and thoughts of others. 
  • Build a team you can trust and rely on. You can achieve more as a team than you ever could by yourself.  

Surround Yourself with Experts: 

  • You do not have to be the most knowledgeable in the room or know how to get everything done. The key is to surround yourself around others who are smarter than you and lean on them for their expertise when needed.  

Become a Leader 

  • Be humble and thankful. Have courage to do the right thing. Remember to stay calm.  Empathy and respect toward your peers go a long way. Have patience with yourself and others. The true definition of a leader is not for you to shine but be able to teach and encourage others to shine.  

I’m extremely proud of this organization and when it’s my time to step down, I know the theater will continue to grow and succeed with the future leaders we’ve cultivated.

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