By: Julie Bullard
It may be surprising to some to learn that I consider myself an introvert but it is absolutely true. I don’t like large groups, I don’t like speaking in front of others, and I don’t like networking events where you have to make small talk. Joining the JLI was a challenging experience for me as an introvert. Going to GMMs, participating in committee meetings, etc. were uncomfortable at first, but I quickly learned that taking advantage of more opportunities offered by the JLI would give me confidence and help me feel more easily engaged.
During my provisional year I participated in as many trainings and volunteer opportunities as possible leading me to meet more people and get to know the JLI better. Each event I went to got easier and by the end of the year I knew I wanted to apply to chair a committee my first active year. Being a leader automatically helps connect you with others. You have a committee to work with, other leaders on your council, and your Council VP all around you. It’s a built-in way to be engaged.
My second active year, I was double-placed in leadership, being a provisional mentor and also chairing the Tutors in Action committee. The more leadership roles I took on, the more people I got to know and the better experience I had in the JLI. I was learning about the league, the community, working and leading teams… all really great experiences to gain that can be difficult for an introvert to achieve on their own.
My third active year I was slated as Marketing VP and had the opportunity to lead a council of 4 committees, over 20 committee members and work on a Management Council with 7 others. Having this leadership experience helped me gain confidence and work on skills like leading large meetings, agenda setting, managing people, public speaking (at GMMs!), team work, strategic thinking and more. Because I have had these experiences, I feel 100% engaged in the league with confidence to lead committees not just in the league, but also at work or in the community. If you ever ask me for JLI advice, the answer is always to say “Yes” to leadership. You won’t regret it.