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Standing at the Front

As president of the Keller High School Unicef united club, it has been no easy experience leading people in a variety of events. As I imagine, it is no easy task and incredibly daunting to take on an array of duties that we have no prior experience. Being a president and more importantly a leader of an organization where you are the person who makes tough decisions puts a weight on your shoulders that sometimes becomes so heavy. But in the long run, it taught me quality skills that I will also use in my future as well as skills that I apply in my day-to-day life.

Being the president of this new club taught me that I couldn't micromanage everything around me. Before there was this itch under my skin that I couldn't scratch, I needed everything to be perfect, everything needed to be done in the way that I wanted and yet I noticed that I couldn't be everywhere at once. Of all the tasks to do, each one of them had a priority basis and other tasks just never made it to the top. Because in some shape or form some other assignment always came up. It was a learning curve to take a step back and let others lead each division, as a president there will always be something to do with more priority. Having other officers take on tasks they had more experience with allowed us to form a successful leadership team and become efficient with our work. Just taking a step back, extracting myself from the situation, and viewing my actions through a third person allowed me to see through my members, officers, and my teacher sponsor perspective for the club. Having these different viewpoints allowed me to be the most efficient with how I guided my officers and more importantly engaged my members to the best of their interest. Through this experience, I became more open to others and their ideas, more importantly, I was able to listen to all of the amazing ideas my officers gave.

Recently I encountered a problem that looked like it had no solution and no way to overcome, and I felt instead just tore everything down to get rid of the problem. Yet, as a president that is never the solution to anything, and in a solution-less problem, you had to get creative with your actions. At the beginning of the year, my school had an event called Walk Your Schedule where clubs and organizations can showcase their accomplishments and gain members before school started. At that event alone, Keller high school UNICEF had gained over 120 members and at the moment it was surreal. After the intense work, all officers had to put in, this club was created and people were excited to join. I was ecstatic as I went home that day and the joy carried over for the next couple of weeks. 2 months later and after several meetings, we had a steady stream of members coming. Yet, at one meeting out of 120+ members, only 5 had come in total. Taking other extracurriculars and sports into account, it was devastating to see so few members coming. At that point I was furious, members had signed up and yet hadn't put in the effort to come. I wanted to kick out everyone who hasn't shown up from the club and enforce stricter rules.

However, I had gotten advice from someone who had experienced this situation. He gave me a great analogy, stating that "it's easier to break glass than to build it, the club members are similar because you have put in more work into gathering them than you ever will removing them". This was my guiding factor as I mulled over how to overcome this minor obstacle. I later learned that over half of the members weren't aware meetings were happening. It wasn't their fault at all, it hit me that our marketing was lacking if people didn't know. We had the burden of ensuring people were aware. This put a spotlight on the minor details we could change to elevate our member's attendance and their experience. Our members are the foundation of our club and without them, we are nothing and no one, understanding them and their concerns, and implementing those solutions into our future events, sets up our success.

In the club, through fundraisers, we had to raise funds that could be spent throughout the year. We need marketing and campaigns to rouse students' attention, a product that people are willing to buy, and a financial system that makes buying the product as easy as possible. Navigating through these events with my officers and closest friends has brought me to uncomfortable situations in which I have used the help of others to succeed. Learning from my experiences and thoughts to my dear reader, I hope that as you read these stories about my experience, you gain clarity on what to look out for as you lead whatever project you have brewing. Whether that is leading a club, creating your own business or nonprofit, or starting a project you're passionate about. I hope this article gives you a sense of clarity about some obstacles thrown your way as you begin your journey.


Ria Gupta

Keller, TX


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