SLUPIC: A perspective of the County through Service
The days have grown into weeks and the weeks into months and so have my tasks at the Chamber. The Chamber has offered incredible learning opportunities — be it simple tasks such as preparing meeting materials or more complex activities such as researching data to support an economic standpoint. It is undeniable that I have engaged and explored the economic potential and performance of the County these past weeks.
The support of tourism services and small businesses is vital for the region’s development. St. Lawrence County is home to world class tourist attractions such as the Thousand Islands and the Adirondacks. The region’s strategic location also makes it possible for Canadians to partake in the consumption of US goods and services. Although tourism expenditure in the region has improved, the region offers latent resources that are yet to be explored. Investing in tourism, supporting small and mainstream businesses as well as improving public transportation are just a few ways to achieve economic development in the region. I know Rome was not built in a day, and I understand that such projects require heavy time and resource investment, and processes like feasibility studies and raising funds take long to accomplish. However, building ‘Rome’ starts at home. As residents, we ought to encourage local businesses. A dollar spent at the farmer’s market enriches you as a consumer and also provides the vendor a means to pay employees — the employees then buy goods from another vendor, and so a cycle begins. You get the idea. At the end of the day the value of the dollar has increased; the multiplier effect.
Away from the duties of the Chamber, SLU PIC provides a platform to discuss varied topics in the realm of public service. One topic that stuck with me was the importance of involving different personality types in an organization’s leadership structure. I have worked for both corporates and nonprofits and realized that the two differ in regard to leadership. In the corporate world, more than one person is responsible for heading a team and therefore it is easier for leaders to come up with diverse solutions for a team. However, many smaller nonprofits have one leader, mostly due to financial constraints, and as such it may be challenging to come up with diverse strategies if team members are not open to sharing ideas. Whether nonprofits should employ the for-profit framework is a totally different topic from what I planned to write about today. For any team to be successful, a leader should be meticulous in choosing his/her team members. If you are an action-oriented individual then ensure your team has other leadership styles that would compensate for your shortcomings. That means looking for individuals who are analytical, vision or/and empathy oriented. These styles are not mutually exclusive. Such diversity in leadership styles provides a healthy environment for critique and a search for an array of unique solutions.
These observations are specific to my work experience. I am not a professional in public or private service, and neither am I a perfect leader. As I mentioned in my first blog, this internship has debunked some of my perceptions about the real. My journey has just begun and some of these perceptions might change along the way.