Sigma needs leaders: What are you waiting for?

By Gwen Sherwood, Devita T. Stallings, and Benjamin Smallheer | 09/13/2018

Deadline for nominating candidates for elected volunteer positions is 30 November 2018.

Gwen SherwoodLeadership belongs to every member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma). At our inductions, we all recited the pledge to uphold the values, mission, and goals of the organization and to support nursing excellence, knowledge, and leadership throughout our careers. We are obligated, therefore, to model our shared values of leadership, scholarship, and service, which are reflected in our mission to advance world health and celebrate nursing excellence. After all, each of us is part of the whole that makes us Sigma. 

Leading requires giving of one’s self. With more than 135,000 active members worldwide, Sigma has the capacity to accomplish its vision of being the global organization of choice for nursing. This requires each of us to ask, “What am I waiting for to answer the call to elected leadership?” 

Davita StallingsAs nurses, we know that true leadership is not about self, power, or glory—but about service. John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, and become more, you are a leader.” Nurses inspire others—whether patients, families, student nurses, or colleagues—to get moving. They motivate people and organizations to go in new and innovative directions. Are you using your membership in Sigma to inspire others to dream, learn, and improve the health of the world’s people? How long will you wait to make a global impact through leadership? Sigma is waiting for you! 

When I was deciding whether to run for office, I first asked myself, “Why serve as a Sigma leader?” As I pondered whether to take on one more volunteer leadership role, I reflected on my true passions in life. One of my passions is, of course, nursing. So, it did not take me long to accept the nomination to serve on Sigma’s Leadership Succession Committee. I saw this as an opportunity to collaborate with world-renowned leaders in nursing and to mentor others in assuming leadership roles. I truly believe in Sigma’s mission, and serving as a Sigma leader is one way for me to assist in fulfilling the mission of an organization that values nursing leadership. I answered the call and, in 2017, was elected to serve a four-year term on the committee.

—Devita T. Stallings 

Benjamin SmallheerVolunteer service in Sigma follows the well-known Kouzes and Posner leadership model of five exemplary practices: Model the Way encourages us to set an example by living the shared values of our organization through service. Inspire a Shared Vision calls on us to promote and meet the common purpose and mission we committed to. Challenge the Process urges us to venture out of our comfort zone by reaching for new service opportunities. Enable Others to Act builds collaboration to sustain a strong organization reaching across the globe. Encourage the Heart celebrates each milestone of our shared mission. 

The 2017-19 call to action from President Beth Tigges, PhD, RN, PNP, BC, challenges us to membership vitality in three ways: connect, collaborate, and catalyze. As a Sigma leader, you will form networks with other leaders and members (connect), share your talents and leadership skills (collaborate), and use your creativity to help fulfill Sigma’s mission to advance world health and celebrate nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service (catalyze). 

My decision to seek an elected position within Sigma was based on my respect for the global organization of choice in nursing. Through various Sigma conferences and activities, I have had the opportunity to network with several members of the Sigma board. During these conversations with individuals I greatly respect, I recognized that we all have something in common: our desire to be part of a global organization focused on advancing the discipline of nursing. My first step into Sigma leadership was engaging with the board of my local Sigma chapter. I volunteered, sat on a committee, and eventually ran for and was elected to an office of my local chapter. This gave me insight into how Sigma is structured—but, more importantly, I gained confidence and became a more influential leader through mentoring from other Sigma leaders. As a current member of the Leadership Succession Committee, I am not only gaining valuable experiences but also making incredible friends who share my passion for leadership in nursing.

—Benjamin Smallheer  

Now is your time—seize the moment! To fill the ballot for the 45th Biennial Convention, 16-20 November 2019 in Washington, DC, USA, we need at least 80 dedicated members representing all global regions to achieve our goal of two nominees for each of the 40 elected positions: president-elect, vice president, treasurer, directors-at-large, Regional Chapters Coordinating Committee chair, regional chapter coordinators, and members of the Governance Committee and Leadership Succession Committee. 

The Leadership Succession Committee is committed to seek, motivate, support, and prepare members to pursue an elected volunteer position where they can inspire and enable other members to connect, collaborate, and catalyze. Our role is to identify active members who are ready to serve, mentor potential candidates in the nominating process, select nominees for a diverse international biennial ballot, and oversee the election process.

What are you waiting for? There is a leader in you, and Sigma is waiting for you to answer the call. The timing will never be perfect. Work and life demands will always exist. However, as you reflect on your passions, career, and life goals, what is the connection that inspires you to share your skills through organizational service and the catalyst that will propel you to seize this moment? 

The call for nominations is open through 30 November 2018. There is no better time to serve than right now! Click here for more information. RNL

Gwen Sherwood, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF, is chair of the Leadership Succession Committee and professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. 

Devita T. Stallings, PhD, RN, is assistant professor at Saint Louis University School of Nursing in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. 

Benjamin Smallheer, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC, FNP-BC, CCRN, CNE, is lead faculty for the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program at Duke University School of Nursing in Durham, North Carolina, USA.

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