I’m Beverly; the new Interim President of Champlain Voices. Our group is part of Green Mountain Self Advocates, a statewide organization supporting the efforts of people with developmental disabilities to take control of all aspects of their lives.

I have been elected for the role our former President, Taylor, left when she moved back to her former advocacy group. I’m following in Taylor’s footsteps but at the same time trying to be me and do my best as the President. I never thought I’d say that…

I used to be the person in the group that might not say anything at all during a meeting. This past fall I took on the role of Secretary for the group so I was really watching as I took notes on how Taylor was President. I would watch her knowing that she’s just regular person with all the same issues we all go through and appreciated how she could set that aside and stand up proudly in front of the group. She seemed very comfortable and clear with sharing her thoughts and taking command of our meetings. I starting thinking, for the first time “Oh, that’s easy. I could do that leadership role”. Now that I’m President I realize it’s harder than it looks. Sometimes I have to give myself a pep talk in the car on the way to the meeting so I can put my best foot forward. I have to ask myself. “How can I rise up through what I’m feeling today and be the President the group is needing me to be?”

I’m learning a lot about running our group. When I do this successfully I have to admit that it feels wonderful to be President. I know I’m not just helping myself, I’m helping others too. The more our group talks together in our meetings the more we can open our minds. In hearing each others’ stories and experiences and wishes and desires, we can wake up our minds to new opportunities and focus on what we really want to do with our lives.

And, thanks to Beverly for being the first story (good leadership!)