The Leader is a Servant

Photo of Nanette Schimpf

Nanette Schimpf

Vice President

As I begin a year as president of the Capital Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, I have contemplated leadership and what it means to be a good leader. Leaders accomplish great things, no doubt. But it is the collective group who works together for a greater good, a larger purpose, that produces the most meaningful results.

At FPRA conference earlier this month, Roy Peter Clark shared with a captivated audience that there is no interesting or good story without a problem. The problem is, in fact, the key to just about every good story. Certainly problems, or their prevention, are why our clients hire us. But today, we are here because our capital chapter has a GREAT story, and it is a unique story precisely because it is one without a problem. We have amazing volunteers and members who are working together for a greater good. We have found meaning in working for others—whether it is to grow our membership, offer great programs, or serve one more local nonprofit through ER for PR. For all these reasons, I admire each member of the chapter. Many people much smarter than me have spoken eloquently about how service and sacrifice are the keys to happiness. It is in doing for others that we are most alive.

So I begin this service being reminded of a favorite quote that will define my role in the coming year: “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” —Max DePree

Max fostered the idea of an inclusive corporation, one in which all voices are heard. He was known for his efforts to combine a caring organization with business success. That is what we have at Moore, and is why so many of us feel satisfied when we lay down our heads at night.

Every voice counts and should be heard. This is not my year; it is our year. Together we will work to retain our members as well as bring back lapsed members from years passed. Sharing the good news will be easy.

We will also mentor our students in meaningful ways. We have already met with the FPRA student chapter and are excited to collaborate and serve those young and brilliant minds in innovative new ways! MCG is also making great things happen by working on an exciting collaborative announcement that will redefine student engagement and mentoring in the communications department at Florida State University.

We have such an opportunity to tell our story—we tell it for our clients and for our employers. One of my wonderful mentors, Terrie Ard, shared with me this week that our story starts with the fact that we have become far more than simply “public relations,” as our name states. The name, Florida Public Relations Association, does not tell the whole story. We have to evolve our brand to help us tell the story that we are integrated communications. From digital and branding expertise to social media savvy, we are all things communications.

I want to hear your voice as we walk this journey together. And, like Max, I look forward to serving and to saying “thank you” to this amazing community of communications professionals.

Fin