Monday, June 7, 2010

Service is Love - Love (Tennis pun? anyone?? Bueller?)

(Flat Judietta and Flat Sarah ready to serve!)

It was like the perfect Dean Hemphill lecture/ story about serving versus steering in public service.

Judy has already introduced you to our wonderful supervisor, Alleyne, and how amazing he is. I was on a skype call with him this evening (you know, getting the work done, no matter the hour - public service isn't 9-5, right??). And talked to Alleyne about my project.
We discussed the project, my deliverable, as we do from time to time to stay on the mark and he said, "I just want to make sure that you get what you need taken care of. What you need for your purposes." Presumably, he means my project for the Clinton School - my deliverable and my reports for Joe.

A year ago, I might have responded that I needed "xyz" to get an "A" on my paper. Or I needed to hand in a certain product.

But after a year at the Clinton School, I was completely authentic and comfortable when I said, "Well, what I need is to serve you and this project. I want to help you move forward and do whatever I can to take some of the stuff off your already-full plate." Alleyne is an incredible person, and he works hard. I know he is like many people in the public service/ non profit/ NGO world: they know how to get it done, and they can do it. Head down... all systems go.

But that is why we are here! Super Sarah and Bionic Judy to the rescue! (We are superheroes down here, really. Seriously. Super.)

There is so much to do in this project and we are only here for 10 short weeks. But the purpose of us coming down? What do I need to get "taken care of" before I go home? I need to serve, not steer my project. I need to serve PCI-Media Impact's needs and do the work Alleyne doesn't have time to do.

My first thought was "tell him about serving versus steering!" then I remembered we were not in class, we were in the field.

This is what it is about, talking to a boss who works very hard, who tries to make time for everything, including his lovely family. The Clinton School has taught me to just jump in and say, point blank, let's talk about what you need to make this project happen. That is what I will do.

Important questions as I board the plane home: did I make Alleyne's load a little lighter? Did he, in the end, say thank you, we will make this project a success? Did we share a little about how to protect and conserve the Caribbean with our partners?

Good. I have served rightly.

When I clarified our plan for the week, I said something like, "Those meetings are important for us to have, yes? That information is good to gather?" He said, "Not just important, necessary."

"OK." I said. "The necessary stuff, that's what I need to get done. For my purposes."


  1. Necessary... that's the name of the game! Don't make it harder than it has to be! I can only imagine the SUPER-HERO work yall are doing down there!You're too awesome not to!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Help me, Super Sarah and Bionic Judy! Whiskers is stuck in a tree with a saki bomb strapped to his middle. He's threatening to drink himself silly unless 2 million pounds of catnip are delivered to his food bowl in one hour!

    PS I'm meeting with someone from PCI Media Impact next week (thanks to Dr. Singhal). Any tips?

  4. What a racquet you've got going on there. Courting favor amongst your followers with tennis puns and movie quotes. I find no fault in this post. You are a blogging ace!