By Heather Harris Roemer, Girls Rock! DC
Music has been a guiding force for me since I was a kid. I got the opportunity to be a part of musical theater performances in high school. As a part of the cast, I found a place to belong, a gang to hang with. Since then, I’ve found leadership positions in college radio, local music zines, and a record store.
Now I’m volunteering with Girls Rock! DC — a rock camp for Washington-area girls — and though I joined to donate my time and talents, I have found that after volunteering for a couple of years, I have gotten back as much as I’ve given, especially in the form of leadership experience. I have a few tips I can share, which apply to more than just musical organizations:
1. Share the microphone.
Leaders aren’t responsible for providing ALL the solutions, but for guiding the team towards one. Don’t shy away from leadership because you don’t know all the answers.
2. Audition your band members carefully.
Better teams make better leaders. When you have a good group working for you, it’s easier to communicate, to reach goals together, and eventually succeed.
3. Write lyrics as a group.
Seek solutions from the people you are leading, and help them organize a path to the best solution.
Especially when you are delegating, be clear with expectations.
5. Go wild on stage
...to a degree. Leaders take risks, but that doesn’t mean doing things haphazardly. Risks can be taken after looking at the necessary considerations, and then moving forward in an educated manner.
6. Now, with feeling!
Passion is contagious. Gratitude is rewarding. These tools are free and if they are genuine, they can brighten up a workspace more than changing the wallpaper.
7. Practice, practice, practice!
Don’t ever stop learning. The world is changing around us. People learn and work in different ways, and effective leaders must be willing to adapt. Keep on your toes. Take a class, or volunteer somewhere like Girls Rock! DC, where you can energize your leadership batteries.
As much as non-profit organizations like Girls Rock! DC can benefit from your time and talents, you can often use your volunteer experience on the job. For instance, I kept my website and design skills sharp at Girls Rock! DC, talents I’ve been able to take back to work with me. Groups like Girls Rock! DC are real résumé-building opportunities.
This year, Girls Rock! DC is planning their fifth annual camp for girls 8-18 years old. If you have some time to donate, especially if music is one of your passions, visit girlsrockdc.org for more information. No musical talent is necessary. If you are interested in being a role model for these young people, we’d like to hear from you!
Heather Harris Roemer is the Partnership Coordinator for Girls Rock! DC. During the day, she’s the Traffic and Production Manager for Creative Services in The Washington Post’s advertising department. She has been working in the marketing and communications field in the D.C. area since graduating from The American University in 1993. When not at work, you’ll find her traveling with her husband, at concerts or the movies, or working on local music ventures like Girls Rock! DC.
Website: dcgrrl.com | Twitter: @dcgrrl