Often times we SWEsters have an "I'll lead if there's an obvious vacancy," approach to volunteering and we'll sit out if a position is occupied, lest we step on anyone's toes. Let me challenge you: no one is entitled to any particular leadership position each year, and no one should get their feelings hurt if a position they hold is contested. The whole point of elections is to have a CHOICE! The more volunteers we have, the more people will get to learn new skills and challenge the status quo! This applies to all levels of SWE leadership: Sections, Regions, and the Society.
So instead of "waiting your turn" or expecting a personal invitation, if you see a job you want to learn how to do, throw your hat into the ring! Regardless of who has already been nominated, your participation in the election process is important. Those of us who have a lot of leadership experience are more than happy to transition to new opportunities at the end of our annual terms and give others a chance to shine! No one will know you're interested in stepping up unless YOU tell them. That’s right, most of the time you need to nominate yourself! If no one volunteers, incumbent leaders may feel obligated to stay in a position when they're really ready to move on. A healthy and varied leadership pipeline is key to avoiding volunteer burnout.
Your Section and Region C are still looking for volunteers to serve for FY17. Find out what each position entails, if you have questions about those responsibilities don't be afraid to contact the current occupant, and when you find your niche prepare your nomination documents (on time)! You can do it, and you'll be thankful you did!
If you're not quite ready to serve next fiscal year, become knowledgeable of the many leadership opportunities SWE provides and get to know folks who are serving in roles that fit your skill set so that when opportunities present themselves each year, you'll keep an open mind. If you are missing some criteria for a position, set goals for yourself to bridge the gaps. Some uncertainty is normal - if you're comfortable, you're not growing!
If you are currently in SWE leadership, let me challenge you to document the great work that you do to make transitions less challenging. It's much easier to encourage others to step up if you can deliver a clear and comprehensive "job description." This sort of tribal knowledge transfer can be maintained and built upon by the next generation too!
That's my SWE leadership pep talk! What are your thoughts?