On July 23, we had a Ask Me Anything Twitter chat with current ELN Communications Lead Alyssa Lai to learn more about her experience on the ELN Executive Committee.
Read below to find out what Alyssa has to say about her time on the committee!
Alyssa, why did you apply for a position on the ELN Executive Committee?
Where to even begin? I wanted connect my experiences in Hamilton with a broader regional perspective on pressing issues of our time. As a former CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow, I saw the exec opportunity, as a chance to apply what I learned as a Fellow on ELN.
What’s your favourite thing about being a Communications Lead on the ELN Executive Committee?
There are many favourite things!
1) The combo of the creative latitude to try new things & the avenue to hone my strategic thinking skills – both essential in a comms profession.
2) The opportunity to work with talented comms pros, e.g. Sean MacKay, Emily Mininger, Jelena Lazarevic; we bounce ideas off one another & provide constructive criticism on each other’s work.
3) Thinking through comms strategy and tactics for ELN events, e.g. Oh the Places You’ll Go! with Sarah Wardrope, Marchael Cunanan, (recap by Crystal Kuabaggu) and#ELNRooted with Sarah Wardrope & Gerri Lutaaya: (recap by Shiva Mazrouei).
How has the ELN Executive Committee role developed your leadership capacity?
I’ve re-learned the value of asking good questions, being curious, and having deep respect towards people who may not share my viewpoints, ideas or enthusiasm. It’s easy to want to “solve” things & do things by yourself because it’s “faster.”
The truth is, team work is hard work. It also *needs* work, which means you must invest in listening and mutual respect. The results are immense, far greater than what you can achieve alone. Great leaders go far with others, not by themselves.
Is there anything you didn’t expect coming into the ELN Executive Committee role that you found surprising?
Living in #HamOnt, I worried that I’d miss out on a lot of things. I was surprised to see that wasn’t the case. Thorough updates from ELN Program Manager @Toota_Hassanien ensured that we’re all on the same page. ELN events are almost always in the evenings.
Meetings rotate between conference calls & in-person. We use Slack to discuss things or schedule appointments. All that to say, don’t think you HAVE to be in Toronto to apply & get the most out of this experience. (Looking at you, Hamilton!)
What skills does someone need to be a good ELN Communications Lead?
(This is where I put on my nerdy comms hat). Good comms marry strategy & tactics. You’ll be synthesizing skills in digital and non-digital communications, and coming up with key messages, target audiences, and objectives.
You execute strategies using a variety of channels (e.g. digital) & skills (e.g. social media management, writing). Key human skill to have: Listening. Reflect on the programming ideas. Bring them to life through strategic comms and tactics.
Another skill: humility. Be comfortable with having your work critiqued – in fact, ask for comments! I’m a better communicator today because of the constructive feedback I’ve received from @CivicActionGTHA and my ELN colleagues on my work.
What advice would you give to someone applying for the ELN Executive Comittee?
Take the questions in the application seriously. Use this as a chance to reflect on your personal goals and leadership journey so far. Consider your current skill set, what you’re good at, and what areas you want to grow more of.
Both the Programming and Events Leads, and the Communications Leads are fairly distinct in their roles. Take a close look at the descriptions to decide which one appeals to you, based on your own assessment of your personal journey.
And reach out if you have more Qs!
(psst… don’t miss the deadline, August 12, 9 p.m. #JustSayin)
Does being an ELN Executive Committee member sound like a great fit for you? Get started on your application today.