I conducted a very unscientific Facebook poll hoping to illustrate the personal and professional growth each of you can and should expect as a direct result of your volunteer service for your PTA.Alisa’s comments are so timely as there has been quite a bit of chatter with regard to a recent post by Lean In on Facebook. Their post declared rather authoritatively that by listing as a credential “member of PTA” on one’s resume, a woman was 79% less likely to be hired. This shocking statement should surely compel us to immediately amend our resumes and make the appropriate changes on our LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter sites.
I asked my Facebook friends to give a one word answer to this question: Did you ever belong to a PTA? Then I sat back to see who said yes, because I know my friends. I know how active they are at work and in the community. I know their skills, and I suspected that there would be a strong correlation between those who are or had been deeply involved in PTA and their subsequent achievement. I wanted to illustrate how every friend who answered YES had developed a variety of skills – project management, communications, advocacy, financial management, event planning, negotiating, fundraising, and more – all honed as PTA volunteers… and that so many of us have used those skills for positive achievement. Well the responses are still coming in – which boosted my social media Klout Score, (an added benefit, for those who know how Klout works), and unscientifically, I was right!
A few of the responses included the following:
- Some were always attorneys but now have a different specialty as a result of their involvement in schools.
- Some had been elected to PTA leadership positions. Now many have been elected to school boards, county legislatures, and I know that Congresswoman Nita Lowey always references her PTA roots in giving her the foundation to run for Congress.
- Many gained confidence in speaking out at public budget hearings or in leading meetings. Now they are at the forefront of issues they care about, with well-practiced communications skills.
- There was a group who had left the workforce to raise children. But they always volunteered for PTA. Now they are restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, and small business owners whose clients or vendors may have first learned of their talent and character by serving side by side on a PTA committee.
- So many are now Executive Directors of nonprofits, like me, or program directors or finance directors at nonprofits and foundations. We’ve taken so many hands-on experiences of leadership from PTA along with us every step of the way.
- PTA members – former and current – are in large corporations and very comfortable in navigating deadlines, personalities, budgets and more because we navigated deadlines, personalities, budgets and more through PTA.
- And a ton of us continue to volunteer and give back to nonprofits whose missions matter to us and the community.
So thank you for the time you give, the meetings you run, the funds you raise, the events you plan, the letters you write, the e-newsletters you create, the actions you take – but know that you are building a toolbox of experiences that you WILL take with you. Those experiences can help open doors, climb ladders, and be successful in whatever way you choose to define success.
Gracemarie Rozea, President