This week, we feature Mid-Atlantic District President Marilyn Morrison in WRJ's Leadership Spotlight. Here are Marilyn's thoughts on being a WRJ leader:
How did you first become involved with WRJ? What was your journey to becoming a WRJ District President?
I first became involved with WRJ when I served as Sisterhood President at Temple B'nai Shalom in Fairfax Station, VA. I was reminded that as president, I held a seat on the District Board, so I attended a board meeting where fredi Bleeker Franks spoke. I walked in late, had not registered, and knew no one in the room. I sat near the front and listened intently. I immediately thought, "these women are way smarter and more accomplished than I am." Needless to say, I was impressed.
The next thing I knew, I had a phone call from Ellen Wagner, the President of the Mid-Atlantic District at the time, asking me to be the YES Fund chair. "It would be easy. All you have to do is run an auction at the next board meeting." (Yep, I got sucked in that way). I ran the auction, had a blast, and became known as the "Auction person." I was just my goofy self and had fun.
From there, I applied for the WRJ North American Board and attended my first Fried Leadership Conference, Biennials, conventions, etc. Each time, loving the experiences more and more. The more I learned about WRJ, the more I wanted to be a part of this wonderful group and give my time as best I could. Before I knew it, I was a District Marketing & Communications leader developing the electronic newsletter, registration systems, and website. The progression to President made sense, and here I am, having the best time of my life while giving so much to WRJ.
What positive things have happened as part of your leadership experience?
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be District President, but WRJ gave me the confidence and knowledge to move forward. That confidence has profoundly shaped other areas of my life, from my professional life to my recreational life. I made a big career move last year, one I am sure I would not have made without the leadership skills formed in WRJ. The skills learned from my years as an active member of my local sisterhood, Mid-Atlantic District, and the WRJ North American Board has enabled me to move into the C-suite of my professional life. In addition, I have run ten marathons and countless half marathons, with my 11th and final marathon later this year. I attribute the courage to doing hard things and succeeding to all of my WRJ experiences. My running mantra is "I can do hard things."
What do you love most about WRJ?
The sense of empowerment that WRJ affords me, and the lifelong friendships, of course.
What do you wish others knew about WRJ that they might not know already?
If you feel disenfranchised or unsupported in any way, WRJ will lift you and support you in a way that will enable anyone and everyone to move forward to be their most authentic selves.
What advice do you have for future WRJ leaders?
Come on in! The water is fine! WRJ will absolutely embrace and empower you.