November 2011 marks the 20th year of Supervisors’ Management School (SMS). Taking a moment to reflect on a program that has provided 20 years of continuing education to professionals in the parks, recreation, and leisure service field I look back at when I began my association with SMS in 2005. As a first year student preparing to be school Director I had experience working in the field and in guiding curriculum development, but very little experience as a supervisor. I was soon reminded of the difference between a leader and a supervisor. Understanding my capacity as a leader and how my attitude and leadership style impacts those around me whether I’m their supervisor or project team member made a difference in how I approached my work. I like to think what I learned at SMS and how I applied it back in the workplace made a positive difference to my co-workers. I know it made a difference to me as a student and continues to make a difference to me as SMS Director.
Engaging with students and board members continues to inspire me each year of SMS. I return from a week at SMS inspired about our profession with a renewed passion for the work we do in local communities across the country. I’m inspired by our regents who instruct as volunteers for the opportunity to give back and share their knowledge and experience with students who are developing a similar passion for the work we do. I’m inspired by the agencies that in lean times recognize the importance of having a well-trained team to lead the way to success. I’m inspired by our students, enthusiastic to improve how they do their job and grow in the profession. Most notably I’m inspired by students who strive to succeed individually as a leader, but also to make a positive impact on their organization, their co-workers and the people they serve day to day.