ECHELON: Leadership Takes Vulnerability
ECHELON: Leadership Takes Vulnerability
By Dana Akasaki, Commercial Roofing and Waterproofing Hawaii, Inc.
Integrating anything “new” into a workplace takes a surefooted approach grounded in a core belief that aligns with your organization’s mission and values. I recently had the opportunity to spearhead (with the support of my boss/father) and advocate for a company-wide Back to School Supply Drive in partnership with The Salvation Army.
This is the first time we’ve done something like this – a philanthropic initiative where we sought to engage all of our employees – from field to office staff as well as our business colleagues. We were overwhelmed and surprised by the response of our industry partners, employees, and even clients who rose to the occasion! We had more than 80 individuals and 15 companies contribute towards the cause.
In total we gathered up:
- 113 rulers
- 73 4-function calculators
- 48 backpacks
- 37 2” binders
- 846 blue pens
- 704 black pens
- 159 college ruled notebooks
- 164 crayon boxes
- 143 erasers
- 92 boxes of tissue
- 262 glue sticks
- 425 highlighters
- 126 index cards
- 5 lunch boxes
- 2,075 pencils
- 132 protractors
- 798 red pens
- 224 scissors
- 142 sets of colored pencils
- 139 sets of markers
- 53 watercolors
- 322 wide ruled books
So you may be reading this and wondering – what’s the takeaway from this? What I learned from this experience in taking the lead, can be broken down into three words: Vulnerability, Courage, and Hope.
As a daughter and employee of a business owner, I still struggle with the insecurity of being able to fulfill my role at the company. How do I step out of my successful father’s shadow and would I in due season, be seen as a leader to colleagues who possess far more industry and life experience? Those whom I have known as “aunty and uncle” from small kid time – are now my immediate colleagues.
The time came to formally ask our employees to participate in a Back to School Drive for The Salvation Army. I questioned if my request would carry any weight. This vulnerability, or insecurity, if you will, made me think about how I’d execute this task of motivating my colleagues to support a good cause.
Recognizing my vulnerability or insecurity helped me to examine my role at the company and motivated me to put myself out there. I started to realize that God allows me to be in this position, and has given me a mission the opportunity to mobilize others to contribute to a cause I cared about. The cause was in alignment to our core values as a company – and being that voice to engage participation was the challenge posed before me.
The deep-seated belief that I’m capable of #DoingTheMostGood from as little or as much as I could bring to the table was all the motivation I needed. I stepped outside of my comfort zone to meet with people and humbly ask if they would join in the cause. I learned to walk the fine line between casting our vision, making the ask, and then releasing without expectation…yet still believing for the best! Seeing the impact over the next few weeks was gratifying. Our employees, industry partners, and clients had collected and donated so much school supplies for keiki in need.
“I know together we can make a significant impact in the future, not only in business, but also in serving others."
After seeing the impact of our Back to School Drive, I started to hope for another opportunity to do more for our local community. Our company was thrilled by the success of our school supply drive and they are motivated to do more philanthropic projects. I know together we can make a significant impact in the future, not only in business, but also in serving others.
A favorite quote of mine comes from Brene Brown, “Vulnerability is about having the courage to show up and be seen.” That is so true – and as we choose to rise to the occasion in #DoingTheMostGood for others, we’re making a positive impact and changing someone’s life.