BY PATTYL APOSHIAN KASPARIAN
It’s so annoying when you’re surrounded with those high powered couples who complete each other’s thoughts. You know the type….mid-word, they glance at one another and start giggling. Or better yet, they interrupt one another and conclude the fair-tale story in perfect unison.
Imagine this on a grander scale. Think big… like high energy, super active big multiplied by 13. Individually, we don’t have much in common. Assorted ages, different professions, various levels of experience– even unlike drink preferences. Yet, we are diverse enough to be complementary—to enhance and complete each other’s thoughts. This is one committee that didn’t fear responsibility—often times crossing off action items more than once. We met on an organizational level and bonded on a “friend I’ve known for years who I consider family” level.
Experience, age and title didn’t determine work load or responsibility. We were consistently involved in each and every decision. Some, known for always being able to strong arm others into following in their footsteps, treaded lightly and successfully kept in line with the entire committee. We all recognized each other as equals, accepted one another, yet influenced each other to change in small but meaningful ways for a common purpose.
Let me not paint a colorful Picasso picture. There were plenty of raised voices, side talk and angry text messages. We had our fair share of rolled eyes, stomped feet and my oh-so-favorite moments of passion when we exclaimed, “I’m so done. I’m not coming to tonight’s meeting!”
And then, of course, the smallest moments served as a proud reflection of our goals and objectives. American industrialist and self-made man, Lawrence Bell said, “Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things and I’ll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things.”
Our seasoned committee members reinvented the lost art of humility. The common denominator of this committee’s success lies in the above. When an individual of position can sit with volunteers and stuff and seal envelopes, it’s a sign of true leadership. When an individual of title, education and experience inconveniences himself with small feats, like carrying heavy candle votives up three flights of stairs to holding a ripped and dripping Trader Joes paper bag full of smashed blueberries, it’s a sign of power. When a skilled professional completes a full work day and drives 20 plus some miles in L.A. traffic to prepare silent auction items, it’s a sign of allegiance.
At the conclusion of the ACF Annual Banquet on February 26 at the Montage Beverly Hills, several guests asked, “How did you pull off such a successful event with such a limited team?” Now, we know. We went back to the basics similar to when a baseball coach sardine-packs his SUV with balls, bats and uniforms and takes his team out for pizza after a junior league win. It’s the total experience. It’s the collective effort of every volunteer who not only donated financially, but dedicated their valuable time and endless energy. And, had fun doing it!!
What others think about us is something we can’t control. It’s in the hand of others. What we can control is our character. Sharing this experience with such an esteemed team has truly built my character. I have learned true lessons in friendship, benevolence and leadership. Our leaders taught us to keep exploring and learning. They encouraged us to be creative and innovative. They reminded us about the importance of listening to people with vastly different opinions. They reaffirmed that we occasionally need to get down in the trenches with our supporters to understand their needs and earn their trust and loyalty. And finally, they reinforced the importance of our shared and powerful vision.
To my extended Armenian Cultural Foundation family, I grant you one uninterrupted night of sleep, another night of celebration, a boost of B12 for more energy and endless memories. Until our next endeavor.