From the Executive Director: The Dog Days of Network Leadership

Rebecca Davis
Jul 14, 2014 08:41 PM
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Hattie, Millie, and LaceyJuly. Here we are in the middle of summer!  Are you stopping to enjoy the season, stopping to smell the flowers, have you been to or plan to visit a state or national park, had a picnic, visited friends, been swimming, hiking, or any other summertime activity that would be great to help you recharge your batteries? 

Yesterday, as I was working on my article, I decided to unplug from the Internet.  I actually took the computer to the back porch, thinking I could give the “girls” (pictured right: Hattie, Lacey, and Millie) some extra time in the back yard shade and also get some work done. I have thought about doing this several times, but just never followed through on that thought.

It was later in the afternoon and around 91 degrees.  As I got all set up to work, I was thinking, “Man, it is a lot cooler in the office with the swamp cooler running than it is out here in this heat!”  But, soon I was distracted by what was going on around me.  Our “girls,” which many of you may know are our two dogs, Hattie and Lacey, have now expanded to three girls.  We are dog sitting Ms. Millie, our son Logan’s dog.  Millie has been with us since Memorial Day weekend.  She spent about a year and half with us back in 2010-2011, so the “girls” had been together before, but we have been going through a bit of an adjustment period. 

Millie has a lot of energy and likes to run and play.  Hattie and Lacey have grown to 139 pounds each, and they seem to like to just lay in the shade and watch Millie’s activities.  Today, Hattie decided that she might also like to play - just a little bit - so the game consisted of Millie running and jumping at Hattie, Hattie making a half-hearted effort to engage with Millie, which led to either some dog-play biting activities between the two dogs, or Millie taking her daily running fit around the yard. That girl is a zoomer!  She will run as fast as she can from one side of the yard to the other and during each lap she will take a jump at Hattie, almost like, "Hey, catch me if you can!"  Then she ends the run by racing to the little evergreen bush, jumping underneath it, and digging like she is onto gold! 

Sometimes I think network leaders are a lot like that – running around trying to meet the needs of their members, tempting network members to become more engaged, searching for services or products, or developing them to assist their members. 

Also, while sitting on the back porch, I was buzzed by a hummingbird. I guess it thought my red head might be a food spot.  That would have never happened if I had stayed in the office.  I also got to listen to a dove that seems to live around the back yard.  Today, it had a lot of singing to do. And I listened to Lacey, our barker.  I really think Lacey would explode if she couldn’t bark – she barked at the dove, she barked at the kids we could hear walking in the alley, she barked at the cars that went by, she barked at the sky. Do you have a barker in your network?  Someone that always needs attention and may be overshadowing the voices and needs of your other members?

I’m sure to the folks that happened on the other side of our 8 foot privacy fence they wondered what kind of strange animals live on the other side. 

Barking Lacey and a woman constantly saying, “Lacey, no bark, Lacey, no bark … Good Lacey.”   “Millie, no dig, aww... good Millie.”   As I reflected on the day, I realized that Lacey commanded the majority of my attention. Millie came in second when she became too excited during the dog-biting playing activities and each time she dove under the bush and started digging!  And sweet Hattie, she was just kind of there... I knew she was there, but she really didn’t demand any attention until right before I decided to retreat to the coolness of the office.  It seemed that Lacey and Hattie had changed positions. Lacey was laying in the shade looking around and Hattie had taken up the barking duties!  Did they just do this, or did Hattie decide she wanted some of my attention? 

I thought about you, the NCHN members. We don’t get to see you on a regular basis.  Do we accommodate your needs?  Do we give you enough attention?  Do we focus on the ones we hear from the most – and we do love hearing from the members!  Or do we just react to the dive boomer – like I reacted to that hummingbird? 

Rebecca Davis

Everyone is busy and here at NCHN, we want to be busy doing the correct activities, finding and engaging the best partners, providing outstanding programming that meets your needs.  So, as you take time to enjoy the summer days, also take a few minutes to think about NCHN, your organization, and let us know if there is something that we could be doing to support you!  We love to accommodate our members!   

Rebecca J. Davis, Ph.D.
Executive Director


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