What’s It Like to Be on the WICT Southeast Board

Are you looking to take your career to the next level? Do you want to network and collaborate with the best and brightest in the cable and telecommunications industry? Are you an active member of WICT Southeast? Well then perhaps joining the WICT Southeast board is what you’re looking for. The CALL FOR CANDIDATES for the WICT Southeast 2022 Board is officially open and we need some great candidates to run for the open positions. 

For those of you who are thinking about running and want to know what it takes to run and serve, we’ve asked three current board members, Renita Griskel (Immediate Past President), Shelley Hoffmann (President) and Gimette DeLaughter (Vice President) some key questions that may help guide your decision making.

What made you decide to make a run for a position on the WICT board?

Renita Griskel (RG): I’ve always enjoyed attending WICT events and helping out behind the scenes. At the time when I submitted my nomination, it was after talking with friends who were on the board. Those conversations nudged me out of my comfort zone and into a board position.

Shelley Hoffmann (SH): I had recently moved to Atlanta after having been active in the New York chapter, as well as having participated in the Rising Leaders and Executive Development programs offered by WICT HQ. My motivation was twofold: I was looking to network within my new community and I wanted to give back to WICT since it had been such an integral part of my personal and professional development. I immediately transferred my membership to the Southeast chapter and started to volunteer at events. This eventually lead to my interest in a board position. I wanted to do more. I’ve always grounded myself in the goal of how I can be of service. I wanted to make an impact. And I knew this was one way to do both.

Gimette DeLaughter (GD): I ran into the current president at the WICT Leadership Conference in New York and established a relationship. I then kept in touch to see where they had the greatest need and applied for that role!

How did you prepare for the campaign?

RG: I did some research about the position and then determined what I would do in that role to add to the success of the chapter if I were to be elected.  

SH: The way I found myself on the board was a bit untraditional. I volunteered as much as I could. I networked with members and current board members as much as I could. I attended every Atlanta event. Eventually, I decided to run for Director of Programming – Georgia. And I lost. I was disappointed. But I was undeterred. About halfway through the year, I reached out to Anne Loescher, the then-President of WICT Southeast, and asked her if she needed any additional help. And she said, “You know what? One of the programming positions just opened up.”  So I submitted a personal statement to the board explaining my commitment to the chapter and was voted in. 

GD: I leaned into my network and asked for their support!

After you were elected, what was your commitment (meetings, conference calls, events, etc.) on top of your day job?

RG: The commitment ebbs and flows. There are times when I’m on call’s multiple times a day and multiple days a week. There are also times when I may not have a WICT call during the week. There are always emails or slack messages daily, but there is also help available when needed for an event or program. The board is very supportive and understanding that there is work, WICT, and life balance.

SH: It really depends on the role. Some positions are intense for a short period of time like Mentoring, Partnerships, Red Letter Awards. Others are consistent throughout the year like Programming, Marketing and Membership. We are a working board. We are deft at balancing responsibilities in our careers and at home. While there are some days that feel primarily WICT-focused more than others, as professionals, we all know how to incorporate our WICT work into our day to day. Is it hard work? Yes. There are many calls and emails depending on the week or month. It takes dedicated individuals for the board to hum and sing. But the reward is so much greater than the effort. 

GD:  This is my fourth year on the Board, and it varies by position. As secretary there was some administrative setup in the beginning of the year, but the rest of the year focused around the monthly board meetings. As part of the Red Letter Awards team it ramped up to crescendo for the main event in October. Where VP is a steady stream throughout the year.

What impact has the WICT Southeast board had on your career?

RG: I have had an opportunity to connect one on one with executives at my own company and other companies which has been helpful from a networking standpoint.

SH: Experience on the board gives you the opportunity to get outside of your comfort zone and expand your professional tool box beyond your daily responsibilities. Because of my board experience, I am a better people manager. I’ve gained skills in marketing and negotiating and have opportunities to practice my public speaking as well as my active listening – as I do my best to be responsive to our membership. I’m positively impacted and mentored by my fellow board members across Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama and because of that, I learn something new every day. It’s invaluable to my career.

GD: My involvement in WICT has inspired me to pursue new challenges and has provided me the opportunity to develop and grow my leadership skills. It’s especially relevant where I get to practice skills outside my daily work responsibilities to grow my resume experience.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to run for the board?

RG: If you have a passion for WICT and what it stands for and want to channel that passion to help continue the successful impact that WICTSE has had on its members for nearly 40 years, then the board is for you! It is hard work, it takes up some of your time and some of your energy, but the tradeoff is what you’ll remember the most. The work you do on the board is rewarding, far-reaching and allows you to offer the membership base multiple developmental and professional growth opportunities.

SH: Be transparent with your manager about the time commitment. Talk to current and former board members to get their perspective. Do your due diligence. Bring your enthusiasm, fresh perspective and commitment to our mission of creating women leaders in our industry. And plan to receive a huge return on your investment.

GD: If you would have told me four years ago I’d be VP and the incoming President, I would not have believed you. But I should have because here I am. Lean in and give it a go, you may surprise yourself on where you end up. I did!

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WICT Southeast is currently looking for enthusiastic, organized, and dedicated members who would like to run for the 2022 Board of Directors! Serving on the Board is a great way to expand your leadership skills, connect with a diverse group of professionals, and make a positive impact on the industry. Click here for more information.