Lessons with Leasha – August 2021 – One year @ SPARC

Reflections on My 1-Year SPARCiversary

     It’s hard to believe a full year has passed since I signed on as SPARC’s People and Culture Coordinator! When I applied for and accepted the role, we were in the midst of the first round of the COVID pandemic and quarantine. I had gotten comfortable with having the kids at home and in virtual school, and I felt like I could easily take on this new duty. I was particularly excited about the idea of creating SPARC’s very first HR presence. I saw this role as an opportunity to be creative in continuing my love for employee engagement, building community, and working towards diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

     The past year has been all that and so much more. I’ve received opportunities to grow both professionally and personally in ways that I didn’t even know that I needed. And now, as I find myself in what appears to be the second round of this COVID pandemic, quarantine, and an ever-changing school setup for my three kiddos, I am excited to continue cultivating skills, adapting to changes, looking for creative solutions, and growing the HR presence within The SPARC Foundation. Here are a few of the biggest lessons from my first year with SPARC:

1. Ask for what you need. COVID presented—and continues to present—a lot of unexpected challenges…and that is an understatement! From the emergence of new protocols in the workplace to figuring out how to balance working from home while supervising kids who are simultaneously schooling from home, there have been hurdles to jump all around us. Instead of running yourself into overwhelm and burnout, ask for the help that you need. Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness. In fact, it is a sign of self-awareness and a reminder of our humanity. We can all only do so much, and we’re all experiencing being human together. Hopefully, your requests for help will lead to discussions about resources that will indeed improve your situation.

2. It’s OK to be “new” at something. Perhaps you’re working remotely for the first time in your career and figuring out how to manage your time. Maybe you’ve been presented with aspects of your role that you’ve never had to deal with before. It can be frustrating to feel like you’re “new” at something, especially after being in your field of work for several years. There’s a cool quote that says, “If you’re always the smartest person in the room, you need to find a new room.” In other words, never stop learning. It’s OK to be “new” at something. Every expert was once a novice. Look for opportunities to become a student of something new. Keep going, and you’ll get better and better.

3. Figure out what floats your boat and paddle in that direction! There will always be certain areas of your work that you enjoy more than others. As with any role, we sometimes have to do those “other duties as assigned”, especially in the nonprofit world where we all wear multiple hats. But it’s OK to be clear on what you do want out of your career and to take steps towards being able to do more and more of those things. Be clear with your supervisor during your feedback meetings and performance evaluations. Make a plan to include ways that you can progress in your areas of growth as well as ways that you can continue to cultivate your strengths and interests. Work is better when we can do the things we love! 

Love & Light,   
  Leasha