By: Tamera L. Powers, CFO, MSBO Immediate Past President, Chief Financial Officer, Byron Center Public Schools
This past year brought about many changes in my personal life and many moments of reflection. A few of my changes were a different job, moving into a condominium after residing in the same home for 24 years, turning 50 and ending my time on the MSBO Board of Directors. The wonderful thing about change is that it often makes us reflect on what has been but also what lies ahead.
To celebrate turning 50, my husband along with some friends traveled on a cruise together. This was our first cruise and we absolutely loved it! As a part of my time on the cruise I slowed down and dove into a book, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. I experienced many emotions as I read through it. I know there were times when my husband had wished I had picked a different book, many of the statistics caused us both to be disappointed in our society.
The biggest take away that I had from this book was the fact that not only women but also men need to take more chances. As women, we need to make sure we stop sitting by and start standing up to show the abundance of knowledge and talent we possess. So many times, we take the safe path or make excuses for why we can’t take on roles of leadership. I encourage each woman to take the opportunities presented to her and if she does not see any opportunities readily available then make the opportunities happen.
Men for years have not pursued their dreams all because of society’s expectation. For generations men were told to work certain careers in order to be the household bread winners. More men are filling roles such as nurse, main childcare provider, administrative assistant, even elementary teachers which have been historically dominated by women. Some of the best individuals I have encountered in these roles have been very talented men.
This is the final step that I will take as a prior MSBO Board Member. As I looked across the halls when we gathered for the annual conference in Detroit, it was very evident that our own membership is changing. More women are filling the roles that have been traditionally filled by men such as business, operations, transportation, human resources, and food service. I am proud to be a part of an organization where its members continue to appreciate the gifts and talents each individual possesses and gender is not taken into consideration. I encourage each of you to not only strive to make a difference in various roles but also encourage your sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and students you support in your districts. Exercising all gifts and talents will make not only our organization stronger but it will also make our society stronger.