Ellen’s blog for January

In 2007, there were a few people who helped launch Women In Trucking. First, Char Pingel was the first employee who was hired with just a promise of a paycheck. She stayed on for sixteen years despite early financial struggles resulting in delayed payments. Without someone to organize the member lists, director duties, and administrative tasks, there would be no organization. Char was part of the passion.

There are many legal hurdles to address, and Attorney Robert Rothstein was immediately supportive and has spent countless pro bono hours filing paperwork, reviewing contracts, and keeping the Women In Trucking Association legal and in compliance. Without Bob’s support and legal expertise, the group would not exist. Bob was part of the passion.

Running an association with such dramatic growth is no simple task, and Joel McGinley of TranStrategy Partners (now with Hubtek) stepped in and offered executive coaching for over a decade. Again, he did this to support the group and initially didn’t even charge for his countless hours and leadership advice. Joel also gave me consulting opportunities, so I had some income while growing Women In Trucking as a startup. Joel was part of the passion.

Every nonprofit needs a board of directors to give advice and guidance as well as support to the group while helping to influence the industry. The initial board of twelve very powerful and prominent women was no exception. They helped write the mission statement and created the brand as well as defining who and what the Women In Trucking Association would be moving forward. This initial board was focused on creating a more gender-diverse transportation environment because they believed in the mission. This group of women whom I still call friends, were all part of the passion.

One definition of passion is, “a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.” John Maxwell once said, “A great leader’s courage to fulfill his (her) vision comes from passion, not position.”

If you want to lead a nonprofit organization, you must have passion. Your followers will see through you if your motivation is fame, power, or money. Your members will lose interest if you can’t share your enthusiasm and desire to create change in your industry or community.

The secret to success in building and leading is in sharing your passion.