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Announcing New Leader Accreditation Department Co-Directors

Diana Lewis
Leakey TX USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 41 No. 2, April-May 2005, p. 45.

Alison Parkes (Great Britain) and Karin Gausman (US Western Division) began their term as Co-Directors for the LLLI Leader Accreditation Department (LAD) on February 1, 2005. LLLI Executive Director Hedy Nuriel formed a team to help her select a new Leader Accreditation Department Director following the LLLI Board of Directors' vision of the qualities needed in this position. These include:

  • An ability and willingness to lead creatively and to coordinate the department as LLL moves toward being a distributed organization.
  • Agreement with the Board's vision of accrediting mothers with a broad range of experience, in a wide variety of ways.
  • The Board envisions the LAD's work to include more education and support for Leaders, who will be able to effectively carry out the responsibility for finding, recommending, and assisting Leader Applicants.

Alison and Karin bring a great deal of experience to the work and a helpful blend of perspectives. Karin has been a Leader for nearly 30 years and Alison has been accredited for more than 16 years. They have experience working in an Affiliate and in several different states in the US. Karin has worked on Area Councils for several different Areas as well as having experience on a Division staff. Alison brings invaluable insight from her experience as an administrator for a Peer Counselor Program. Alison has also served LLL Great Britain as General Director, 1997 Conference Coordinator, Publications Director, and LAD Director, working in the LAD since 2003. Karin's experience includes being a DA, ACLA, CLA, RALA, and ADRALA during her more than 16 years in the LAD.

Karin kept track of many things in her LLL experience, including 270 Leaders she has accredited! This experience is balanced by Alison's newness to LAD work. Where Karin has a long perspective, Alison's newer viewpoint allows this team to consider our history and also question why we do things in certain ways. Both women have an intense desire to support La Leche League work and facilitate applications for leadership. Both value the benefits of teamwork and, while their basic personalities and experiences differ, they see this as a definite asset and envision bringing balance and new possibilities to their shared position. Both cited work with the LAD Council as important to their growth and development, improving their work for LAD. Some of the goals that will guide Alison and Karin's leadership for the LAD include:

  • A desire to see LLL reach more mothers.
  • A quest for greater diversity among LLL Leaders.
  • Determination to bring an open, respectful mind, and flexibility to the work.
  • A belief that the Director’s role is to help bring knowledge and understanding about the many ways to meet the prerequisites and criteria for leadership while being guided by LLLI philosophy.
  • A dedication to communication and relationship building.

Special thanks to Nancy Spahr,

the outgoing LAD Director. Her expertise as a leader for the department was described by a long-time co-worker as follows: "Nancy has chosen to work with this whole group [LAD Council] as a team and I hope the next Directors of the LAD continue that. Nancy has encouraged the expression of opinions and understandings independent of her own, both through her attitude and general recommendations and also through even small choices. An example of one is when she poses questions in email and leaves a long space before showing her response so that people who want can formulate their responses without first reading Nancy's. I think members of this group feel safe to express 'minority opinions,' and that helps everyone see issues in many ways."

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