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Introducing the New Leader Recommendation Form

Leslie Del Gigante and Trudy Hartt
Leader Accreditation Department Co Directors
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 35 No. 6, December 1999-January 2000, p. 139

If you've ordered a new LLLI Application Packet recently, you've seen that the Leader Recommendation Form looks different. It's four pages long. Why?

You Know the Applicant

Leaders are the interested mother's first contact with La Leche League. You make La Leche League "real" and provide an example, not only of La Leche League philosophy, but also of LLL leadership. A mother can learn a lot about what LLL leadership entails by observing as you facilitate meeting discussions, answer questions, and involve others in Group management. In discussions prior to and during an application, you are the Applicant's first resource.

As you observe her contributions to discussions and her interaction with other mothers, you learn first hand what a mother might bring to LLL leadership. As she attends Series Meetings month after month, you watch her develop and communicate her understanding of mothering through breastfeeding. As you discuss mothering and breastfeeding, you begin to see how this mother's choices fit in with LLLI philosophy. Using No 120-11, "Leader's Guide: In Preparation for an Application" as a guide, you discuss an LLL Leader's role and responsibilities. These discussions help you "round out," confirm, modify, and/or expand on your observations.

The Leader Recommendation Form is your tool for transmitting what you know to the Leader Accreditation Department (LAD). Based on what you and the interested mother have observed and discussed, you will plan some of the areas you will focus on and activities and exercises you will do during the application. Based on what you write, the LAD representative will help tailor the application to the needs of the Applicant. Together, you and the LAD representative will help the applicant build on her strengths and offer her opportunities to increase her knowledge and skills.

The New Form

The Leader Recommendation Form has been revised to make it a more effective tool. As before, you can answer directly on the form or use a separate piece of paper; should you choose to answer on the form, you'll have ample room for your responses. There are places to check off what you have discussed, a few spaces for quick yes/no answers, and lots of writing space for your thoughtful comments. For your convenience, the 1998 "LLLI Prerequisites to Applying for Leadership" are printed in their entirety on the first page of the new form.

A new question asks whether you used the "Guidelines for Leaders" as you considered whether the candidate meets the prerequisites, and if you consulted a LAD representative with any questions you may have had. If you are uncertain about whether a mother's understanding and experience fulfills the prerequisites, it is important that you consult with a LAD representative before you write a recommendation. She can help you sort through your concerns, focus on what's relevant, and work effectively with the accreditation policy.

Another new part of the form provides a place to gather observations from other Leaders. They may prefer to complete separate forms or include their input with yours, on the same form. Every Leader in the Group can have an effect on an application - through her example, the interests she demonstrates, her concerns, and her support. From her perspective, based on her observations and her experience, each Leader can add to the design of an application.

A New Beginning

The Leader Recommendation Form is the candidate's letter of introduction to what may be her first contact with the larger world of La Leche League.

She has worked with you in a Leader-interested mother partnership from the first telephone helping call or Series Meeting you shared. When you take the time to complete the Leader Recommendation Form thoroughly and thoughtfully, you expand the partnership to the triad of Leader-Applicant-LAD representative.

Just as we help each mother individually, building on what she already knows and providing her resources to answer her particular questions, Leader preparation builds on what each interested mother knows and provides resources to help answer her questions and achieve her LLL goals. The information and insights you provide via the Leader Recommendation Form are a foundation on which - together - you and the LAD can build the preparation of a future co-Leader.

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