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Friday, March 25, 2016

Thoughts On Quilt Guild Leadership

This post features a quilt that was made FOR ME (I still can't believe it) by my guild, using scrappy improv and my favorite colors. Rows were made by guild members and the whole thing was sewn together and quilted beautifully by my partner-in-crime, Jessica Levitt (@jtlevitt). It was a surprise for me at our March meeting. Thank you, friends, for a gift I will treasure forever. It is absolutely stunning and I use it every day!!


 

Many of you may know that I recently stepped down from leading my local Modern Quilt Guild, the Central Jersey MQG. Our founder, Jessica Levitt, handed the presidential reins over to me after two years, so it only made sense for me to do the same after 2 years. A bit like good old George Washington, if you will. New blood is good, and quite frankly, I need a break.


Why/how did I become involved in guild leadership? Well, I love and live to lead, teach, and volunteer. There was an opening and I went for it. I became the Webmaster, which is a President-appointed position, after 1 year of joining the guild. I was/am skilled with Blogger and social media, and no one else had volunteered. I ended up keeping the Webmaster position for three years - throughout my year as Vice President and 2 years as President. Being the Webmaster and President at the same time was its own unique workload, but it made sense to me often times. This year, our new President and Webmaster are separate positions again, and I think it's for the best. Plus, the two people who now inhabit those positions, Neva and Maggie, are rock stars!



What are the perks of volunteering to lead within a quilt guild? There are many. Getting to know nearly everyone in our 60-member guild by name. Leading meetings and crafting a year (or two) of monthly programming. Scheduling speakers and workshop teachers, sharing meals with them, and driving them around. Developing people and online management skills further. Making executive decisions for the good of the guild. Being the spokesperson for the guild within our state and the international MQG. Speaking with guests and meeting visitors who are thrilled to be there. Working with an executive board of passionate, hard-working, quilt-loving friends. Spreading a love for modern quilting.



Label on the back + signatures. The rainbow coincides with the front!! 


 Kristina, that little heart face gets me every time!

It's also difficult at times. Keeping up with emails from members and guests weekly was a lot of work on top of my personal blog emails and general social media presence. I oversaw and led retreat and workshop planning, inter-guild gifts, QuiltCon charity quilt making, guild banner making, 2 quilt show preparations, and more.

Additionally, our guild meetings are VERY involved (but of course, a blast); guests often told me they couldn't believe how much we had going on. For example, you could expect to hear about business, member announcements, recaps and comments about recently attended quilting events, our guild bee (now three years running), the annual guild quilt-a-long, a challenge at every meeting (including the international MQG challenges), a swap at most, a 10-15 minute demo, and show and tell. Phew! When you only meet once a month, there's a lot to do!


After my first year as President, I realized that we needed a better way to communicate business, so I developed the guild newsletter. Anyone can sign up to receive it on the top left sidebar of our guild site. I always sent it out the first week of the month, so that members had time to read it before our meeting on the second Tuesday. Working with MailChimp for the first time was a huge learning curve, but I learned to love it, which is one reason why I developed my own bi-monthly modern quilting newsletter, The Wonky Press, last October.

 
So, in case you're wondering if you should help lead your guild - yes! You should! It will certainly change you. This is the fifth year of our guild, and I've already been blessed with a transformative experience. I just want to thank everyone from the guild for allowing me to be a part of the guild in this way! I wrote a message in our leadership goodbye post, and I'm reposting it here in case there are more guild members reading this:

I'd personally like to thank all of you for your continued support of the guild and my own quilting. I never thought that I would be in the position of guild president when I joined four years ago as a very intimidated college student (you are all STUNNINGLY talented!). You have become friends and loyal comrades, and it feels like coming home whenever we have a guild meeting or event! Thank you for making all of it worthwhile. I'll still be around, but you can look towards the back of the room instead, where the old board will surely be cackling like Statler and Waldorf.

 

Outtake:

I did promise that my Dad would reappear soon...

Linking up to Fabric Tuesday, Needle and Thread Thursday
This is also a finish for my guild, so I'm linking up to TGIFF and Crazy Mom Quilts. :)

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9 comments:

  1. What an amazingly beautiful quilt they made for you. Clearly the love was felt both ways, and I am so proud to call you a friend. :) <3

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  2. Wow I really really like this quilt top! Great job!

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  3. Jess, you did a great job being the President!

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  4. What an amazing gift to receive from what sounds like a great group of quilters. I just recently became more involved with our local quilt guild and though it's sort of scary because public speaking isn't my thing, so far it has been a great experience. I found reading your thoughts about your experience very helpful.

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  5. I can't believe you did all that as president. Our guild has a separate program person since it's also an important job and it is time consuming. We usually like to have 2 people on that committee. President's job is busy enough without that additional job. Way to go and I love the quilt your members made you. Congratulations.

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  6. That was great of your guild to make you a quilt. It's so bright and colourful. Thanks for linking up with TGIFF hosted @ Anja Quilts.

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  7. Wow! You, sweet, are a workaholic! I bet you did a fantastic job and, obviously, you loved it. The guild quilt is well-deserved!

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  8. :) Fantastic quilt, lovely story. Thanks for sharing!

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