By Rosy Rubio, SHRM-SCP, is CEO of Tobosa Developmental Services in Rosewell, NM
When I started the ANCOR Foundation’s Leadership Academy, I was in my third year as the CEO of Tobosa Developmental Services, a community-based provider organization in Roswell, NM. I had been with the organization in a leadership position for 36 years, but I always knew there was the buffer of the CEO to take the brunt of any mistakes or bad judgement calls I made.
Well, that changed when I became the CEO, and suddenly I was now the buffer for everyone else. The weight of that thought was quite heavy.
As I enter my fifth year as the CEO and as I finish up my formal engagement with the Leadership Academy, I’ve been reflecting on how I’ve transformed over the years. I can certainly say that although that weight I felt may not by any lighter, I now have some support “beams” that help me carry the weight. The Leadership Academy provided me with a great number of different solutions, ideas and experiences that I found useful as support “beams,” and I’m grateful for the experience as a result.
Although I’ve been in the field of supporting adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) for over 40 years, I am, at times, still very uncomfortable in sharing my knowledge, experiences and ideas with others. I recognize that I may have some “imposter syndrome” when it comes to this discomfort, and I push it aside. However, because of the Leadership Academy, I can more readily able push it aside by putting myself out there.
This past year, for example, I attended several conferences throughout the country—ALONE. As weird as it sounds, I’ve never done this before! Rather, I would coerce someone to attend with me, whether it was a co-worker, a family member, etc. Not having someone I knew attend these conferences with me pushed me to reach out to people at these conferences and start up a conversation, invite them to dinner, join them for drinks and the like—something I would never have done before. I’ve learned some new things from others that we have implemented at Tobosa, and I’ve even shared ideas with others that are new to them. It has been a great networking venture.
In putting myself out there, I reached another milestone: I was selected to serve on the ANCOR Board of Representatives as a New Mexico representative. I now also serve on the Association of Developmental Disabilities Community Providers in New Mexico Executive Committee, and I have earned my SHRM Certification as a Senior Certified Professional. These milestones would not have been possible had I not put myself out there.
Because of my experiences while in the Leadership Academy and the courage I built to spread my wings, I have encouraged my staff to also spread their wings and get out of their comfort zones. And they have: several of the staff have been selected to positions of leadership within New Mexico and within national organizations, such as the Interagency Coordinating Council, Therap and others!
Watching the experiences of my staff as they grow and put themselves out there more makes me confident in saying that not only have I benefited from the ANCOR Foundation’s Leadership Academy, but I truly believe Tobosa Developmental Services and the people we support have benefited as well.