Library Collections: Document: Full Text

Lost In A Desert World

Creator: Roland Johnson (author)
Date: 1994
Source: Available at selected libraries

Previous Page   Next Page   All Pages 

Page 14:


Very hard to express -- to see a colored person being something of a leader of a organization like Speaking for Ourselves. Was the first time for a colored person, being a colored president of a board, of taking in charge of something that he never had tooken charge. And this is something that I looked forward to being someday -- the first black colored person that has a handicap disability would help to steer people in the right direction.


We had to call everybody up and tell 'em that it was very serious; that you had to come; there's some things that we have to talk about. I told 'em, "Don't do that again; 'cause this is very important meeting that we have to talk about and we have to get things organized on the board level."


I helped changed things around.


People had been getting up going to the bathroom interrupting the Board of Directors while the meetings was going on. And I said that we could not do this because I can't function while people are going to the bathroom -- that's not how a board of directors should operate, people getting up and going to the bathroom and running around, giggling, and stuff like that.


I had been to other kinds of meetings in the partial hospitalization day program. It taught me a lot -- how to conduct a meeting, how to select officers, how to focus on different things. And people could not jump up and go to the bathroom, getting up and just being outside in the hall -- that does not work that way. I learned that then.


I talked with Mark about that, that we had to do some changes, or else when people come, they'll say, "Hmph. I don't know about this. I don't know about this board. That don't seem like a board meeting to me, with a lot of people running around up and down." I had told Mark that he couldn't get up and go to the bathroom because people see that and they'll follow him, because that's not being a good example for them. Suppose somebody comes in, somebody from the State, and everybody goes to the bathroom; that wouldn't be fair. Or the President of the United States -- you invited the President -- that wouldn't be nice, running out. So you have to maintain some kind of order in your board of directors meeting.


It was a struggle to make the board understand this. We had to get this in place before my term ran out; if we didn't, it would be the same thing happening as we didn't do this, put this into action. It was very serious. I was very serious about putting this thing into action, getting the board on the right track: stop running to the bathroom and sit and listen. It took two months to get get my act together.


I went home and think, then I call up Mark and I said, "Well, you know, Mark, sometimes I'm thinking I'm too bossy. Maybe people won't believe me all the time; maybe they don't know what I'm saying."


Oh, it was big headache to make this work; it wouldn't work it. Something was gonna fold or they would elected another president.


But we did it. We did it together.


I was the type of person that's strict, very strict -- but pleasant -- to make it run more smoothly. Whatever I said, went. Well, maybe everybody didn't agree with what I said, but some of it slowed down. I taught them what I taught them, what I learned. And they looked up to me as a leader. So that's how things changed.


After two years I got them to settle down. I told them that you have to stay focused on what you're doing and you have to listen to the president. The president's in charge and you have to listen to what's on the agenda. To make a good board leader you have to make people listen and stay focused on what you're talking about. I said, "We're not going to get up and down and run around. We're going to concentrate on the things that it's on the agenda."


Whoever came, that person would think, "Well, hmm. I never seen any board meeting 'ducted that nice. They conducted themselves very nice; it was not emotional." That would help them to understand, that would teach them, it would say to them, "Well, there are handicapped people out there can do things, can 'duct a meeting and can hold conversations, can do more things that other people cannot do."


I talked with Mark after the board meeting, a couple days after. Mark tell me, "People look up to you. You got power. You know how to do this and you got the know-how." Made me feel good inside; made me feel -- well, somebody was supporting me.


And I never forget the day that Patty Sommers -an advisor -- K.W.- says, "You are very tough. I don't know, you're just a tough person." Well I think she like how I conduct the meeting, how I said, "No, you can't do this; no, you can't do that. No, you got Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, Step 4." It was just something. Amaze, how I did it.


A Board president has a lot of things to do, to keep focused on. We're bringing new ideas to the Board. The reports have to be right; policy has to be right; things have to be in order; you have to lay out the things for the Board of Directors.

Previous Page   Next Page

Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22    All Pages