To my neighbors,
Next Tuesday at 6:30pm, we are holding a Ward 15 Neighborhood Meeting at the Webster Avenue School. The address is 191 Webster Ave. If you can, please come out to discuss our neighborhood’s needs and any concerns you have that we can address at the city council.
VIN Check Station
The VIN check station at 34 Ernest Street will soon be vacated after a vote by the City Council’s Special Committee on Public Safety. The building has been in disrepair for quite some time, and relocating the VIN check offices, as well as the city’s sewer department, which is in the same building, is a good step. We hope the new VIN check station, which may be located in the Public Safety Complex Garage on Washington Street, will be open April 1. Until then, if you need a VIN check, you may continue to use the current office on Ernest. I will keep you updated on the location and opening date of the new station as I hear about it.
International Women’s Day
On Friday, I had the honor to be the keynote speaker for the Extraordinary Woman Award, a celebration of International Women’s Day. In my speech, I was able to talk about the Four Agreements, a set of guidelines that I have used to direct my leadership style over the years:
I’m honored to be here tonight on International Women’s Day and to help celebrate the Extraordinary Woman Award honorees. Each of you is being honored because of your amazing leadership and because of the dedication that you have shown to your community and in your field of service. That is a wonderful achievement, and I am honored to be here to help say “congratulations”.
Being a leader is never easy. It’s often difficult, and lots of times women leaders must work longer and harder to be recognized than their male counterparts.
I was given two directives for this speech tonight, first: be brief, and second, talk about positive leadership. So, as I was thinking about this speech tonight, I was thinking about the kind of leader that I want to be; that I strive to be. I say “want and strive” because, although I hold elected office and I have been elected by my colleagues on the City Council to be their President, I am always striving to be a better leader. It is a journey in which I keep moving on step by step every day.
In this journey, I discovered a book a few years ago by Don Miguel Ruiz: The Four Agreements, and since then I have been a believer in those four agreements. I try to incorporate them into my leadership style.
Please note the emphasis in “I try”! Because it is really hard to break away from old habits.
So, here are the agreements Don Miguel Ruiz asks us to make with ourselves:
- Be Impeccable with Your Words
- Don’t Take Anything Personally
- Don’t Make Assumptions
- Always Do Your Best
I strive to be impeccable with my words. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it, and I follow through on it. As a leader, it’s important that we have the trust of not just our colleagues, but also those in our lives and those we serve. Also, I try not to use my words to destroy or speak ill of others. (I told you already that I try)
I try, (really hard try) not to take anything personally. This one is the tricky one. In politics, we are in the spot light and open to criticism 24/7, for better or for worse. But I keep talking to myself and reminding myself that how others feel about me, or what they say about me, has no bearing on who I am or what I’m doing. I try and stay attentive to my goals and what I’m trying to achieve. Of course, this is easier said than done. But again, these are things I strive for.
I strive to not make assumptions. This is something that we all fall trap to. I’m sure there is not a person in this room who has gotten an email or a text message that you didn’t read too much into it. Instead of assuming we know what the sender meant, we should take the time to ask them for clarification – that one alone would save us a lot of aggravation and time. They say that “communication is key”, and they are right!
Finally, I strive to always do my best. One of the things that this book tells us is that doing our best will depend sometimes on our circumstances. If you are sick or are dealing with a big problem or a big loss your best will not be the same as when you are healthy and everything else is well in your live. If you know in your heart that you are doing your best, that is all that matters. That’s all we can do.
Tonight I want to ask you that, as women and as leaders in our communities and our respective fields, let’s keep doing our best; and when we fall short, let’s not attack or punish ourselves nor each other. Sometimes, when we work in a group or work together on a project we get frustrated because someone is not living up to our expectations. I want to ask you that before we make any assumptions, let’s try not to take anything personally, be aware of what we say and give each other the benefit of the doubt; that probably that is the best that person can do at that time due to others circumstances we are not aware of.
Let’s pick each other up. And let’s keep reminding each other of the four agreements. I know for sure that I need reminders. Thank you, and congratulations again.