Who are our members?
The New York Center's members reflect the diversity and energy of New York itself. We are managers, consultants, mental health professionals, educators, community leaders, business owners, leadership experts, and, ultimately, students. AND, our membership extends well beyond the bounds of New York City, incorporating members from Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Tel Aviv, and Belgium!
Featured Member: R.C.Whitehouse
RC Whitehouse – by day – is the Associate Director of Learning and Development at mcgarrybowen, an advertising agency in New York City. But RC wears many other hats. He sits with the Executive Committee of the New York Center, as the representative to the Collaborative Committee at AKRI, and most recently, he was the Associate Director of Administration at AKRI’s group relations conference that took place just prior to the Dialogues on May 1 (Leadership, Learning, and Change: Who’s in Charge? Why Listen to Each Other?). RC is a busy guy…
His most recent role as the Administrative Director for Administration at the conference was…in group relations language…interesting. The membership was largely made up of group relations professionals – people that have staffed conferences, been consulting in the field for many years, and some that were even presenting at the Dialogues merely a day later. RC’s administrator was on the board of AKRI, with significantly more years of experience, and yet RC was authorized as the Director of Administration. “The dynamic of authorization was different than at any other conference I’ve worked,” said RC. “It was a challenge to take up my authority with someone who has done my role so many more times than me.”
The conference was born out of the Collaborative Committee’s discussions about the lack of opportunities for consultants in training. And yet ironically, within a week of the conference, there was also a conference held at the University of Chicago, as well as at Teachers College. Interesting stuff…
We asked him what his three biggest takeaways were. He said:
1) No two conferences are alike; I’m made aware – again – of the stark reality that the membership very much determines how the conference progresses
2) Even though I’ve done this role many times now, you can never truly prepare because there’s a different dynamic every time; this notion of “once you’re a pro, you’re a pro” is not valid!
3) Even though it’s a temporary institution, the world is not temporary; working within the complexity of a nested system is just…fascinating.
Like many of us tend to do, RC is still processing his experience even weeks later. But in the end, perhaps his biggest learning is how competent he truly is. In his words: “it was an honor to be asked to represent the NY Center, but also to be asked by the head of the Training and Certification Committee to be the Administrative Director, and then authorized by the Executive Committee [of the NY Center] to act in that capacity. I need to start owning my competence in the work. I can’t hide behind being new anymore. Maybe I’m not as new as I thought.”