Monday, December 17, we had the pleasure of having our first –ever Leadership Dinner with immediate past president , Joseph I. Giarrusso III. It was a laid-back low-key, fun night filled with various YLC specific questions from the crowd. Below we’ll recap some of those questions and Joe’s answers. We would like to thank Joe, not only for his time that night, but his time over the past six years!
Q: What would you says is your favorite project and your least favorite project?
JG: I think my favorite is definitely the lighting of the Crescent City Connection. I wasn’t directly involved or even knew what the YLC was at the time, but that project put YLC “on the map” and lighting the CCC has been an iconic symbol for our city.
I don’t have a least favorite, but I have two pet peeves. When I served as VP of Projects people would constantly tell about these great project ideas they had which would only cost the YLC “this much money.” The YLC is not an ATM machine. Second, we give a lot of freedom to our project leaders. That is the way projects should run. I didn’t want to have to micromanage project leaders who weren’t holding up their end of the deal.
Q: How would you describe the role of a Board member to a Project Leader?
JG: Well, I think it’s important for the YLC Board to make sure information at the board level filters back down to our PLs so they know what we are doing. Not all of it, but the information that is applicable to them and their projects. I also think it’s important for PLs to remember that Board members have a duty and obligation to the organization in a way that no other volunteers do. We have to make financially responsible decisions based on the best interest of the entire organization and that decision may not be in line with the vision they have for their project.
Q: Someone in their mid-twenties moves to New Orleans and wants to become a leader within the YLC. Do you suggest the joining the board or becoming a Project Leader?
JG: That’s a good question. It depends…if you’re a Project Leader you’re running your own show. There is a lot of ownership. Your project will only be as successful as you and your co-project leaders make it. If you join the Board you may not have as much of that ownership. However, I feel like a position on Exec, particularly the VP positions, would be a huge step in the leadership department. Ideally, project leaders progress from their projects to the Board and then into senior leadership positions.
Q: What the best advice you ever received?
JG: Always be nice to the lady who gives you food. Just kidding, although, that is great advice. The best advice I have received is to step back from the situation before passing judgment. I can’t and don’t know what is going on with someone. I’ve learned to take into account those personal and professional issues, which can have a big effect on people’s performances.