Dear NAINA family and friends,
First of all I want to thank God Almighty for His blessings in carrying us and our organization, NAINA for the past eight years. I am honored and humbled as I stand in front of you after the beautiful oath ceremony, wondering how, I could convey my gratitude to all. During the very first inaugural address in Houston in May 2007, I compared our initiatives in starting NAINA, to constructing a house, using Carpenter's Rule "Measure twice, but cut once". As I was reflecting on the past and our growth, I can proudly say that our family has grown; our house remains solid and firmly attached to our foundation. Yes, we had few storms along the way, but never a true hurricane that could have washed away or destroyed our house.
Tonight, I would like to narrate a story to convey my deepest sentiments regarding NAINA. (Some of you must have heard this story before or even used it in your own speeches in the past).
A wise old man was taking a morning walk through an old country road, enjoying the serene beauty of the nature and the peace and tranquility of his surroundings. After few minutes he came across a small construction site and noticed three bricklayers at work. All of them had their own pile of bricks, same tools and they were busy at work not paying any attention to anything else. They appeared to be very goal oriented and purposeful in their action. He watched them for few minutes, and realized that there were significant differences in the way they worked with the bricks. The first one was very fast, laying one brick on top of the other as though he really wanted to finish the pile of bricks as soon as he could. The old man also noticed that he was not concerned about how he put the bricks; he gave very little attention to the finished product. The second one was doing his job in a normal way but he was putting two bricks together and checking it only once in a while. The third one was very slow, but meticulous. He was checking each brick carefully, using only specific ones. All three were laying bricks but were very different.
Fascinated by the way they worked, the old man decided to find out more about them. He asked the first one, "Young man what you are doing?" He didn't like the interruption, must have been upset for making him slow down his work. He said "I am laying bricks". So he went to the second one and asked "Young man what are you doing? He straightened up, looked at the old man and said "I am putting a wall". Then he finally he went to the third one and asked, "Young man what are you doing?" He stood up, wiped his hands and answered slowly with a smile, looking at his finished product and answered, "I am building a temple".
If we analyze these three answers, we can understand why they worked differently. Their ultimate goals were so very different and it showed clearly in their work and in their attitude. Let us think this over a little further. First man - "I am laying bricks". He had no future goal or vision. Finish the work at hand and do it fast so he can either go home and rest or get more bricks and make more money. He did not care how the finish product looked because he had no vision with his work; he laid one brick on top of the other with no care for the quality or the beauty of what he produced. Do my job, finish my pile of bricks, get paid and get out of here.
Second man -"I am putting a wall". He had specific goal but no vision for the future. Wall is created to either to protect his family from dangers, give more privacy or prevent the people inside escaping or interacting with outside world. He might be afraid or wants more control. Third man: "I am building a temple". Temple is the house of God. He could only use the best of everything; the brick has to be right with no blemishes, no holes or cracks in it. The bricks and his work has to be perfect because in the middle of the temple he is going to build an altar and place the most important person- his God- in it and it is going to be a holy place. He visualizes people from all over coming, walking around looking at his work and worshiping. He had a dream and a vision for the future and worked slowly and purposefully to make it a reality.
Now let us see what these three workers might be thinking about each other's work. First one looking at the third one " this guy is slow, he is lazy, why is he here, I am going to tell others about him, maybe I should talk to the boss, thank God I have my own pile to work with" Third man looking at the first one " My God, he is not doing it right, he doesn't know how to lay bricks, the walls are crooked, the bricks have holes, and the whole thing will break in no time" The second one watching the other two " what are these two doing, why am I with them, I am going to watch what comes out of this and tell them what to do after I see the final product".
Now can you imagine putting them to work together with one pile of bricks? How can they be helpful to each other? I want all of you to think about this story and strategize what need to be done as a leader to create a team with these workers and make it a successful project.
As I was reflecting on this story, I could proudly say that the builders of NAINA from its inception could be compared to the third brick layer, the one who was building the temple. There were many who worked hard to build NAINA and lot of the training was on the job without compensation. Our growth may be slower than we hoped for, but with care and compassion and with utmost professional integrity, we are reaching our specific goals and upholding our mission and values.
Within this short period of time, NAINA has emerged as a body of talented, hardworking, highly accomplished body of nurses of Indian origin in this country. Our name is recognized well by the main stream American professional body of organizations. Our main goal for the future is to build and expand our organization so there is an Indian nurses association in every state in this country where our nurses are working. We will support and enhance the existing chapters in their efforts to grow further. We also dare to dream of establishing an international Indian nurses association in the future to unite all Indian nurses from around the world. We will have specific programs to groom and develop our upcoming young leaders to govern organization like NAINA through leadership training, seminars, certification programs, webinars and teleconferences.
We will strive to make a difference in the healthcare needs of our community through ongoing health fairs, health education and wellness/screening programs. We will focus on the group dynamics, team building and support group to increase cohesiveness and unity among our members and leaders for the success of our organization. You will not be tiered or defeated with hard work, but a disruptive/unsupportive and unreliable team can. There are so many things we want to do and I am confident that with the highly accomplished and talented team that we have chosen, and along with the ones we already have, we can move even higher and can reach the mountain tops with one step after the other.
We are like a chain with many links and every link in our chain is valuable and worth having. The strength of an organization is its members and we are as strong as the weakest link in our chain. So as a team it is our duty to support, teach and learn from each other for the total success of NAINA. What good it is if we win the battle, but lose the war.
As leaders we also have to know how to lead and empower our team, open to constructive criticism for improvement and courageous to acknowledge what you don't know. As a leader, one needs to have the courage to say to your team: "I/we blew this one, let us see what we can do to fix this and help each other to move forward". It is the best thing and the right thing to do, may not be easy, but your team will respect and support you for being human. There could be trials and setbacks along the way, which are part of life and cannot be avoided. As leaders we have to be courageous and project confidence at the time of trials. As Earl Wilson said "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you are scared to death."
It is like waiting for your boat at the sea shore. God will throw stones at us and create waves and rock our boat at times. At the time of the major storm when we cannot see anything other than the waves we might cry out to God for destroying our boat or taking it further away from us as we only see the wall of water in front of us. But many times, once the waves settle and water calms down, we realize that God threw that rock to redirect the boat to the right shore or bring it closer to the shore. Some times that is the only way can teach us life lessons. Let us pray that He will throw the rock behind our boat so the rising tide will raise the boat and bring it forward closer to us. Always remember, God could throw the stone in front of our boat and the rising tide will carry our boat away from us or break it completely and He does do that at times.
I pledged three things in my position statement visibility, viability and vitality. I reaffirm that pledge and we, as a team will strive to attain these for NAINA. I promise to do my very best and govern NAINA adapting transformational leadership style. Let us aspire to attain victory, one goal at a time. What is victory? "When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation or to record your own good works or to seek after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown- that is victory" Author unknown.
I think to reach that level of maturity, to remain truly unknown is pretty hard, because as humans we all seek varying degree of recognition and appreciation. But let us work to attain that level of maturity as we take NAINA forward. I want to thank each and every one of you for your support and the trust you put in me to lead this great organization for the next two years. I earnestly request your prayers and promise to do my best to remain worthy of your trust
May God bless us all and grant us the desires of our hearts that are always pleasing to Him.
Sara Gabriel MSN, MBA, RN
President, NAINA 2015-16