Friday, November 21, 2014

What I Want in a UUA President [Landrum]

The call for applicants for the next UUA president from the Presidential Search Committee is happening, and it has a lot of people talking about who should throw their name in to the PSC, and what things we're looking for in our next UUA president.

I took a little time recently to crunch some numbers.
Name Birth Year Start Year of Presidency Age at beginning of Presidency Years in Ministry Prior to Presidency Years at UUA Prior to Presidency Total years UU prof. experience
Bill Schulz 1949 1985 36 3 7 10
John Buehrens 1947 1993 46 20 0 20
Bill Sinkford 1946/7 2001 54 0 7 7
Peter Morales 1946 2009 63 8 2 10

The last four presidents were all born at the beginning of the Baby Boomer era.  By the end of Peter Morales' presidency, they will have governed for 32 years.  And they are all men.  We've made great strides by having our first African-American president, and our first Latino president.

I think it's time for a woman or transgender president, and it's time for Generation X to step up to the lead.  Generation X ministers now have 10-20 years of experience, so we're right in the bracket of what we expect from a UUA president.  The oldest Gen-Xers are now turning 50; with ages in our thirties and forties now, we're the right age to govern, if our history is any marker of what we're looking for. 

Of course we should look for the right person with the right experience and a sense of vision and ability to govern and a deep theology and deep social justice commitment.  We should look for a president who can lead.  But there's no reason why this person can't be a woman, or someone gender-queer.  And there's every reason why it might be a Gen-Xer. 

I'm clear that this is not something I'm looking to do personally, and least in this stage of my career.  I have too many holes in my skill set -- soliciting large donations, just to name an obvious one that this small country church pastor lacks.  But I still hope it's a Gen-Xer, and am ready to think outside the male box of what president looks like.  I'm looking to my cohort and seeing who inspires me, challenges me, and who has shown leadership already in my generation.  They're out there; they're ready to lead; and they will be amazing. 

1 comment:

Robyn M-K said...

What many successful companies do is actively identify likely management and leadership candidates, and then actively take a hand at exposing them to the experiences they need to develop the skills they need. Does the UUA do something like this? If not, we probably ought to. That's one way to help dedicated and interested folks to get into the places where they'll have the most impact.