Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Leadership Spotlight: An Interview with Esperanza Badillo-Di Iorio, WSPTA Region 4 Director

Question: Why did you get involved in PTA leadership?

Answer: As a mom with five kids, I naturally became involved in PTA. When there was a need for a volunteer coordinator at my kid’s school, I volunteered simply because someone needed to fill this position. I didn’t set out to become president, but after serving as volunteer coordinator I became president of at Horizons Elementary PTSA. It has been a lot of work, but fun and rewarding, and with five kids, I’m sure I’ll be in PTA for a while too.
Question: How did you become involved in leadership at the state level?
Answer: When I was president of my local PTA, I attended the WSPTA Leadership Conference even though I was pregnant at the time. After attending this conference I became interested in volunteering in the region. Initially, I served as outreach chairperson and eventually became region director.
Question: How has the leadership training you received through the WSPTA benefited you?
Answer: I have been to every WSPTA convention, legislative assembly and leadership conference since 2007. Leadership training has helped me gain the knowledge and skills to advocate for my own children and speak to the local unit leaders in region 4 about issues they are passionate about and help them become more effective advocates as well.
For example, this past year our school board was planning to minimize the time kids could receive music and art in our district. As a music major with a love and passion for the music and the arts, I felt strongly that kids need to have this component in their education so I testified at the school board meeting on this issue.

Question: Do you participate in WSPTA’s Leadership Academy?
Answer: Yes, I have achieved the silver and gold levels of the leadership academy and have now fulfilled the requirement to receive the crystal level next year.  At first, leadership in PTA wasn’t about awards or recognition, but now I realize that achieving these distinctions looks good on a resume. As a stay-at-home mom who has been out of work for a few years, being a volunteer leader in PTA has helped me learn and grow as a parent and an individual. The skills and experience I have gained through PTA will help me contribute to any organization in the future and the training I received enabled me to be an effective advocate for initiating change and taking action on things I believe in.