Ask Tim

To Lead, Put Others First

Executive Director Tim Lawrence has known SkillsUSA as a student member, instructor, industry partner and state director. Got a question? He can help.

Q: If you had to define SkillsUSA in one word, what would it be?

Tim: Leadership. Above all else, SkillsUSA is a leadership organization — founded on the principle that solid employees and citizens need not only superior technical skills but also a strong base of leadership skills. We’ve learned that there are many different ways to develop as a leader, but to me, the two most effective methods are serving others and training others.

Through service, you’ll learn about project management, time management and budgets. You’ll gain skills in writing, speaking, and organizing by committee.

Just look at this story and imagine the variety of skills students exercised during a Habitat for Humanity build near New Orleans. The most powerful leadership lesson? It’s from the students whose homes were severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina; they were still motivated to help those even less fortunate.

To showcase your own local projects, SkillsUSA has a National Week of Service each May. Now is a great time to start working on a community service event to cap off your year. To help you plan and carry it out, we offer online resources at:

We also provide local support through our partners. Most recent are the Lowe’s grants to help chapters secure resources and enhance the quality of their efforts. Go here for details.

It’s clear students have arrived as leaders when they can actually train others to carry on a project or activity. Your chapter advisor develops leaders by mentoring and empowering students to practice and hone their skills. Recently we hosted a SkillsUSA Ohio conference in which state officers trained regional officers. After several days, the state officers passed the mantle of leadership to their regional counterparts, who in turn have gone back to train the local officers.

What can you do individually to prove your leadership ability in your school, community and nation? Simply stated: grow your leadership skills by helping others grow. (If you want to be evaluated and rewarded for your ability, SkillsUSA has leadership contests too. Ask your advisor how you can get involved.)

Our SkillsUSA leadership model is based upon one person helping the next. Eventually, you will build teams of leaders who believe in their ability to get things done. That helps SkillsUSA and our local communities, and it helps America. End of story

Got questions about SkillsUSA or other topics? E-mail or send a letter to SkillsUSA / P.O. Box 3000 / Leesburg, VA 20177. Put “Ask Tim” in the subject line or mail address.

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SkillsUSA Champions | Spring 2007 | Volume 41, No. 3
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