AZA + BBG,
When I took on my first BBYO leadership role, I was good at not talking. I was L'dor Vador BBG's chapter Sh'licha, and I didn't speak at any board meeting. I just sat there. I had some ideas, but I didn't think they were good enough to share aloud.
The silence was not my fault. I didn't receive the support and training that the other chapter board members did. They had weekly check-ins with regional counterparts, participated in network calls, and formed relationships with their international counterpart. I, on the other hand, had no one. My advisors and chapter board were great, but I wasn't receiving the Sh'lichot-specific support that I needed. Even though I struggled to use my voice at board meetings, I was loud when it came to this argument – Manhattan Region needed a Regional Sh'licha.
The position did not exist, which was harmful to the chapter Sh'lichot. When I attended International Convention in Dallas, I saw the strength of the Sh'lichot network, and I saw how meaningful Judaic moments could be.
And to my excitement, the Sh'lichim positions were added to Manhattan's Regional Board. I didn't particularly want the position because of the Judaics or community service; I wanted it because I knew chapter board members like me were scared to speak. Leaders needed support, and I wanted to give it to them. I won the election, and although I was worried that I didn't have any footsteps to follow in, I was excited to make my own. Those footsteps led me to elect the first Regional Stand UP cause, plan the first Regional Kallah, and run for International Board.
My biggest weakness in BBYO became my biggest strength. I still sometimes struggle to press unmute on a Zoom call, worried about sharing my ideas. But by surrounding myself with a community of kind people -- I have learned to love my voice, opinions, and statements.
There are many people I would like to thank for helping my voice come alive:
To Danny: Thank you for putting up with me this year. I love brainstorming themes, writing services, and crafting resources with you. I couldn't have asked for a better co to work, laugh with, and smile with. I am so excited to spend this summer with you!
To The Sh'lichot Network: Thank you for being the best network in the history of networks. Getting to know each one of you was the highlight of my term. Your kindness and passion were infectious, and I have loved learning from all of you. I cannot wait to see all you will accomplish in the future.
To 97/77: Thank you for being such a great board but even better friends. I love laughing on Zoom calls with you all and waking up at 5 am for non-existent sunrise. I wish you all the best in college and beyond and look forward to staying in touch. Love you all!!!
To Staff: Thank you for helping me turn my ideas into reality. Truly nothing would be possible without all of your support. Your advice and encouragement helped get me through the year, and I am immensely grateful for you all.
To Manhattan Region: Thank you for providing me with my heart and home, L'dor Vador BBG #2559. Thanks to Manhattan Region, I have met my best friends and made some of my favorite memories. I look forward to hearing about all of the growth and wins to come!!!
I've learned a lot from BBYO, but if there is one thing I will take to college and beyond, it's to embrace the discomfort that comes with leadership. BBYO challenged me to press the unmute button and share my ideas, even when nervous. My strongest ideas were the ones I was most scared to say, and I can tell you now that I have no regrets about expressing them.
Respectfully submitted with undying love for my heart, L'dor Vador BBG #2559, my home, Manhattan Region, the 77th and 97th International Boards, the '21-'22 Sh'lichot Network, and the International Order of the B'nai B'rith Girls
I forever remain
Daniela Rachel Koplin
Your 33rd International Sh'licha and a proud lifetime member of the International Order of the B'nai B'rith Girls
Dani Koplin is the 33rd International Sh’licha from Manhattan Region
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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