Are you ready to take your leadership journey to the next level but need help deciding which path to take?
EO Path of Leadership (PoL) offers members who have served in local or regional leadership positions an opportunity to grow their leadership skills as a leader of leaders while serving the organization as a whole. Not sure which position is right for you? Try this fast, fun questionnaire to discover your ideal leadership role in EO.
We asked Taunya Renson (EO Belgium), a Regional Chair in Europe and founder of Mach Media, about her EO Path of Leadership experience. In addition to sharing her thoughts in a recent Path of Leadership video testimonial, she shared more details about her overall PoL experience by answering a few questions:
Tell us about your EO Path of Leadership journey.
My PoL journey began by being “voluntold” to join my small Belgian chapter’s board one month after joining EO! I joined as MarCom Chair and served in that role for two years before becoming chapter president. It was early 2020 when I agreed to be president-elect, attended the annual Presidents’ Meeting, and returned home. And then Europe promptly went into Covid lockdown! So, I served my entire presidency over Zoom. Talk about needing to tap into our creativity! With my learning chair and chapter manager, we exploited virtual reality, gift boxes, board games and more during that challenging period, to keep members as engaged as possible.
After my chapter presidency, I joined the Regional Council as Member Experience Director. Honestly, when I applied, I thought I’d have no chance of getting it. I assumed many more qualified people existed who knew all the inner workings of EO. But I received a call saying they’d like for me to take the role. I realized then that PoL is less about how much you already know and more about how much you are willing to learn.
Months later, I was encouraged to apply as Regional Chair (RC) for Europe. After much thought, I decided it really did make sense for me from a learning and growing perspective. I have a small (15 people) marketing communication agency. The RC role offered me the chance to learn more about operating a midsize organization — we have 1,800 members in Europe — while also providing insights into EO as a large global organization. An opportunity to learn? Sign me up.
I’m currently in my second year as Regional Chair for Europe, and I’m loving every minute of my leadership journey. Aside from learning (unlearning and relearning), the connections are unparalleled. EO has 18,000 passionate entrepreneurs with incredible stories and a zeal for life. PoL has given me the chance to meet as many of our members as possible. How fantastic is that!?
What is the value of your PoL experiences, both personally and professionally?
There is a Mach Media (my agency) “before” EO and a Mach Media “after”. Two significant ways that EO Path of Leadership has influenced my company for the better are:
- PoL has enabled me to put the structure and culture in place to make my business less dependent on me day to day.
- My company culture — based on trust, openness, compassion and non-judgment — is directly informed by my Forum experience, which is also embedded in my experience with our Regional Council.
Personally, the quality of my friendships and relationships in my family, for example with my sons, has improved because I understand that the more open I’m willing to be, the more open they are willing to be in return. And that creates a depth of discussion and connection I’d been seeking — particularly as an American forging a new life in Europe.
What lessons have you learned from leading leaders?
Let them do their magic! My role as a leader leading leaders is to provide vision (and communicate it often!) and then inspire others to see the same possibilities as I do. Once they do, I just need to step back and let them make the magic happen. Let them transform the dream into a reality. And in that process, I serve them best by encouraging, coaching, helping to connect the dots, and removing roadblocks.
How has PoL helped you grow toward fulfilling your entrepreneurial potential?
I studied acting and was an actress before moving to Europe and embarking on a whole new life trajectory. Being an entrepreneur has been largely circumstantial. I kind of fell into it.
So, the question for me has always been, “What will I do with this opportunity?” If it’s a challenge for me — having not studied business or properly “prepared” myself to be a business owner — how far could I go in discovering the potential that lies within me to make this “accident” an enduring legacy?
PoL provides all the tools and experiences I need to keep pushing my perceived boundaries of what I’m capable of doing. I can experiment with my leadership style safely within EO and then take what’s proven back into my business, family and community.
Not only that, the people that I get to meet and collaborate with on this PoL journey are the absolute best supporters. We’re all cheering for each other and helping each other be the best versions of ourselves.
What would you share with members who may consider applying to PoL?
Don’t think. Apply.
Be hungry to learn.
Accept that you don’t know it all and that it may take effort to figure it out — because that’s actually the EO PoL journey. It’s both exciting and humbling. And at the same time, you no doubt have much value to offer the organization by simply being you and bringing your unique experiences, energy and perspectives to the topics we’re trying to address.
The PoL journey asks of us one thing — just take your next step.
Applications for Portfolio and Regional Chair opportunities are now open, with a deadline of 1 October2023. Applications for Regional Council Members, Standing Committee Members and Portfolio Team Members are due 1 December 2023. Applications for Experts are due 15 January 2024. (View position descriptions.)