I grew up in a small town and thought the best place to be when school let out for the summer was the public library. I would sit in the stacks and just explore. I discovered mysteries, adventures and I also discovered I really enjoyed stories about pioneers the best of them all.
What qualities make up a pioneer?
The dictionary says a pioneer is one of the first or among the earliest in any field of inquiry, enterprise or progress; one who is first to open or prepare the way for others to follow.
We can all name some pioneers and there are different fields of “pioneering”:
Science: Marie Curie discovered radiation and prepared the way for x-ray technology in medicine.
Internet: Mark Zuckerberg, pioneer social connections on the internet, leading the way to connections with each other across wide distances and share important life experiences.
Freedom: Nelson Mandela changed his world by pushing progress against segregation and degradation and went on to prepare and repair relationships between opposed and oppressors.
What do all these people have in common?
- A compelling dream/belief about a better future
- The increasing support of others
- They were prepared in some way (education, spiritual development, training)
- Their dream was stronger than their fear of failure
- Others followed them and created more accomplishments
Recognition was not on their list of expectations. However, we now know about them and appreciate their determination. There are many pioneers whose names will never be known. We need more of those.
In our strategic plan, we said we would commit to social responsibility, economic accountability and innovation. Last week, I wrote about our pioneers with AVAIL and how we are first in the United States to pioneer this new assistive technology. This week, I want to introduce you to one of our other pioneers. Meet LaTasha Williams.
LaTasha is a nurse case manager in Philadelphia. She took a hard look at the documentation we need to keep about our client’s health. With the support of her supervisor she used the tools at her disposal in new ways to create a solution. She identified some people who would benefit and inspired them to try her new approach. She engaged those people in helping her shape the solution. Now she is rolling it out to the benefit of others inside our organization and in the health care provider community.
The solution she created is elegant, speedy, practical and already getting rave reviews. She is already looking for ways to make it ever better.
I ask everyone to make a choice. Be a pioneer or find one and follow them.
We have many challenges in our field of work and in our communities. We can tackle these challenges with an all hands on deck approach. Those challenges rely on our social commitment to each other, a wise use of our resources, and some innovation.
Many years ago our founders pioneered a new country and KenCrest’s founders did the same. Today, we find our work is not done. So, start pioneering from where you are. You may be surprised with what comes of it.