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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Branding is the Stepping Stone to Marketing

Thoughts from the European representative on the C&M Committee, Ingrid Stjernquist

Recently we celebrated International Women’s Day, which reminded us how important it is to build our branding of DKG and also to market what we are doing. 

Why is DKG such a glorious organisation? As one of my chapter sisters said, ”DKG is the only organization that empowers women to build a network of educators in other countries.” This important issue is part of our branding and something that we all enjoy. Branding fills a need. However, there is a difference between our member countries regarding how organizations for educators have developed. In Europe, we have many organizations which help with social security, such as teachers unions that help with educators' teaching environment, employment issues, laws and regulations but empowering women in their educational situation, that’s us. That's DKG.

Let’s find different ways to grow a market that leads to appreciation.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A New Day! A New Name!

We need a new name for the Leadership Management Seminar!

The Leadership Management Seminar was launched in 1979 to celebrate the Society’s 50th anniversary. That was 40 years ago! During this time, members have learned more and more about leadership and best practices. There have also been many radical changes in the field of leadership. The name of the leadership training sponsored through the Golden Gift Fund no longer describes the training participants now receive.

Leaders are expected to understand how to react in a variety of situations, how people work and play together, and how to create the most effective teams to move forward. To accomplish these expectations a leader needs to know herself, both her strengths and weaknesses, as well as her capabilities. She also must be acquainted with the latest ideas regarding empowerment and how best to motivate and “ignite” others toward becoming their very best. To better describe the leadership training funded by the Golden Gift Fund the committee is proposing a name change to the training itself. That name will be presented and acted upon at the May 2019 Administrative Board meeting. Stay tuned to learn what that new name will be as we move forward toward the next training in 2020.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Thinking Society

I have heard current international president Cathy Daugherty discuss the need for DKG to be a “thinking” Society and, frankly, I initially wondered what she meant by that comment. In an interesting article titled “What Makes a Thinking Organization” (2012), Kepner-Tregoe’s Director of Strategic Consulting, Sam Bodley-Scott, provided an interesting overview of the concept. He noted that organizations have a wealth of resources available nowadays—including impressive stores of data that can be mined for meaning. However, arguing for the importance of brainpower, Bodley-Scott noted, “But the simple truth is that whatever resources [organizations] have at their disposal, the only factor that will allow their deliberations to be more meaningful than yours is the speed and accuracy of their problem solving and decision making – in short, their ability to think.”

Bodley-Scott also explored the work of Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow, 2011), who asserted that “our minds use two modes of thought: the automatic, instant, intuitive, involuntary responses provided by what he terms our ‘System 1’ thinking; and then the more controlled, effortful, analytical and considered thoughts supplied by our ‘System 2’ minds.” Clearly, System 1 thinking is easier than System 2 thinking, which makes it immediately more attractive--but its automaticity makes it vulnerable to the tendency to fall on past solutions for current problems. In DKG, in fact, such thinking may be at the root of the “But we’ve always done it this way” mindset that sometimes hinders change. System 1 thinking naturally gravitates to established rituals rather than to a difficult examination of issues and answers.

So, given the extraordinary wealth of brainpower available in DKG, shouldn’t we become more and more a thinking Society as opposed to a ritual-driven Society? Shouldn’t we elevate the focus of our efforts on personal and professional growth and education rather than obsessing over Society practices and routines? Shouldn’t we gather primarily to grow professionally and personally and to promote excellence in education—rather than to promote the Society and its rituals per se? When I founded DKG back in 1929, we did not have rituals or routines and were forced to engage in System 2 thinking to address the very real problems of women educators. Perhaps by returning to our roots as a thinking Society, we will keep forward moving ever.

Friday, April 12, 2019


 Here is yet another rumor the 2018-2020 Nominations Committee is addressing to keep DKG members “in the know” …

Rumor has it that members outside the United States cannot take a leading role in DKG. Members outside the United States can and do take leading roles in DKG. Members representing the sixteen countries outside the USA are included by virtue of the Constitution in the appointments considered for each international committee and are regularly elected to the International Nominations Committee (two from Europe are required) and to the DKG Educational Foundation. Europe has been represented on the DKGEF once with Marianne Skardéus (Sweden) elected to that position. The Finance Committee has had several European member and two have served as chair, Birgitta Johansson (Sweden) and Monica Tengling (Sweden).

Three positions on the Administrative Board are exclusively offered to members outside the USA: Latin American Representative, Canadian Representative, and the European Regional Director. The Latin American and Canadian Representatives have been in place since 1999. Until Europe became a region in 1998, there was a European Representative on the Administrative Board. Now Europe is represented on that board through the European Regional Director. To date eleven Europeans have served as European Regional Director.

Six positions on the Administrative Board are open to all members regardless of their nationality: president, 1st vice president, 2nd vice president, two member-at-large and the position of immediate past president. Since 2000 members from outside the USA have held positions at the highest levels of DKG. One Canadian has held the position of international president (Jackie Cuppy, 2004-2006) and then immediate past president (2006-2008). In recent years both a European (Dr. Sigrún Klara Hannesdóttir) and a Latin American (Jeannette Zuñiga) member have served as 2nd vice president. Currently, Dr. Lace Marie Brogden from Canada is the 2nd vice president. Several others have served as member-at-large, including Dr. Christina Lindqvist (Sweden) and Jeannette Zuñiga (Costa Rica).

The conclusion might be that it is hard to get a position on the Administrative Board, but one’s nationality is not the issue. The same avenues for becoming a leader at the highest level are open to all throughout the Society. It is not impossible for members outside the USA to move forward in the Society. Successfully attaining an elected position demands service at all three levels, excellence in that service, and recognition as a leader by all members no matter your nationality or theirs.

The key to having a leading role in DKG is to apply. Currently, most applications come from US members. Members outside the US can change that trend by applying for elected positions for the 2020-2022 biennium. Applications will be posted on the DKG website by July 1, 2019 and are due for consideration no later than September 15, 2019. … And, that’s no rumor!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Making an Impact, Part I

How can we, as educators, impact legislation, whether at the local, county/parish, state or federal levels? Furthermore, can we have an impact on legislation?  

I found a group of researchers who state that public policy is being influenced mainly by highly paid lobbyists, large corporations, “deep-pocketed donors,” and organized groups. Compared to economic elites, average voters have a low to nonexistent influence on public policies,” (Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, November 14, 2014).  What a depressing thought that the only way we get the “good stuff” is if some elusive “Mr. Big” decides it’s in his/her best interest to “throw us a bone” occasionally through a “pork barrel” project or because our legislators happen to need the same thing we do.

When I think about this, my immediate reaction is, “Well, of course we can.”  We need to discuss issues and policies with our officials; write e-mails, texts and letters to them; make phone calls to their offices and speak to their staff. All we need do is get the ear of an official, and our voice will be heard!”

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


Although the Expansion Committee began conducting business this past summer, only recently did the committee have its first face-to-face meeting at Society Headquarters in Austin. It was a very busy, but exciting two day meeting.

The committee determined areas of the strategic plan where we can support state organizations and chapters in their efforts to promote and enhance membership. We also planned workshops for the international conferences this summer and the convention in 2020.

Committee members engaged in stimulating discussions that focused on the creation of new chapters, especially in areas where no chapters exist. We talked about what has been tried, what has worked, and what hasn’t. The Expansion Committee believes that we need to have these robust conversations with state organization leaders and members. As an organization, how can we continue to move forward in our efforts to support educators and expand DKG?

Join us in the conversation! Share your successes, as well as your frustrations. We want to hear from you. As the beginning of this blog states, “we are on fire” and we want you to catch our enthusiasm.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

More Meaningful Networking

I have to admit that if I were a DKG member today, I would have some difficulty in selecting which of the five upcoming international conferences to attend! This is not just because the themes themselves are so relevant and rich educationally, but also because attendance at any given conference would link me with members whose interests and/or passions are aligned with my own. In other words, while it is wonderful to network with members from a given area or region, it seems to me to be much more powerful to network with those who share my interests or needs a bit more specifically.

A number of years ago, members suggested that DKG find a way to link members who shared professional job titles (primary grade educators, college professors, media specialists, counselors, administrators, etc.) or positions in DKG (editors, membership chairs, educational excellence chairs, etc.).  Alternatively, members suggested that linking members with common interests—gardening, book clubs, travel, art, etc.— would also be great! The thought was that having a network of colleagues in similar positions or with similar interests would be a powerful source of support and growth. From this thought evolved the Communities available on the MyDKG segment of the DKG website—currently home to 14 topic/job areas.

This same kind of “linking” will be possible through the five international conferences, where members with similar interests will have a chance to learn and share with each other. In other words, the arbitrary structure of regions will be replaced with a structure of mutual interest and growth. And while members may enjoy renewing friendships based on regions, developing friendships and networks relevant to one’s personal and professional growth will be more powerful. Through such professional networks, we will continue forward moving ever.

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