Finding a Speaker, Finding a Voice

By Kris LoFrumento, Membership Committee Chair

[Editor’s Note: This is part of the “Life Cycle of a Shoaler” series. This essay focuses on the transition as conference attendee and leader.]

I was asked in the summer of 2005, when I was a conferee at what was then called United Church of Christ 1, if I would consider chairing the family conference the following summer. Not yet knowing who my co-chair would be I agreed to step up to the challenge. Best decision I ever made.

The entire process of becoming intimately involved with all of the details for running a conference, getting to know the ins and outs of the wider Star Island Corporation and all its various stakeholders, and having this leadership position springboard into other opportunities has been a huge part of my personal development.

After a successful 2006 UCC 1 conference, my co-chair Vickie Hambrecht and I entered the fall with an idea of what we were doing! As conference chairs know the first year is a huge learning curve and the second time around seems so much more manageable.

The responsibility of running a conference was a great deal of work (including changing our name to Star Gathering). It allowed me to find my own voice and to know that I have the skills to see the big picture and to tackle minute details at the same time. My time as a conference chair was the springboard for other roles and responsibilities with the Star Island Corporation including as clerk of the Council of Conferences, as Vice-President and President of the Star Island United Church of Christ, Inc., as a Board member of SIC, as a member of the Pel Reunion Steering Committee and later as a co-chair of Pel Reunion, as a founder and co-chair of the Clergy Conference, and as chair of the SIC Membership Committee. It is the people and the environment of Star Island who have supported me, who have mentored me, and who have shown me how to be a confident leader through their personal examples.