Leadership and Advocacy – Go Together Hand in Hand
“You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things.”
When the United States of America formed as a nation, our forefathers came together to ensure that the people of our nation were declared “all created equal and have equal rights.” However, that dream only applied to certain privileged groups. We now want to include people with disabilities, in that ideal of liberty and equality, just as people of color, race, sexual orientation and women have more recently been included. We cannot depend on the good will of others. As the CEO and leader of The THRIVE Network I am committed to promoting equal protection and participation in the decisions of government and private entities for those with disabilities.
As a leader and advocate, my role is to support and be the voice of persons with disabilities. Our companies mission statement, values, and agenda shows that our commonalities are much greater than our differences. As the leader, I strive to speak representing one collective voice – I am in the “driver’s seat” to develop and implement ways to change local policies to benefit the people I serve. As both a leader and an advocate – I understand that my battles are not won easily. However, I do not sit quietly – I stand up for what is right and what I believe in. Confidence, belonging to a community and contributing my honed skills empowers my team to believe that change CAN happen by working together. My leadership and advocacy skills are unified and complement each other.
As a leader, my voice is a shared voice. My opinions and beliefs are a voice for those who are unable to make their voice heard. Being a leader takes hard work and determination – the true ability to make effective contributions. Honesty, bravery, taking risks, believing in the cause, and willing to work at it, but most of all believing in myself is what drives my success. Self-advocacy and other advocacy efforts are so important to ensuring success when working with children, youth, and adults with disabilities. People look to me for support and guidance. Authenticity and knowing who you are is fundamental to being an effective and long-standing advocate. That is why I think it’s important for me as a combined leader and advocate – as the face of this organization, that I show my belief and trust in the people I work with, and most importantly remember who I am working so hard for.
My leadership is an opportunity to give back, and advocating allows me to pass on my knowledge and skills.
Being a leader means that I can use my industry influence as a powerful tool to effect change and I find that if used wisely it can be of great value to all. My positive leadership style and intuition fosters increased teamwork and effective advocacy.
Leadership and advocacy truly go hand and hand to safeguard rights, eliminate discrimination and abuse, increase awareness and ultimately empower people with disabilities and their families to advocate effectively for themselves. As Mother Theresa was a leader and advocate for the neediest, I am a leader and advocate for those with disabilities humbly accepting daily challenges and uniting my team to overcome and succeed.
- Charles A. Archer, CEO, The THRIVE Network