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Making the most of INTA committees

INTA members got a lesson in how not to make the most of the organization’s network of committees on Sunday, with panelists running through many of the don’ts of committee leadership to highlight what would-be committee chairs should do instead.

Joseph V. Norvell of Norvell IP, David J. Cho of AT&T Services, Inc., Marion Heathcote of Davies Collison Cave, and Iris V. Quadrio of Marval of O’Farrell & Mairal, explained why doing all the work yourself is a bad idea, how micromanaging a committee saps enthusiasm and how failing to be sensitive to members’ cultural backgrounds might result in the committee being unable to use its members’ abilities to the full.

“Don’t yell at people who aren’t active on the committee,” warned Cho. “Find out what’s really going on.” Other advice ranged from the need to be responsive to volunteers by answering their queries promptly, to mixing up the methods by which committee members communicate to avoid relying too heavily on conference calls­—which may not always be the preferred communication option for non-native English speakers. And the panelists proposed a test for committee chairs worried that they might not be doing a good job: “The number one sign is that you don’t get invited to the committee happy hour.”

But would-be committee leaders were not the only ones who received a lesson during the session. The panelists also explained how committee members can maximize their contribution, helping both INTA and their own career in the process.

“This isn’t a time to be shy,” said Heathcote. “This is a volunteer organization. If you wait to be asked to take on a task, you could wait forever.”Quadrio summarized the key advice for INTA committee members: “It’s about team work. Be active, go the extra mile and speak up. It’s definitely worth it. It’s a very rewarding experience.”

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