Leadership / Priorities

Leadership Moment — 15 Sep 22

Other people’s mistakes cannot become your priorities.

Mark McMillion
4 min readSep 16, 2022


Photo by Pixabay:

My wife and I have two sons in high school and she’s now president of the school boosters. It’s a tough job because you’re managing a whole bunch of volunteers. She has no “sticks” to employ as a leader and not many “carrots.” What she does have and taps into is a meaningful purpose.

The organization runs the concession stands at the stadium for football, soccer, track, cross-country, and a few other events. They also run the concession stand in the school that supports basketball, volleyball, wrestling, and an assortment of other activities. The proceeds provide extra funds for the sports teams as well as teacher appreciation, scholarships, other student organizations, and other activities and events.

My wife takes it deadly serious (too serious sometimes to my thinking!) and runs it like her own personal business. She watches costs like a hawk, trains people to use the facilities (popcorn machine, cheese warmer, stove, hot dog cooker, etc.), and carefully considers requests for funds.

To my never-ending bewilderment, she gets grudging cooperation and communication from the school. Perhaps they’re overwhelmed by other priorities, but they miss opportunities to build the community and extended family of the school.

I think the other reason is they take the Boosters for granted. They know the core few who make it run will jump through hoops to make whatever’s needed happen because “it’s for the kids.” The same deeper purpose my wife uses to recruit volunteers and donations is used by the school to motivate / guilt her and the other volunteers into making up for the school’s poor planning or communication.

Game re-scheduled? Oh, let’s notify Boosters at the last minute. Concession stands have to be stocked, prepped, and staffed to provide service. Rarely can that happen on no notice and that’s when it should be required — rarely.

This didn’t start when my wife stepped up — it’s always been like this. Her predecessor warned her it would happen. Now, as then, there are a group of moms and dads who drop everything, who cancel whatever they had planned, who pivot to make the…



Mark McMillion

Retired Army officer with two tours in Baghdad, married with four kids. Proud West Virginian and West Point grad. Works available on Amazon.