I have been fortunate to attend several DiabetesSisters’ Leadership Institutes. It is always a learning experience. I look forward to attending because it provides motivation for me to run my local PODS when things may or may not be going so well.
It takes time and effort to keep my PODS meetings engaging and interesting. Sometimes when only one person shows up at a meeting, I feel like a failure. When I got to hear what others have to say, then I know that what we do matters - no matter how many are in attendance. Maybe it just isn’t the right time for some women to join us or open up just yet. I keep reminding myself that we aren’t all in the same place.
Attending Leadership Institute provides me with so much information to think about long after the weekend is over. All the other PODS Leaders share their personal stories, as well as their PODS stories. So I see that all of us can have different results from our efforts, from one issue to another, in our meetings. Day, time, location or personalities play a part in our meetings. There isn’t a simple fix. Knowing that we have access to each other helps in with any future issues that might feel overwhelming in upcoming months.
Whatever struggles we face, what we do is important, and it matters. As one leader mentioned, even If only one person shows up, it's still a meeting. (Thanks for saying that, Sarah!) We never know how much of a difference we have made in one person’s life. I find inspiration in all of these women who also serve our community. Since we are from all parts of the US, some face different challenges than others. This helps put things in perspective for me. It helps make me more compassionate when I am listening to stories in my PODS.
We had a few outstanding speakers and even a hip-hop instructor! (Thanks for including him, Anna!) I really enjoyed Kathy Warwick’s session on Healthy Eating and Leyla Mansour-Cole’s session on Diabetes Advocacy. Both did amazing presentations and were very informative. I am now following them on social media. We can never have too much information.
There were also a few panels of PODS leaders. We were able to share our personal stories as well as stories on running a PODS group. I gained insight from everyone’s experiences and ideas. Each PODS meeting has a suggested topic of discussion, but it is possible to have an open discussion if the group seems geared that way. Leaders can get a lot of insight by letting people open up and talk about what it is that they are dealing with at the time. This reminds me that we are all different and are on different paths of our journey.
Some had been newly diagnosed, and others had decades of experience. There isn’t any other way to gain so much insight in a weekend as I found with Leadership Institute.
There is one more person that I need to thank for her inspiration as well. Karen holds her monthly PODS Meetup online, and I always take away inspiration from attending her PODS group. It gives me perspective for mine.
I have seen that over the last few years DiabetesSisters has grown by leaps and bounds. I look forward to what we will learn in future Leadership Institutes.
- Diane Berinato is a PODS Leader in Columbus, OH