Saturday, June 15, 2013

When you wish upon a Morningstar

My low back is bothering me this morning.  It went in spasms last night because I was laughing so hard at a roast to honor Jean Morningstar on the occasion of the retirement form UConn Health Center and University Health Professionals Local 3837.

I'm not entirely sure when I first met Jean. It was sometime within the last 3 years.
Maybe I don't remember because I was meeting so many new people that things were a blur, maybe it was because at the time I was so naive that I didn't realize "who" she was, that she was president of AFT Local 3837, represented 2800 members, and has the ear of such people as AFT president Randi Weingarten and Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy.
But maybe it's just because Jean misrepresented herself.
She never let on that she was "all that".  She has always treated me, a new, wet behind the ears, naive unionist, as an equal.  Never let on that she represented 6 times as many members as I, never flaunted her status on the state and national level. I only remember that she said she was proud of what we had accomplished at Backus and stood ready to assist however she could.

That's Jean.
To her, a local of 400 is as important as a local of 2800, because to her each member is important.

Every union leader that I have the privilege to call a friend teaches me something.  Jean does many things well.  I think her greatest legacy at UHP is the leadership team she has built as she leaves for her new role as AFT CT Second Vice President.

Some leaders lack the ability to do this, many fear doing it because they fear being replaced. Jean understands what the great leaders understand.
It is not the president or the leadership that is important, it is the individual members and the movement that matters.
Once you realize and accept this, you no longer fear mentoring someone to replace you, because the movement will always need you in a new and different role.

Jean is a big Disney fan and her accomplishments are proof that dreams can come true.  So, as she leaves UHP and heads to AFT Connecticut, she sets a new course and continues to make dreams come true, "Second star to the right, and straight on til morning"

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