Columns for The Lufkin News

A New Generation of Leaders

Posted Aug 04, 2015 by Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

A new generation of leadership is emerging in Lufkin.

For those of us who have volunteered for various organizations over the years, there has been a hunger to see young adults step into volunteer leadership roles in the community as well as a desire to see our churches, schools, and governmental organizations mentor and raise up a new generation of leaders.

In recent years, there has been an oft-repeated lament that we've lost a generation of leaders - the Kurth, Temple, Trout and Henderson families jump to mind, among others - individuals who could pick up the phone and make a call and things got done. Though there certainly were instances where that was true, I think nostalgia glosses over the very real hard work and elbow grease that often went on behind the scenes. And the problem with that type of nostalgia is that it discourages current and future leaders from jumping in and getting their feet wet. "Oh, we can never accomplish what those guys did," we surmise. But we can.

Bettie Kennedy, whose life was celebrated this last weekend, didn't just pick up a phone to get something done; she got in the trenches and worked hard. Day after day, year after year. Rev. Kennedy proved you can have influence through servant leadership. Lufkin is a better place and a stronger community because of her.

My church, First Baptist, has been without a full-time pastor and music minister for some time now, and the church (which is the people, after all) has had to step up and be the church they were meant to be. This is the church fulfilling its mission.

In the same way, our community - especially our young adult population - is demonstrating we can step up and be the community we want and need to be! Each generation must reach the point where they take that mantle and lead. It is incumbant on both the current leadership to pass that mantle down and the next generation to take up that mantle and lead us forward.

I had the privilege over the last several months of serving on two different search committees for the Angelina County area and region. The first committee was to recommend a new president for Angelina College. The second was to select a new President and CEO of the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce. Both committees engaged search firms and conducted nationwide searches. Several things were remarkable about each process. Both committees were intent on seeking the input of a broad range of our community, as these were community leadership positions. And both committees were willing to consider, and in the end choose, young leaders.

Starting this month, Angelina College is under the leadership of Michael Simon, and the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce will be led by Jim Johnson. Both leaders come from a younger generation than their predecessors and symbolize the passing of the mantle I already mentioned. At Jim Johnson's press conference announcing his hiring, he was accompanied by his wife, Jasmine, and preschool son, William, who played with his toy car, cheerfully oblivious to the importance of the occasion. How refreshing!

And look at just some of the young leaders we already have! People like Trent Ashby, Mark Hicks, Tara Watson-Watkins, Hall Henderson, Martha Hernandez, Hilary Haglund Walker, Monique Nunn, They are accomplishing amazing things! There are many more in those ranks just starting to get involved.

I am proud of Lufkin and Angelina County. We have always demonstrated a greater degree of leadership, volunteerism and charity than any other place I know. My unsolicited advice to potential young leaders is this: Take the servant approach. Give of your time and talent first and foremost. As you have treasure to give, do so in a generous fashion. Lead by example, like Bettie Kennedy. You will gain credibility which will open doors and allow you to accomplish far more than you can imagine. But the first step of leadership is to step out of your office and get involved. You'll never regret it!

Your First Visit

What to expect on your first consultation

Get Started >

Centers

Learn about the Temple Cancer Center at CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial

See Our Center >

Radiation Therapy

Find answers to common questions about radiation therapy

View the FAQ >

Meet Our Team

Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

Radiation Oncologist

Madelene Collier, RN, OCN

Madelene Collier, RN, OCN

Radiation Oncology Nurse

Jewel Randle, RT (R)(T)

Jewel Randle, RT (R)(T)

Lead Radiation Therapist

Aimee Salas, RT (T)

Aimee Salas, RT (T)

Radiation Therapist

Josh Yarbrough, RT (R)(CT)(T)

Josh Yarbrough, RT (R)(CT)(T)

Radiation Therapist

Julie McClain, RT (R)(T)

Julie McClain, RT (R)(T)

Dosimetrist

Linda Miller, MS

Linda Miller, MS

Medical Radiation Physicist

Evelyn Leach

Evelyn Leach

Receptionist