TUG’s Ladder of Engagement: The More You Take Part, The More You Get Back

DellaCoffeltMar_2014For Della Coffelt, Chief Information Officer at Distributors Corp of America and a newly-appointed member of the TUG Board, the return on her participation in the organization is obvious: The more she takes part, the more she gets back.

Coffelt has been involved with TUG since 2011. And when she talks about how her role and sense of connection have grown, it sounds like climbing a ladder of engagement, one rung at a time.

“I started out as an attendee at the TUG conference,” she recalls. “But as I got more involved, I realized I was learning a lot, largely by asking questions and getting answers back from other members. That kind of involvement really changed the way I looked at the conference.”

Coffelt’s next step was to begin delivering conference sessions in some of her main areas of interest, like purchasing and pricing. “As I prepared for those classes, I learned more and more,” she says. “Then I got involved in the leadership side of the organization, helping out with SX.e General, and as a group leader you have access to leadership development and presentation skills training.” Coffe lt got to develop new professional skills, network with other TUG volunteers, and learn the tricks and trade of an effective leader.

“Part of my job is teaching end users, so my volunteer work with TUG made me a better teacher for my company.”

The more Coffelt learned, the more she had to share, and the more she shared and networked, the faster her learning accelerated. “Getting involved with TUG as an organization is something I highly recommend, just because of the personal growth you get to go through. It’s really been incredible.”

What’s astonishing about Coffelt’s story is that it sounds like it unfolded over the course of a decade or more—when she’s only been in a TUG leadership position for the last four years. “From the moment I dipped my toe in and participated, I learned so much that I wanted to get more involved because I knew I would learn more. It was really an incredible sense of momentum.”

Coffelt’s advances through TUG have also helped her deliver better value to her employer. “I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned and lead my group to become a team,” she says. “We’re grouping together and networking among ourselves so much better. That open communication has really changed the dynamic for the people who work for me.”