Marie-Claire Bakker, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

For many Leaders, their closest contact with the Leader Accreditation Department (LAD) is during their own application periods when they will have conversed with a LAD representative about their personal history and their thoughts on LLL philosophy.

Once accredited, we might feel relieved that the “preparation” stage is over and we can move on to the day-to-day work of being a Leader and forget about LAD. That is, until a mother attending our Series Meetings expresses interest in becoming an LLL Leader or we identify a regular Group member, whom we would like to approach to see if she might be interested in applying for leadership. At this point the LAD reenters our consciousness as we consider having an interested mother’s meeting, starting a pre-application discussion or filling out a Leader Recommendation form to begin supporting a new Leader Applicant. Here is a step-by-step guide for that eventuality.

Supporting interested mothers, a step-by-step guide

#1 Check whether your Area has dedicated LAD information files available and take the time to familiarize yourself with the contents.

Examples online include:

#2 Check in your Area directory to find the name and contact information for your Coordinator of Leader Accreditation (CLA).

#3 Ask the interested mother to read Thinking About La Leche League Leadership and let you know if she has any questions.

#4 Suggest the mother start reading the latest edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding in her language (or a language she is comfortable reading). The mother interested in leadership needs to own and be familiar with this book (if available in her language).

#5 The key to a smooth application is a thorough and extensive pre-application dialogue. Arrange a time to begin your pre-application dialogue and discuss the mother’s thoughts on Thinking About LLL Leadership? Pre-Application Dialogue covering all eight sections and paying particular attention to LLL philosophy and whether the mother meets the prerequisites. If you encounter any sensitive or difficult topics or are unsure whether a mother meets the prerequisites, contact your CLA for guidance.

#6 When you are confident that you have completed the pre-application dialogue and are sure that the mother meets the prerequisites, fill out the Leader Recommendation form. Make sure you are using the most recent version or contact your CLA to receive a copy. Fill out the Leader Recommendation in as much detail as possible; this helps the LAD understand how the mother meets the prerequisites to applying for leadership.

#7 Send the Leader Recommendation form to your CLA and ensure the mother’s LLL membership is paid and up to date.

The mother fills out the application form and sends it to the CLA. Each Area may have a different procedure of submission of the forms or payment of the fee. Your CLA will advise how it is handled in your location.

#8 A LAD representative will be assigned to work with the new Applicant. The application is initiated when the LAD representative sends welcome letters to both the Applicant and the supporting Leader.

#9 As the application progresses stay in touch with your LAD representative. If you have questions about any aspect of your work as a supporting Leader, your LAD support person is there to help. 

Future Areas in Asia and the Middle East

I serve as the interim CLA for Future Areas in Asia and the Middle East where many different currencies are used locally. To overcome this, we use PayPal payment only. As there would be charges to reimburse the fee, the supporting Leader first sends the completed Leader Recommendation form to the CLA.  If the CLA is satisfied that the mother meets all the prerequisites, she will send the Leader the application form. The Leader asks the mother to fill it out and return it to the CLA. Occasionally the CLA may ask a Leader to discuss in greater depth about one or two topics or request additional information before accepting the application. When the two forms have been received, the CLA processes the application, and asks the Area Treasurer to invoice the mother for the application fee. When it is paid, the CLA assigns an Associate Coordinator of Leader Accreditation (ACLA) to work with both the Applicant and supporting Leader throughout the application period, and adds the new Applicant to the LLLI database so she can access the Leader pages on the LLLI website. The mother is now an official La Leche League Leader Applicant.

How your Leader Accreditation Department can help you

  • If you are looking for ways to encourage interested mothers to consider leadership
  • If you are planning an interested mother’s meeting
  • If you plan to work with several Applicants as a group
  • If you are planning Applicant workshops
  • If you are planning a local, regional or Area workshop or conference
  • If you are interested in supporting Applicants during the application period and possibly working with the LAD

For all of these questions, contacting your local LAD representative is a great place to start. Reach out to your Coordinator of Leader Accreditation (CLA). The CLA can share with you both ideas and practical materials you can use.   She can also guide and support you through delicate or awkward pre-application dialogues. Inviting interested mothers to Evaluation Meetings and involving them in Group jobs gives them insight into the behind-the-scenes work of a La Leche League Leader and allows you to get to know them better.

Marie-Claire Bakker is a Dutch/Scottish Leader in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where she lives with her Irish husband Fergus and two of their three children, Gaia (13) and Odhran (16).  Ineke (18) recently started university in the Netherlands. Marie-Claire is the Administrator of Leader Accreditation for Africa, Asia and the Middle East and interim co-CLA for Future Areas in Asia and the Middle East. She is an ethnologist and teaches in the art college of a local university.
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