I’m sitting in front of a big window watching the sunset over the Pacific while I write this letter. It’s summer here in Chile and I’m spending a few days at the beach to welcome in the new year. It’s a new year that is not like any other for me because on January 1st I began my term as the president of the IEA, a position for which I was chosen about a year ago and in which I now gladly serve.
But how come that someone from Chile got involved with the IEA and ended up being the president?
I must say that when I heard about the IEA’s existence, I decided that wanted to be part of it. That I had to be part of it, at a local level, of course. First, I joined the group that created an IEA affiliate in Chile. Once the affiliate was formed, I had to go to the international conference that year and participate in the first General Assembly of Affiliates (GAA) in Las Vegas (2009), where I was chosen by the affiliate representatives to become an IEA board member.
Since then I’ve been working on the board, focused particularly on the affiliates and chapters at the beginning. My desire was (and still is) that the affiliates and chapters-and their members-continue to see the value of being part of this organization, and that we have a framework that allows the IEA to continue to grow as a truly international organization with a strong value proposition for our members and, at the same time, with good governance. Over time, I started getting involved in other areas of board activities and became vice president for a year (2011), before being named president-elect at the beginning of 2012.
To be honest, no matter how much I felt that I had to be part of this, becoming president never crossed my mind. But my passion for the Enneagram and my wholehearted commitment to making it widely understood and constructively used, made me accept the challenge. What made it easier was to look at the team I had around me; it’s a group of people who volunteer their time and energy in such a professional way that I am fully confident that we can continue to do a good job.
On a personal level, I first heard about the Enneagram as a teenager, when my parents started studying it. Although I attended a workshop then, it wasn’t until many years later that I understood its value and power, and what started as a hobby became my full time job. I left my position as marketing manager of a bank and became a coach and Enneagram teacher, which is what I do today. This, and the work I do at the IEA still feel like a hobby; I take it seriously, but enjoy it tremendously.
A lot has happened since I joined the board: We have strengthened the publications with the book imprint and are always improving “The Enneagram Journal” and “Nine Points.”The GAA continues to blossom as a forum validated by the affiliates and chapters where they share best practices, learn about the new developments of the IEA and create community. The conference continues to beat its own mark by being more and more professional and attractive, with new additions such as the creative cafe and how-to stream. Further, we have made huge efforts to be a financially sustainable organization; we have created and documented many of our processes, including those related to the creation and relationship with affiliates and chapters. The accreditation program is growing; and my daughter Josefina was born!
One accomplishment that needs to be highlighted is the new mission we have, where we are no longer a passive hub of information regarding the theory and application of the Enneagram but an organization that works for its members by creating opportunities for excellence, education and community. Everything we do is aligned with this mission.
For these coming two years, we need to continue on this path-building on all these achievements but also making sure that the value of IEA membership is fully realized by our members, that is, by you. That means we need to better communicate what this great organization has to offer. We also have to continue to listen to your needs and continue to ensure that we are responding to your feedback. Therefore, I encourage you to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what we can do better.
It’s summer here when it’s winter for the rest of the current board members; there are time differences that make it challenging to set up meetings; more than five languages are spoken (including American and British English), and our cultural background is sometimes amazingly different. But there is a lot of respect and appreciation for what each of us brings, and that makes it worthwhile to be part of this team.
I am honored to become the IEA president and really hope that during these two years I will be able to lead our efforts in a way that touch the people in the Enneagram community, helping this organization grow, not only in numbers, but also as professionals and human beings.
On behalf of the whole IEA board of directors, I wish you a joyous and prosperous new year!
María José Munita