Leadership: The Face Behind the Mask & Shield


LCP Rowena Bato
Rotary Club of Metro Dasmariñas

Often, we think of a Leader as always the first to commit and the first to respond on-site. That is what I have always believed. “Leadership is not a position, but more defined as an action.” But how can we do it now if we are stuck in our own space, facing a square monitor, talking to someone far away through a microphone?

When I joined the Rotary Club of Metro Dasmariñas last 2018, I promised myself that I will volunteer and share to the best of my abilities and capabilities. A few years later, I realized that that promise of offering and sharing my best will be put to the test when I was voted to serve as Club President for Rotary Year 2021-2022 in the middle of a pandemic. I will be serving as a leader while being required to wear a mask and shield in addition to other safety protocols.

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At first, I was saddened since my type of volunteerism needs an actual appearance to the community I am helping. With the safety protocols, my time as a leader will be deprived of the experience of seeing the faces of contentment and happiness in our beneficiaries. Not to mention we will miss the canceled series of events that allows us to dress up, be empowered, and meet and greet other clubs.

But looking at the silver lining amongst all of these forced me to focus on what is most important and be creative to find ways to achieve my goals. I find that many are still willing to help, which I would not have thought possible given that everyone is still affected economically by the pandemic.

Nowadays, the face of leadership may be covered in masks and shields, and members may be suffering from the economic crisis. However, we can still expect our Club to follow us. Fear will always be there, but Hope is a much greater force that can overcome and achieve.

I saw it firsthand in my club during our Club Planning last June 12 & 13, 2021, at Polla’s Resort and Leisure Farm in Alfonso, Cavite. At first, I was very hesitant to push through with it, thinking I may only have a few attendees. But to my grateful surprise, almost every member was there, donning a smiling face and a light heart, gladly extending their generosity to plan this year’s theme of Serve to Change Lives.

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As I observed and looked at the faces of each one, I saw not only a member’s face but a Leader’s, eager and determined to achieve our goals and to face challenges head-on. Behind their masks and shields are faces full of wonder, hope, eagerness, and, most of all, willingness to share a portion of their heart to change someone’s life.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the anchor I am holding on to make this year MY YEAR and make a dent of difference in Serving to Change Lives.