Where is our synergy?
A short six years ago, this newspaper and the vast majority of our organized community were abuzz with news of an extraordinary happening in Washington. Think back. Can you remember what it was?
On June 23-27, 1999, more than 900 people, members of various Ukrainian professional societies, community organizations and institutions participated in the Joint Conferences of Ukrainian American Organizations. The mega-event provided a venue for community members to learn what our community has to offer and to consider how all its component parts might be able to improve their cooperation and benefit from synergistic relationships - all, of course, keeping in mind our community's two realities: our life here in the United States and our concern for Ukraine.
As part of the program, organizations held their individual meetings, various groups set up informative displays, vendors sold their wares, receptions were held at the Embassy of Ukraine and the U.S. State Department as well as on Capitol Hill, and everyone came together for a huge banquet and ball. Among the participants were physicians, lawyers, architects, librarians, journalists, credit union leaders, veterans, engineers and, not to be forgotten, Ukrainian National Women's League of America.
The motto for the Joint Conferences, as explained by Dr. Roman Goy, principal organizer, was "synergy, whereby the action of the whole is greater than that of its parts"; its goal: to build teamwork for the Ukrainian community.
It was an exciting time for our community, a time when we looked ahead to a more effective hromada with a bright future. The expectation was that the Joint Conferences were not just a one-time super event, but a coming together of our community's members and powers that would lay the foundation for a new modus vivendi. The Weekly's editorial hailed the endeavor as "a new model" for our community life.
And today, well, it seems our Ukrainian American community is unfocused, perhaps even lost. Each organization is out doing its own thing - some more successfully than others; many are floundering. We've gotta ask: Where has our synergy gone? Perhaps it is time once again for a synergistic gathering at which we can take stock of our community's assets and chart a course for our hromada's health and success.
A POSTSCRIPT: A concrete example of synergy's effectiveness was this newspaper's coverage of the individual organizations' sessions held as part of the Joint Conferences. Eleven different bylines appeared atop the news stories in a special section of our newspaper on July 11, 1999. The Weekly had contacted all the groups holding sessions and proposed that they become our collaborators in presenting the complete story of the Joint Conferences. The plan worked wonderfully. The Weekly's work with volunteers from diverse organizations was an illustration of the meaning of "synergy": cooperative interaction among groups that creates an enhanced combined effect. And so, we make our offer to readers once again: Use us! Submit stories about your organization's or community's work and share your success so that others may benefit from your experience. Consider our newspaper's pages your pages and our editors your colleagues. Remember: Together we are many, and together we are powerful.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, July 10, 2005, No. 28, Vol. LXXIII
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