Leading by Example. This is the tagline given to an initiative launched in 2014 by former TWS President Bruce Leopold and TWS Chief Operating Officer Ed Thompson. Aptly named The 1,000, this effort called on members to illustrate their leadership by generously donating to our organization, with a goal of 1,000 donors donating $100 to $1,000 annually.
So when Texas A&M – Kingsville graduate student Ben Olsen saw The 1,000 advertised in the eWildlifer, TWS Facebook page and other TWS media outlets, he was enticed to give back to the organization that has helped him progress his career. His $100 donation made him one of the few students currently among The 1,000.
“I felt like it was important to do what I could for the program,” Olsen said. “A hundred dollars for college students, it’s a lot but I saved up for a couple months and got it done.”
On the last day of this year’s TWS Annual Conference, in a private room at The Shark Club in Winnipeg, Olsen lead by example, blazing the trail for students who might be intimidated by The 1,000 or the proposition of donating money. The Toronto Blue Jays- Kansas City Royals ALCS playoff baseball game on the surrounding televisions was drowned out as TWS leaders gathered for food and drinks at The 1,000 reception. And Olsen took full advantage of the opportunity, noting some of the prestigious individuals in the company of the group.
“They’re people you learn about in classes that have developed different research projects or leaders in The Wildlife Society,” he said. “Being able to talk to them and learn from them, get advice from them, I think is probably the most valuable thing.”
His identifying “The 1,000” ribbon alone was beneficial to him in a networking sense, he says, because it was a conversation starter among TWS members not in The 1,000.
Since joining TWS as an undergraduate at Missouri Western State University in 2010, Olsen has been able to progress his career further than he ever thought possible and says that joining the Society is probably one of the most valuable things a student can do. Because of all the benefits he has received as a member, donating seemed like the natural next step in being involved.
“I’m excited to see where [The 1,000 initiative] is going to go in the future. It seems like it has been well received by members so it’ll be exciting to see where it progresses from here.”
The Wildlife Society thanks the more than 250 members of The 1,000 for their leadership and support! Click here to learn more about how you can become a member of The 1,000.