The Blessings of the Binder Keepers – Shelley Webb, Board Treasurer
In my In my 20’s, after a failed three-month career as a middle-school math teacher but before I knew what I wanted to do next, I landed a job as customer service representative #4 of what would later become a national DSL company. DSL was the hot, new, high-speed, low-cost way of connecting to the internet in 1999. It was a furiously growing start-up, and the training was pretty entertaining. There was none, really, just a lot of spoken words. When we hired service reps #5 and #6, talking through the ins and outs of DSL was getting exhausting. I asked my supervisor if I could take a couple days off the phones and just write down what DSL was, how it was hooked up to the house, and the process people could expect. I thought it would take about two shifts and a dozen pages. We called it The Lowdown. It turned into 200+ pages and was a constant living document as we learned more things and added to it. Two years later, well after I had moved to a different department, I saw The Lowdown on an account manager’s desk, 20% thicker and full of sticky notes. It was clearly their most-used binder on the desk.
In my role as Treasurer, I happen to also be the keeper of the Excel magic that makes the Treasurer’s Reports. This doesn’t have to actually be the Treasurer, and in fact the job belonged to the Finance Committee Chair for years before I picked it up. When I entered into the role, the foundation – from Treasurers Reports to Budget worksheets to Compensation Exhibits – had been laid by our beloved congregant Michael Matz. Of course every person gets to make a thing their own, so the reports may look different, but so grateful that the foundation was there so I had the opportunity to add my own style versus having to spend all my time building it from the ground up!
In our Coming of Age curriculum, there is a class on Relationships. As part of the class, the youth are asked to think of a relationship and then answer: How have you changed because of that relationship? How do you think they changed? Sheree, my partner, and I used to play this game periodically. She would say “I now use cloth napkins because of you!” and I would say “I now know that leftover dinner plus a fried egg will always be the perfect breakfast!”
Everywhere I look at Westside, I see what has come before me – a tree, a class curriculum, a spreadsheet, an organized cabinet. While it might not seem monumental in the moment, they all provide foundation so that others can add their style, say Yes And, and build a more beautiful and just world. And it’s not just about the artifacts. Westside is a community, a web of relationships, where we are learning from each other as well as leaving our mark in ways that are not always visible but also so very real. Watching this community learn and grow, and learning and growing with you, has fed my spirit! And none of it could have happened without all the great members and leaders that were here in the beginning and all along the way. Grateful to you all.
Shelley Webb, WSUU Treasurer, 2020-2021