Called to Leadership

Emma Uber, Vice President of Current Activities for Carmel Mayor’s Youth Council (CMYC), discusses her experiences in leadership role

Isabella White

What are your responsibilities as a leader of Carmel Mayor’s Youth Council?  

My particular leadership role within CMYC is the Vice President of Current Activities (VPCA), which includes responsibilities such as attending planning meetings with the rest of the executive council prior to each general council meeting, designing monthly calendars that outline all of CMYC’s upcoming commitments, and serving as a communicator between the executive council and many of the event planning committees. Most of my responsibilities outside of general council meetings and events are essentially just meeting in small groups with event chairs or other leaders within the organization in order to make sure that everyone is on the same page and that things are going according to plan in a timely manner. Instead of really planning one event or focusing on one area of the council, I would describe my role as a leader as much more of a communicator between different groups within the council.


How has your experience in a leadership position differed from your experiences as a regular member?

I was a member of CMYC for two terms prior to joining the executive committee and I would say my experience has been vastly different. Obviously moving into a leadership role is a much larger time commitment because for every event or meeting that I attended as a regular member I am now attending multiple planning sessions before hand. The largest difference I have noticed is that I am now much more aware of all the different dynamics occurring within the council and I recognize just how many moving parts there are to everything that we do. Prior to this year I served as an event chair and worked on the website, but those leadership positions only required me to focus on a single task. Now as a more universal leader, the biggest adjustment has been learning how to think bigger picture and coordinate multiple agendas between multiple groups of members at the same time. Stepping into a leadership role for the council definitely taught me a lot about how the council works and how I function as a leader, but I am enjoying this term the most despite my increased workload because I am now much more invested in CMYC, an organization I believe in and care about. 


How did you know you wanted to be a leader of this organization? 

I knew I wanted to be a leader of this organization towards the end of my junior year because I really respected the goals and initiatives of CMYC, but I also had some ideas that I felt could better the council as a whole. I have been passionate about CMYC and youth civic engagement for the majority of my high school career, but junior year is when my perspective really shifted and I began to prioritize CMYC above my other extracurriculars. The thought of running for an executive office within CMYC was in the back of my mind for most of my time on council, but I think the deciding factor for me was that by the time I reached senior year I felt I had a skill set that could be potentially valuable to the council. CMYC is full of intelligent and capable students who are often experienced leaders, so I was hesitant to step into a leadership position at first. However, after working as a section editor of the yearbook and a club officer during my junior year, my perspective on leadership changed: I began to value a leader who communicates and listens in addition to delegating or commanding. My main initiative was to create a better connected and coordinated council and having a goal to work towards spurred me to run for a leadership position. Overall, I always knew I valued the important work the council contributes to the community, but I knew I wanted to be a leader when I was not only passionate about the role, but felt prepared to take on such a responsibility.


What has been the most fulfilling aspect of leading CMYC? 

The most fulfilling aspect of leading CMYC by far has been the relationships I’ve formed. Within the council I feel that acting as a leader has allowed me to interact with each and every member, which is an experience I value greatly. Also, I get to work closely with the four other leaders on the executive committee and they have honestly become some of my most valued friends because I feel that we have a really good working relationship and we always have each other’s backs. Beyond the council itself, CMYC has  allowed me to foster interesting relationships and connections with various city officials or community organizations. For example, I am interested in journalism and, through CMYC, I was given the opportunity to write for the City of Carmel newsletter. Without CMYC I would never have formed some connections that have led to wonderful opportunities or I would never know about some of the amazing philanthropic or community initiatives going on throughout Carmel. Leading CMYC has been an amazing experience but honestly the best part by far has been getting to work alongside capable and kind peers and meet interesting city leaders.  

Submitted Photo || Emma Uber
Jaehee Kim and Emma Uber, CMYC Executive
Council members and seniors, pose at Holiday
at Center Green. CMYC members volunteered as
“Santa’s Elves” during this event.


Has there been any significant challenges you have faced in your leadership position? 

Definitely. One of the most significant challenges I have faced as VPCA of CMYC is striking a balance between being friendly and likeable, yet still respected and listened to. I think this is a struggle that almost anyone in any leadership position can relate to because, by nature, people want to be liked and want to form friendships. That being said, being a good leader is not always the same as being liked by everyone. In fact, making a decision that satisfies each and every single member of CMYC is almost impossible, which was a very hard realization for me to come to. As a council, I feel that we do a good job of voicing our opinions and working together to come to a collaborative decision, but my biggest struggle has been learning to stand by the executive council’s decisions as a leader while still remaining a respectful and kind council member. I am definitely a people pleaser and someone who wants the best for CMYC and every single member, which is the reason I decided to run for a leadership role in the first place. At times it is difficult for me to come to terms with the fact that being a leader is not the same thing as being everyone’s friend all the time, especially when I view myself as being both. I have gotten a lot better at enforcing rules while still considerately listening to others opinions, but finding that balance has been the most significant challenge I have faced. 


Do you believe that CMYC, as a whole, is a leadership organization?

I absolutely believe that CMYC is a leadership organization, because although I have the official title of a leader, I am aware that each and every single member of our council is a leader within our community and plays an important role in our council’s success. I view CMYC as one big leadership opportunity because every member of the council is placed on either an event planning committee or on a something like a social media, website, or PR committee. This means that each member of CMYC has the opportunity to step up and display leadership qualities by taking the initiative to ensure that our events are the best that they can be. Additionally, the council is much more than just event planning. We also take tours of places such as City Hall, the fire station, the courthouse, and other important community locations. At many meetings we have guest speakers such as the mayor, city council members, or other figures around the city have introduced ideas or exemplified leadership. Some examples would be the CEO of Christkindlmarkt or the founder of the Carmel Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. Through these tours and interactions the council truly learns what it takes to be a successful leader and we are provided with mentors who lead one of the best places to live in the nation. By giving each member an opportunity to make their voice heard and lead an event, paired with connecting members with amazing leadership role models, I think CMYC promotes important qualities of leadership and youth civic engagement.