The Joys of Leader Accreditation

Sylvia Walker, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

A new Leader’s accreditation is cause for celebration. As a Leader Accreditation Department (LAD) representative, I have the privilege of learning the news first. Often I let out a joyous shout, clap my hands or dance around and sometimes I bake a special dessert. Eagerly, I’ll sit down to share the exciting news with the newly accredited Leader and co-Leader(s).

Working with Leader Applicants is a rewarding experience. Learning and skill development are an ongoing part of my work. I’ve learned more about LLL philosophy and accreditation criteria than I ever thought was possible.

LLL philosophy is more than just ten separate statements. The ten concepts along with the Concept Policy States (Appendix 17, LLLI Policies and Standing Rules) describe the parenting values that are important to our organization. Some of the concepts overlap each other, so they need to be interpreted as a whole. I’ve been enlightened through reading personal histories, in which I learn about the many different ways that LLL philosophy has been interpreted and experienced in each Applicant’s family.

Similarly, the LLLI Criteria for Leader Accreditation (Appendix 18 Applying for Leadership in LLLI Policies and Standing Rules) are more than a list of requirements.  They are the skills, knowledge and experience that we expect Leaders to have. As a Leader Applicant works to meet the criteria, I feel honored to play a part in her preparation for the role of a La Leche League Leader, and help ensure that leadership will be a fulfilling experience for her.

LAD work also offers me the opportunity to develop my communication skills. Correspondence with Applicants and Leaders is a large part of my work. Whether acknowledging an accomplishment, providing information, offering support, or asking questions, communicating well is important. My letter-writing skills improve with each letter sent. I can also further my writing skills by collaborating with my LAD support person and submitting an article for a LLL publication such as Leader Today or LADders, the Leader Accreditation Department newsletter. My LAD support person has been so helpful when I’ve written articles that I can’t imagine writing solo.

Have you ever wondered about LAD work? If you have questions or are curious to learn more, please approach the Coordinator of Leader Accreditation (CLA) in your Area. CLAs love to hear from Leaders interested in joining the LAD.


I develop my speaking skills each time I present a LAD session at LLL events. A prepared outline is all that is needed, but I sometimes use handouts, props or displays, themes or costumes. It helps to be prepared for all the “thank you” comments received for presenting the session.

I’m thankful for the various LAD mailings I receive, because they have helped me hone my organizational skills. New applications, newsletters, memos and correspondence have prompted me to set up and maintain a good organization system. I can quickly retrieve what I need from the small box of supplies, file folders and binders I keep in a drawer and on a few shelves of my bookcase. While I still prefer printing application correspondence and using paper folders, many LAD representatives now keep all application files and LAD documents electronically.

Finally, LAD work allows me to be creative. I enjoy decorating letters, holiday and birthday greetings with rubber stamps, stickers, ribbons and bows. The posters I make for LAD sessions can be as simple or as artfully detailed as I like. I’ve used balloons, flowers and crafted hangers as giveaways so that LAD’s presence is remembered at these events. LAD representatives find many different ways to express the importance of Leaders taking an active interest in helping mothers find out about leadership and mentoring them to become LLL Leaders.

And that, after all, is what being a LAD representative is all about. I have happily sent the message, “Congratulations on becoming a La Leche League Leader today” 107 times in my over 30 years as a LAD representative, and it never loses its glow.

Sylvia Walker lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada with three grown adult sons living nearby. She has a 14-year-old granddaughter, Leah and eight-month-old grandson, Dylan who constantly reminds her how quickly years go by. Sylvia was accredited in 1982 and since 1989 has been Coordinator of Leader Accreditation (CLA) for Manitoba/Saskatchewan. She was part of LLLI Leaven Editorial Review Board  (LERB) for about 10 years. Sylvia enjoys reading, writing, walking or bicycling to work, gardening and perfecting one craft; braided hangers.