Leader Spotlight: Tab Wilkins

Leader Spotlight is a monthly blog to showcase our incredible volunteer leadership at The Mountaineers. Meet this month's featured leader: Tab Wilkins. He is a 15-year leader who has supported The Mountaineers both in the backcountry and on the Board ... and he met his wife through our community!
Sara Ramsay Sara Ramsay
Education Manager
November 29, 2018

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Tab Wilkins, a volunteer leader with the Foothills Branch who encourages our leaders to be more collaborative, to learn from and recognize near-misses, and to embrace opportunities for feedback.

Name: Tab Wilkins
Branch: Foothills
Where do you live? Issaquah, WA
How long have you been a leader? 15 years (member since 2000)
What activities do you lead? Climbing, Backcountry Skiing, Scrambling

Leadership Questions

What inspired you to become a Leader for The Mountaineers?

The gift I had received from other leaders in learning my outdoors skills - I wanted to give back as thanks.

What is your favorite trip that you've led for The Mountaineers?

Hard to pick just one - but I led a Sloan Peak trip a few years ago, under a full moon, great weather and people - the combination made it an unforgettable experience (plus I had done Glacier a few weeks prior and was looking at Sloan with anticipation). We had a leisurely start in the morning (so 5am), and we weren't quite sure the climb would go as it was a bit early in the season, but it went fine and amazingly enough we quickly summited. After wonderful pics we climbed down, and on the trip back we enjoyed a winding traverse of the various streams running full. It was quite a set of stepping stones that I guess are dry later in the year.

How has your leadership style evolved as you've gained experience?

As I've gained confidence I'm becoming even more collaborative in my approach, working to facilitate a group decision process rather than a personal one.

What learning experiences you can share with us, such as take-aways from a close call or a near miss?

Whether it's a Mountaineers Board meeting or a climb, really being aware of the context of a situation and working to manage risk together is the most important.  Recognizing when it could have gone the other way is a key learning experience.

What advice do you have for aspiring leaders in The Mountaineers community?

Be open and flexible for input and suggestions. Leading a trip has a nice beginning and end to reflect on for "how did I do" - and don't be afraid to ask folks how you did - typically they will provide constructive criticism.

Is there aNYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU?

I met my wife through The Mountaineers and am amazed at the way learning and being a member has changed my life.

is there Someone that you'd like to see in the spotlight?

Send an email to Sara Ramsay to make a recommendation for one of our upcoming Leader Spotlights!


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Peter Hendrickson
Peter Hendrickson says:
Thu, Nov 29, 2018 2:51 PM

Tab provided first order leadership to the Branch Leadership Council while VP for Branches. Thanks, Tab.