Steven Salas: From Derward K Award winner to Community Leader
Steven Salas is one of ACB’s brightest younger leaders. 2019 Annual convention was the introduction to the ACB community for this ambitious young man. As he accepted his award Steven proclaimed to current organization president he would have her position someday soon. A year later Steven is on the Board of ACB’s newest affiliate Next Generation, a leading member in many of the Community Calls as well as a moderator on the Facebook group dedicated to the Community. Steven is a great example of the younger energy that is invigorating the spirit of the community and a leader to watch as he climbs the ranks of ACB.
After his memorable DKM speech at the 2019 ACB convention Steven hit the ground running joining the growing Next Generation committee and leading it through the Affiliate status. He states the vision for the new affiliate is to empower ACB youth to strive to not only help members to find their leadership potential but to invigorate ACB with new energy and ideas. As the pandemic hit Next Generation who had already been holding weekly open chats called the Saturday Night Live Hangout was instrumental in adding this and other calls to the fledgling community calls of ACB. The popularity of these calls and his energetic presence on various other community calls led Membership Services Coordinator Cindy Hollis to ask him to be a moderator when the need for a Facebook group dedicated to the community was established. “My opinion is that you get more flies with honey than vinegar. So fun mixed with work is the vision I present.” Steven says when asked about the success of his iniatives in the community. As a young leader int the community his program ideas has inspired other younger members to step forward with both participation and new ideas.
Peer Support is important to Steven and he talks about the calls that inspire him such as calls on proper pronoun usage, the tech training calls and most important to him all the various Mental Health Check-in calls. Book discussions and Karaoke are other favorites of his. “When Covid-19 hit it was very lonely and scary for our community who was virtually left out of the little planning and response. Having these calls to attend made a scary time a. Lot less nerve racking.” Steven says in ACB’s response to the pandemic.
This year due to the pandemic Steven was instrumental to the planning of Next Generations Virtual Convention programming planning. He states he wanted to make sure others were able to experience the excitement and community these conventions bring to our community. All the new members ACB gained because of the virtual convention and the community calls give him a strong sense of pride in the work he does both as a leader and all the behind the scenes streaming, planning and facilitating of programming.
“Community Calls and membership in ACB is a great way to survive the loneliness and isolation of Covid. Many of us have little or no way of being together and ACB has given us this virtual family of support and community that is a lifeline for many of us.”