Duties and Line of Work
I met Patrick Kearns, the executive director of the Refugee Response, Cleveland, Ohio, where we discussed issues in his resettlement centre. One of the main duties of a Refugee Resettlement Agency is to oversee the agency’s operations. Kearns is the face of the organization and therefore has to ensure that the organization operates as it is supposed and adheres to international and local laws. For instance, all refugees coming to the resettlement must identify themselves and provide their legal documents.
The leader oversees the education and employment of programs taught to the refugees. A refugee resettlement centre is supposed to offer education that is relevant to the refugees’ backgrounds. He, therefore, must ensure that the education passed is approved by the local government and helpful to the refugees. This helps them find jobs easily and contribute to the economy of their new community.
Daily Leadership and Communication Challenges Faced by Refugee Resettlement Agency Leaders
One of the main daily challenges experienced by Kearns is the language barrier. Refugees come from different regions globally, and they speak different languages, making it difficult for the leader to communicate with them. Therefore, Kearns must seek other means of communicating effectively with the refugees. Kearns must interact and communicate with the refugees daily as they discuss various issues; hence communication is essential in the resettlement.
The other daily challenge faced by Kearns is the coordination of the refugee resettlement center. This includes the daily management and running of issues in the center. He faces with many decisions to make, and some of them require critical thinking because they can affect the business. Therefore, Kearns has to take care of managerial issues within the resentment center to ensure that everything runs properly.
Facing the Challenges
The challenge of the language barrier is addressed by finding translators and interpreters. They help to facilitate communication between the leader and refugees. The translators use plain language, which is easily understandable by both leaders and refugees. This enables the leader and refugees to understand each other and boosts the refugees’ confidence in the resettlement. Additionally, the leaders can learn more than one language to be able to communicate with the refugees.
Kearns is currently studying at Ohio University for a master’s degree in Public Administration. He uses the knowledge from his education in running the resettlement center. Additionally, Kearns has led various organizations in Southeast Asia, which gave him the useful experience in managerial and leadership practices. He, therefore, uses this knowledge and help from other stakeholders in the resettlement center to make decisions.
Leadership Advice that Can Be Beneficial
According to the leader, the advice that can benefit a student is that “when you choose to do something, do it with all your heart without expecting any returns.” This advice shows that commitment and focus are crucial factors. The main aim of a deed should be purpose-led, not profit-led. When the purpose is fulfilled, profits then profits will follow afterwards. Good deeds will always lead to good returns, even if not immediately.
Leadership is not an easy task, even for a non-profit organization. It requires much decision-making to have everything running smoothly. Leaders need to have management skills to know how to control an organization. He needs to inspire people to believe in their dream and work towards them. This is why many volunteers work on different resettlement agencies without any returns, but they are comfortable with it.