When Sibusiso Buthelezi, a 33-year-old from South Africa, was inducted into STTI's Tau Lambda-at-Large chapter in 2012, he admittedly knew next to nothing about the organization. It wasn’t until 2013 when he met Professor Deliwe Rene (D.R.) Phetlhu, president of Tau Lambda-at-Large chapter and Regional coordinator (RC) for Africa region, when he began to understand the benefits of belonging and why he should renew his membership. He also had the good fortune of meeting Dr. Hester Klopper, former president of STTI, who appreciated his willingness to volunteer in Tau Lambda activities. “[STTI] has helped me to meet with the best leaders who are keen to mentor and support my growth in the nursing profession…Today I am confident to advocate for change in any context because I have grown under their [Phetlhu’s and Klopper’s] leadership, and I am still growing.”
Philosophically, Sibusiso believes strongly in the power of mentorship: “So the leaders who are currently leading us, should not forget that the time to put their tools down will come,” he says. “Therefore, it is one of their responsibilities to ensure that those who are behind them are being supported and empowered with all relevant leadership skills, particularly the young people.” Sibusiso appreciates that STTI has given him an opportunity to go through a grooming process in order to assume a critical leadership role as Chair of the Young Leaders’ Desk at the regional level. “I will forever be grateful to be under the leadership of people like Professor H. Klopper and Professor D.R. Phetlhu, to mention a few,” he says. “These two leaders have inspired me and also taught me that if I do not stand up and advocate for our profession and engage on issues that are affecting or improve the nursing profession, nobody will do so…Having said that, it is also important to mention the support from my school of nursing, which is under the leadership of Professor Jooste (Director of School of Nursing). She has been giving a phenomenal support throughout my journey and I hope she will continue to do so.”
As Chair of the Young Leaders’ Desk since 2014, Sibusiso’s responsibilities have included tracing all young members of STTI in his region and organizing mentoring sessions for them. He enthusiastically generates a culture of volunteerism among young members and initiates activities that will recruit new young members and retain current members. He credits STTI leadership programs in preparing him for this role, particularly by stressing visionary leadership and perseverance.
Sibusiso also acknowledges Michelle Coburn, a Constituent Engagement and Training Specialist at STTI, for the informative activities she shares via the web. “The support that she gives to members around the world on The Circle is marvelous,” he says. “That’s how I got myself updated with STTI’s home page (The Circle, the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository, etc.). I really feel that for members to enjoy the benefits of being an STTI member, they must know and understand how to access these things and utilize them. The support in this organization is amazing…I am where I am today because of the passionate leaders of STTI who believed in me.”