A LETTER FROM THE CEO: WHAT’S RIGHT WITH THE CHAMBER?
After over a decade at the helm of the Fayette Chamber, I have let our board and staff know that it is my plan to retire from the chamber December 31st of this year. It has been such a privilege, honor and blessing to have had the opportunity to lead this incredible organization. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t been inspired and humbled by the opportunities our team has to make a difference through our efforts at the chamber, not only on behalf of the businesses and organizations that make up our membership, but also for our Fayette community.
It’s interesting how often, when a senior leader announces they are retiring from an organization, the first question folks ask is “What’s wrong?” While it may be a natural response, I think a much better question is “What’s right?”, and as such, that’s the focus of my letter to you.
As I reflect on my tenure here, I am proud that, together, we have achieved a number of important goals. First and foremost, we’ve made great strides in true organizational development, recruiting and building a talented team and closely aligning our mission with our day to day programs. I can say without hesitation that your chamber has a truly solid foundation, and is ready to take it to the next level of service and impact in our community. We’ve aspired, and, I believe, become a very good model of how solid small businesses and non-profits are run, with a talented and committed board and professional staff who operate with integrity and compassion. We’ve honed our brand, and elevated our programs and communications to levels well beyond what you’d imagine a six person team could do.
Our chamber has played an integral role in being a catalyst for healthy, inclusive community conversations on difficult and very personal conversations like diversity, community health, and how best to support our students for their futures. We’ve helped our community to articulate its vision for the future. We’ve been willing to ask ourselves the hard questions about our own programming and how we should best align our capabilities in areas such as leadership development and input on public policy. And we have had the courage to not be satisfied with being good, but rather to act to improve the areas which need to be better.
Healthy organizations embrace leadership change, knowing that new leaders bring new gifts and perspectives which, done well, can truly build on the strong foundation, and take the organization to the next level. I have done my personal best to prepare this chamber to be ready for that next level, and have immense confidence that our Board of Directors will find the very best candidate to take the lead in 2015. Our Executive Board, acting in its capacity as the personnel committee, is in the process of determining how the search will be conducted. Within the next two weeks, we will communicate the job posting and qualifications on our web site and via chamber e-mail as soon as our board leadership has it available. Of course, over the next two months, I will do everything possible to make this a seamless and extraordinarily healthy transition.
So, what’s right with the chamber? So much is right, that I can confidently say “it’s time to hand off the baton.” What’s next for me? Time to relax, reflect and find where my life’s journey will lead me next…