Businesspeople are Heroes and I’m Grateful to Have Served You

Last week I announced to the Chamber Board that I am retiring at the end of 2020. That information was shared with you as a member of the Chamber, is in this week’s electronic newsletter and has been in the press.

Before moving on to talk about the future and you, I’ve been encouraged to share a few comments about my departure.

First, it is bittersweet. I have the best job in town so giving it up does not make any sense, right? That is true! In general, I like to work, and I thoroughly enjoy advocating for business, the community, and the region.

There is still a lot pep in my step and a tiger in my tank, which is exactly the right time to leave while I have the energy to do other things that matter to me personally.

Second, I am optimistic about the future. One advantage of getting older is perspective. You live enough years; you experience a lot of things. Then, if you are a student of history, as I am, you understand our country has regularly faced big challenges and found our way forward. So, it is now.

We are not living in normal times, for sure. The sound and fury of a horribly contentious election season, violent riots in some cities and the economic dislocation and social upheaval caused by the government response to the coronavirus has caused uncertainty and anxiety, even anger. Don’t let it dispirit you, however. We are a resilient people and we will get through this.

Bringing it closer to home, my optimism about the future applies to our region, the economy, business and the Chamber. I’ve had a front row seat over the past half-year as our community responded to COVID-19 shutdowns. The strength and competence of many of our business, chamber and community leaders has been on display. While there’s a lot of hard work in front of the region over the next few years to rebuild and recover, we are in good hands. I’m particularly proud of the team at the Chamber, both our members leaders on the Executive Committee and Board and the staff.

Third, I am grateful. Businesspeople are the best. As a class of people, you’re more creative, innovative, proactive and courageous than the rest of us. I am grateful to have been able to work with you and for the many ways you have supported the Chamber and me.

Of course, my story is not done here, yet. I have 3 ½ months of work and a lot to do. It will be a busy time for me. Sometime during that stretch, the board will select a new CEO. Which leads me to the second point above: I am optimistic about the future and it will be even better. There’s still a hard patch in front of us and everything won’t be the same, but the next generation of leaders give me hope that it will be better.

I’m here until the end of the year. I hope our paths cross before then or somewhere in future.