Sometimes people ask me what I do in my role as President and CEO. My Number One answer is always, “To find, cultivate, and maintain relationships.”
This is true in how the staff are secured and treated, and it holds true for the Board of Directors, as well. Sometimes a little thank you note in an employee’s paycheck or an appreciation email can truly warm a person’s heart. The same holds true for all people who support a non-profit like Habitat. When someone is thanked, and they know the feeling is sincere, they are much more likely to attend a function, make a donation, or volunteer.
Such is the case of several people I met early in my career as an Executive Director. I was 30 years old and “very green.” While I did not wholly understand every facet of the job, I knew one thing: People matter.
I had lunch recently with a few of the original people who mentored me on that job and the relationships were as strong today as they were then. Maybe stronger. I learned about their lives. I listened. I looked at photos of their grandchildren, and I even shed a tear as I stared across a table at them and knew that time was not going to stand still for any of us.
Now, more than ever, I am convinced that my role as CEO is to form those relationships and be curious about the people who humble me with their time, talents and treasures. I have talented staff to handle the intricate and complex programmatic and operational stuff. But it is absolutely my job to find and maintain strong relationships with many different types of people in our community of giving.
If you would like to have coffee with me and allow me to know you just a little better, I’ll meet you at the nearest Tim Horton’s and treat you. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As time passes, we will both be curious about how things are going, how the affiliate is growing, and how each of our lives have value.
Going back to that reminiscent lunch, I walked away from the reunion very emotional, – not because these friends were aging, but because I love them.
All we have in the end is each other. Right? So reach out. Give me a call. And then one day, long after we get to know each other, when I’m nearing the final stages of life, maybe you will come and visit me “just to catch up” and we can laugh and cry and hug.
Nothing is more important than relationships. God has gifted me gloriously because I know so many wonderful people and hope to know more. Friends, I am truly, truly blessed.
With every best wish,
President and CEO