Ten years ago, I packed up our family and moved to New Jersey to become the CEO of the YMCA of Montclair. We moved from Pennsylvania where I spent the previous seven years as a YMCA CEO turning around a tired Y with a non-sustainable financial picture and tons of deferred maintenance. With a great team, we invigorated the board of directors, raised a tremendous amount of money, invested millions of dollars to facility upgrades and repairs. Membership grew and program offerings expanded.
In a nearby community, we renovated an old shopping plaza to create a YMCA Annex to offer a healthy outlet for the people so to grow membership and followers while we orchestrated a capital campaignor a full facility YMCA operation, bringing this community a 21st century complex. During all of this, I was back at school attaining my master’s degree in Organizational, Management and Leadership. I wrote my thesis on The Benefits to Merging a Y . . . while I merged my Y! Everything was so exciting. Once I graduated, the merger was finalized, the Y Annex was opened, and the quiet phase of the capital campaign was underway. Soon after, it was clear to me it was time to do more somewhere else.
That was ten years ago, I left for the job in New Jersey. The work at the Y of Montclair was equally as exciting, with similar themes, but on a grander scale. I spent seven years, having inherited “a tired Y with a non-sustainable financial picture and tons of deferred maintenance. With a great team, we invigorated the board of directors, raised a tremendous amount of money, invested millions of dollars to facility upgrades and repairs. Membership grew and program offerings expanded.” We developed a reputation of a “go to” organization consulted to help solve community issues. After building a sturdy foundation for the future, it was clear to me that it was time to do more somewhere else.
In 2017, after spending years dabbling as a volunteer consultant on the side and serving on local boards, I tried my hand at consulting full time. Hanging my shingle as an Organizational Development Consultant, I have worked at evaluating clients existing business structure, coached to diminish their risk and exposure, ensured their legal compliance, and recommended proven practices in governance and human resources, all the while offering systematic and effective processes for operations. As I was getting ramped up in building my client base, I was contacted by the Girl Scouts of the USA to serve in a full-time capacity to do the same for a large portfolio of Girl Scout Councils across the country. Once I joined this reputable, federated Movement, I worked to strengthen council health to each of the GS Councils in my portfolio, on-boarded new CEOs to network alignment and merged two GS Councils so to continue serving girls in a more robust capacity.
Then, in a COVID riddled world, I found myself wanting more. Finding an organization with a soul goes without saying, but it is clear to me it is time to do more somewhere else. Leading to make a difference, whether with a title in the C-Suite or creating impact through influence, as in consulting, I’m ready. How many people, interviewing for a job five years ago, failed miserably when asked the question; “Where do you see yourself in five years?” COVID has changed the way we do what we’ve done and I’m excited to see the benefit of that shift.
Perhaps there’s something to be said for being jolted away from our schedule and what’s familiar. Use this time to allow us to see true value. We never planned to walk this walk, it wasn’t predicted and there’s no road map for what’s ahead, but it’s given us astounding clarity. In an instant, some are suddenly unemployed, others attempting to simultaneously parent and work full-time, hesitating about plans for back to school, or fearful of illness. Shaken from our routines, in an economy that leaves so little margin for disaster, we can see the serious liabilities of the old “normal.”
Instead of yearning to go back, we can turn and face into a future that is uncertain, but rich with possibilities to build a world that is more compassionate with humility and a focus on humanity. Now, if asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years,” what would you say?
It is clear to me it is time to do more.