Wow! It has been 20 years since I donned my one good interview suit to convince the CEO, Don Bowen and the Vice President, Blanche Templeton to hire me. It has been 20 years since I walked through our doors with a small box with decorative items for my first "real" office. It has been 20 years today that I can say I made the BEST decision to join the Urban League team.
I got to join the Urban League when it really was on the cusp of a reinvention. The management team had recently made the decision to refocus 100 percent of its efforts on the 33311 zip code area. The organization was still relatively small and looking for ways to reshape its operational processes. And yep....in walked Germaine Smith with a few ideas...even though my position had nothing to do with overall company operations...I was in charge of one small program budgeted at $50,000. [If you caught the last name - that's right, I was not married when I joined the Urban League...in fact, the Urban League has been a part of every major celebration of my adult life. True to Urban Leaguers, many of the women helped the new girl from out of town with wedding décor, favors, and yes, they attended my wedding. This is what it means to be an Urban Leaguer! ]
20 years and four positions later, this has by far been more than I could ever imagine. The experiences, the people, the lessons, the relationships have taught me so much about myself. It has tested and stretched me beyond what I thought I was capable of doing and provided a tremendous platform to share my talents. I am truly blessed! The Urban League is a really special place, made up of some incredible people from top to bottom, paid and unpaid, staff through volunteers. I sincerely thank you for choosing to be on this journey with me.
Leadership is a gift and if we are fortunate, we can unpack that gift every day and find new treasures.
I would have way too many golden nuggets to express my gratitude to the numerous Urban Leaguers, past and present; therefore, I will simply say THANK YOU and I am grateful to each and every one of you for all the leadership gifts you have given me over the last 240 months, 7300 days, 175,316.4 hours, OR 10,518,984 minutes MINUS some weekends, sleeping hours and vacation time. My husband, Paul may say that some of those sleeping hours and vacation times may need to be added back to the equation --- "she finds something to apply to the Urban League everywhere she goes -- even in dream state."
Please know that it has been my gracious pleasure to serve, to bring the best that I could to our company every day, to show up with new ways to address old challenges, and to see our dreams come to life through members of the
Board, staff and clients. Ultimately, my personal FAITH has been the true bellwether of any of my accomplishments at the Urban League and even when the days looked a little foggy, it was my FAITH that told me to dust it off and keep it moving. I look forward to what the next milestone will bring with much excitement.
It's time for another REINVENTION!