Becoming president and CEO of Fremont Area Community Foundation is the biggest honor I’ve ever undertaken. Being a CEO entails leadership skills, integrity, and being able to adapt to the needs of a community and your team.
I would estimate that 80% of my job is people and 20% is administrative. I spend a good deal of my time listening and building relationships. It is fascinating to move to an entirely new community, and it was essential that I get to know trustees, staff team members, community leaders, donors, and nonprofit leaders well. I find it remarkable, too, how much you draw on your past career, including my time as a server, as a Habitat for Humanity director, and as CEO of other philanthropic organizations.
As a CEO, as I begin to understand the landscape and people, I’m able to build trust. This helps ensure the Community Foundation’s core values of compassionate and collaborative leadership, trusted stewardship, and courageous and responsive action can be carried out. Nothing is possible alone. Our trustee and staff teams carry forth the work of the Community Foundation in grants, scholarships, and convening in partnership with donors and citizens in order to benefit all people of Newaygo County, as well as those in our affiliate counties.
There are some administrative pieces of the puzzle as well, including developing a strategic framework, ensuring fiscal stewardship, reviewing policies, educating oneself on best practices in philanthropy, and ensuring accountability.
I tell others often how lucky I am to look forward to coming to work every day. But I think, too, that Thomas Jefferson said it well: “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” Fremont Area Community Foundation can do great things through philanthropy. I am filled with optimism about what comes next. Thank you for making me feel like I am home.