Given some of the seemingly idiotic and irresponsible behaviors we hear about on the news and we see acted out on stage and screen, we may be tempted to think that common sense and wisdom is a thing of the past. However tempting that thought is, it’s just not true. There are many wise and influential men and women present in our lives, but we often don’t realize it at the time. I’d like to to change that by telling you about four women I know today who are both wise and influential; even though they’d probably deny it.
I’ve been a member of the Assistance League of Kansas City since I retired. It’s a great philanthropic organization made up of volunteers who achieve some amazing things. But today I’m not talking about the organization. It’s four very special women who agreed to serve as president of this organization that I want you to meet. It’s really a two year commitment because you spend the first year as president elect and virtually shadow the President for a year and then when you become president the next one shadows you.
I’ve been on the Board for the past three years and just began year four. So I’m now working with my fourth president. I’ve been reflecting on this in the past few weeks and I’ve realized that I have been exceptionally blessed to have had the opportunity to work with these women. I thought about writing a thank you note to each one of them but instead I’ve decided to share those thoughts with all of you.
Ann was president during my first year on the board. I have known Ann the longest as she was one of the first people I got to know when I joined ALKC. Ann’s influence and wisdom comes from her passionate commitment to detail and making sure that things are done right. She is one of those leaders who isn’t going to quit until all the t’s have been crossed and the i’s dotted. But Ann is also aware that sometimes you need to let something go. Ann was wise enough to listen to the input of others on the board in order to know when it was time to do just that.
Cindy was president my second year. She was the chair of the nominating committee a year earlier who asked me to take on a rather daunting responsibility that wasn’t exactly in my area of expertise. But, I have to say that I have no regrets whatsoever about coming on the the Board at that time. Cindy is a retired lawyer, a “let’s stick to the point” person who is great at delegation. She certainly fulfilled all the responsibilities that were hers but she also understood that the more people who are involved in various activities the stronger the organization is and the better trained future leaders are.
Margie followed Cindy, and, while I changed my area of responsibility, I still remained on the Board. And I am glad I did. Margie has a tender heart but knows how to be firm yet kind. She knows what her priorities are and speaks her mind in a way that allows for discussion and differences of opinion without allowing anyone to become “disagreeable.” Margie cares about people and always seems to be able to get people together on something without ruffling anyone’s feathers…well maybe a few feathers were ruffled occasionally.
And now, Penney has taken her place as President. I’ve only seen her “in action” in two settings so far, although I have seen her in the role of President elect for the past year. The first setting was at the Board Retreat last week and then in the Chapter meeting this morning. And what I’m seeing in Penney I really like. She is very well-planned, thoughtful and inspiring. I could see elements of that last year and it’s starting to shine already this year.
So, this is my thank-you note to these four talented, wise and influential women. They have made my time on the Board pleasant and productive. I have learned from each of them. And I consider each one of them my friend.
And the Assistance League of Kansas City has benefitted greatly from their leadership.