Friday, September 28, 2012

We will miss you Billie!

One of the perks of working for a great organization like The Salvation Army, is getting to know some great community leaders, via our Advisory Board.  They don’t list “getting to know the board” on our benefits sheet, but they probably should.  Our board is amazing and it has been led for the last two years by Billie Barnett. 

Billie is not a leader in title only.  She leads by example and works hard.  Personally, I attend or lead 3 board committee meetings monthly and although Billie doesn’t have to be at all of them, she almost always attends.  And she doesn’t just come to my meetings, she has equal enthusiasm for every meeting.  She always knows what is going on.  She checks in with me a lot and always encourages me to do my best and aim higher and higher. She has sat by me in donor meetings as we request gifts that are larger than 6 figures--she is fearless when asking others to financially support our work (and I think she could get us a donation to buy ice for Eskimos if we told her we needed it).

Various photos of Billie representing the Army
and one of she and I at her last meeting as Chair.

Billie is handing over the reins to our Advisory Board on Oct. 1.  She is moving on to some other exciting community roles with United Way and other local organizations.  She has promised me that she isn’t leaving for good and she will still serve on our board, but I will miss her leadership and that splash of orange she always adds to our meetings (GO POKES!). 

In her goodbye message to the board she said, “You are the ones that will make this organization succeed and you are the ones who will help the people we serve have a better day. And, if you are like me, you are the ones that when you leave this building after a meeting will quietly feel so blessed for all of your own good fortune and that you are able to help to make a difference in someone’s life.”

I can see the difference that Billie has made (as I type this in my new office, built under her leadership) and our entire staff and clients are experiencing that difference too, even if they don’t know they have her to thank.  She has helped The Salvation Army raise awareness, funds and support while bolstering the reputation of The Army by adding her enthusiastic support to our cause. 

Billie’s final remark as our Chair was this, “I have felt so blessed to have had this opportunity to serve as your Chair and I thank each and every one of you for your service. Keep up your good works, fresh thoughts, and writing those checks ……. We will always have a lot of unfinished business as we set out “Doing the Most Good.”

Thanks for everything Billie!

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