For work that is real

As we head into the 2016/17 school year, I’m thrilled to celebrate a milestone anniversary as president and CEO of JA-Rocky Mountain. Twenty-five years. It’s been an amazing journey. And if you count the years that I was a JA student, I’ve been a part of JA a lot longer than I care to admit!

Benjamin Franklin said that, “the noblest question in the world is what good may I do in it?” For me the answer to that question didn’t come quickly, and it didn’t come easily. I’d love to tell you that I started working at JA-Rocky Mountain right out of college, but in reality, I took a few roads less traveled. I was in, then out, then back in college and explored a couple of career paths before I arrived here. I quickly saw the use I could be in helping to build and steward an organization that inspires young people to see possibilities, seize opportunities and earn their future economic success.

My joy comes from working alongside you – committed professionals and volunteers who work with a defined purpose and an inspired mission to help students understand the free enterprise system and their place in it. It’s the tireless dedication of our volunteers that reminds me that leadership is not about how to do; it’s about how to be. And our JA volunteers have seized the opportunity to be part of something larger than themselves.

There’s a poem that I love by Marge Percy titled “To Be of Use.” These excerpts sum up my views on finding meaningful work.

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

I am so honored to have the opportunity to work in partnership with remarkable teachers, students, business leaders, and volunteers on work that is meaningful and real. Whether you join us as a JA volunteer, or you find an entirely different path, find your passion and be of use. After 25 years I can say