After a great all-day staff meeting, I arrived home late last night to find a copperhead slithering across my driveway.  After only a brief hesitation, I told myself this could pose a danger to my household, both people and pets! So I sped up and hit it.  And then backed up and drove over it three more times -- just to make sure.  

I thought to myself that I am certainly not going to tell our Board Chairman Mr. Narron about this, because I know his reaction.  I think he would say this was a pretty “girly” way to kill a snake.   I think I may not mention this to my dad either, who raised snakes when I was growing up and would tell me there really was no reason to kill it.  My husband on the other hand would have told me, “Go for it.” A copperhead bit our dog a couple of years ago, and it was an awful experience (especially for our dog!).  Of course we all know that a copperhead bite can make people really sick, or worse.

I actually did feel a little guilty, but only for about ten minutes. This morning when I saw the flattened snake in daylight I realized that making the decision to run over a snake has some similarities to making decisions at the foundation. Sometimes you have to just listen to the voices in your head. Of course we don’t run over snakes, or even advocate that. But we do stop and listen along the way.

All of our staff were in Raleigh yesterday for the  full-day meeting.  We spent our day learning, sharing and catching up. Lots of energy and enthusiasm, some great ideas of how we can improve our work, and much gratitude was expressed for the work we each feel privileged to do, which involves, in part, working with some of the most generous and passionate donors in the country! 

I cannot imagine working with a more talented and committed group of people.  We always emerge from our time together energized and focused. 

Much of our time together yesterday was talking about the future -- about what is ahead for us, and ways we can sharpen our impact.  And it made me realize that we never have a conversation about the future without hearing those voices in our heads that reflect the hearts of our founders.  It is those voices that prod and guide us to be the best we can be, to ensure we are reaching across this great state to ensure that the power of philanthropy is not only available – but alive and thriving.

As we move forward we always hear the whispers in our ears of our founders, keeping us steady and focused on the right things.

I am glad to be able to rely on those voices, whether those of my father, our illustrious chairman or those of our founders. The voices keep us straight.

So whether the voices you hear are telling you to run over a poisonous snake or to follow the right path for your organization, they usually reflect wisdom, and certainly can promote survival!

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