Passing the gavel

by Jennifer Tolle Whiteside

Oh, how time flies.

At this month’s meeting of our statewide board of directors, it was time to pass the gavel. Our chair, Jim Black, has led our board for two exceptional years. He has been a smart and strong leader, one who has taken his role seriously. His executive business expertise, especially in wealth and trust management, combined with his commitment to philanthropy has served us well.

The gavel passes to our vice chair and now incoming chair, Rodney Martin.

We are incredibly fortunate to have this caliber of board leaders assembled at the helm of this organization. Each of them takes their role seriously and brings passion and commitment to our mission. 

I appreciate all the time that board members devote to this organization, but particularly appreciate those that are elected to lead. The opportunity to serve as chair is important and comes with vital responsibilities to our organization. It means a lot more time, energy, travel and responsibility.

The relationship I have with each of our past chairs has been meaningful and impactful. I always learn from them. We spend time traveling to meetings, sometimes attending funerals, handling difficult situations, disagreeing, debating, supporting each other, sharing in successes and negotiating our path forward for the best interests of the organization.

Saying goodbye to someone who has worked beside you for the past two years is bittersweet. I always say it is a bit like getting a divorce or breaking up, you get a new chair and you start fresh learning about them, especially their communication and leadership style and how they like to get information. (Do they like to meet in person? Talk on the phone? Text?) It is all about navigating a new role and developing a strong working relationship with your new boss and partner.

I am so grateful to Jim Black for everything he did for this organization over many years. I’m both a bit sad about not working with him as closely anymore, and a little excited about our new chair, Rod Martin. Most of all, thanks to our exceptional leaders, I remain optimistic about our future.