This year marks many milestones and new beginnings. We celebrated the 110th anniversary of our founding by Mrs. Alice Graham Baker, our merger with the Daniel and Edith Ripley Foundation and the unveiling of our new agency name – BakerRipley. We broke ground on the East Aldine Economic Opportunity Center through the largest capital campaign in our history and plans are underway for a new headquarters in Houston’s East End. The agency continues to evolve along with the community, yet our shared purpose remains the same — keeping the Houston region a place of opportunity for everyone.
Effective December 31, 2017, I will be resigning from the role as President and CEO. The Executive Committee has requested, and I have agreed, to assume the role of President Emerita. Although, I am leaving the position I am not leaving the work. I will provide assistance and guidance as needed, and help develop our Learning Center, where staff can be immersed in the core values and beliefs that have guided our work. I will continue to share our work with other organizations and city leaders seeking to transform communities.
My daily inspiration has always come from the people we serve – their courage and determination – which I find mirrored in you – my teammates. I am surrounded by leaders committed to helping our neighbors build the future they’ve imagined. It has been a great honor to serve a dedicated board and to be a part of a high performing tribe of people – selflessly focused on strengthening community.
Here are a few lessons I learned from working with all of you:
- Leadership is key to our ability to build and grow the agency. Not a pale safe version, but bold, future-focused leadership poised to tackle the toughest challenges. Be courageous.
- Fall in love with the people you work with. It’s an arranged family built out of necessity, but there’s nothing more appealing than watching someone at their best, giving it all they’ve got.
- Practice fiscal discipline. We do what we can with what we have. Always staying within available resources even as we seek more.
- Never forget the redemptive and regenerative power of a compelling purpose. In challenging times go back to the well of meaning and purpose – over and over again. Our “why” will always point the way to our “what”.
- And no matter the question, we will find our answers in community. The universal yearning to earn, learn and belong – should guide our work always.
My life has been immeasurably enriched through my work at BakerRipley. Guided by the agency legacy and following examples of leaders past and present has meant I’ve been challenged daily to learn and to grow. I find myself at a real loss for words that cover the full extent of my gratitude and deep appreciation. My heart is full of true affection and respect for all of you.
President and CEO