October 17th was my ninth work anniversary at GreenHill. This passing of time seemed like a blink of an eye. Where did the time go, and do I have still have energy, creativity, and vision to take me past my first decade as the executive director are questions I have been pondering. Should there be a mandatory tenure for executive directors? Research says average stay for an ED is about six years, so I have passed the average—what does that mean for me? In asking myself to reaffirm my commitment to GreenHill (something I believe everyone should do regardless of their position), I have looked back over my years, celebrated what I have accomplished, and looked forward to what will come next.
My rambling thoughts about GreenHill take me back to my first days, when we were an insular, bruised organization, having gone through leadership changes and extreme financial stress. There was a lack of trust between the staff and board, and the organization needed a fresh perspective. From day one, I worked to change the culture to be externally focused, accessible, inclusive, and to welcome collaboration across the entire community. Engrained in every decision is our nonprofit mission of supporting and promoting the visual arts and artists of NC. At GreenHill, we help artists develop their artistic careers, and, as importantly, we give children and families the tools to be creative, take risks, learn from mistakes, and to think outside of the box. It brings me joy to watch a child ponder why his or her paint colors change as they add another color, or to see someone build something out of recycled materials that only they can decipher. The stories children tell when asked about what it means to them are always fabulously imaginative.
Now, I look out into an increasingly tricky philanthropic landscape and know nonprofits must change and evolve to stay relevant and vibrant. Our sector needs astute, business savvy leaders to strategically guide nonprofit organizations as they lean into their missions, broaden donor bases, and build collaborations that reflect the changing demographics of our communities. I have been preparing my entire career for these changes and have the wherewithal, passion, and commitment to see GreenHill through to continued success and vitality.
Leading into the future, however, is not a singular task; it takes an equally committed and creative staff. I have the honor of working with some of the very best in the field—I am grateful every day for their energy, talent, and perseverance. There is only one key position open and I know we will find the right person to fill the Corporate and Institutional Development Associate (go to http://www.greenhillnc.org/jobs-at-greenhill for job description.) I am poised for the next decade, looking forward to it with enthusiasm and optimism!