Love Letters from the CEO

 

Dear Cobb County,

Since moving here in July of 2017, my family and I have been blessed beyond measure. We have had so many opportunities placed in front of us and have been gifted with little blessings in the form of colleagues, community leaders, neighbors, school teachers and mentors, many of whom we are fortunate to now call friends. When one of those little blessings suggested that I consider the CEO opportunity at the Center for Family Resources, I knew I had to consider it. The legacy of the organization, it’s brand, mission and leadership were well known to me. The idea that I could be involved in the next chapter of this great organization was one I did not want to pass up.

When I accepted the position six months ago, I went through the run of emotions that I think most people do with these types of career changes. It is a humbling experience to have other professionals recognize your talent and ability and entrust you with a role like this. If accepting the position was a moment of clarity, I would be remiss not to acknowledge the moments of cloudiness that followed. I think there were a few days of pure panic as I talked myself off my self-made ledge, but as I settled into the reality of my new role, I knew the best thing to do was show up, listen, learn and commit to giving nothing but my best.

For six months, I’ve poured myself into the Center for Family Resources, honoring those who came before me, discovering what we do well and listening. I have also been seeking out areas of opportunity and being humbly put in my place once or twice (ok maybe three or four times) by the experts that consistently carry out our mission in their day-to-day work.

 

Here are some of the things I’ve learned in those six months:

  • Becoming a CEO means that your signature is on A LOT of important documents – read them.
  • Your employees are your greatest assets – treat them well, give them tools and let them do what they do best.
  • Your board members want to see you succeed – let them guide and support you.
  • Every day looks different – show up anyway.
  • You can learn something from everyone if you’re paying close enough attention.
  • You set the tone in the office – leave your bad day in the car and never pass up a chance to celebrate.
  • Sixty years are worth celebrating – so is the vision for the next sixty.
  • What’s best for the organization isn’t always what is easiest or what is comfortable – do it anyway.
  • You have more friends and cheerleaders than you think – lean into them.
  • A non-profit is a business like any other – treat it like one.
  • You can’t do everything on your own, and you are not an expert at all things – learn when to lead, when to follow and when to get out of the way.

 

So many more lessons have been learned and I know there will be many more. One thing I do know; I am exactly where I should be. I am grateful for the opportunity to help lead this incredible organization, and I am excited for what our future holds.

As we begin the next chapter, I can’t help but feel like we are on the edge of something remarkable. Something that will change the fundamental way we serve people in this community. Something that will require new ideas, new agreements, a new understanding of what it means to put people on a path to self-sufficiency. I know that I want to be part of whatever is coming. I’d love it if you joined us.

-MK

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