I am writing my final newsletter as my time as President has come to an end. When my term started, my goal was to continue the work of transitioning to our smaller working Board of Directors and Executive Committee structure, assist with the staff transition as Judy Hogel retired and Liz Fidanovski took over as Executive Director, and help with the 25th Anniversary Gala. That list, in my mind, was plenty to do.
Along the way, we suddenly all had to deal with the Coronavirus, and more recently social unrest in our cities and country. The good news is none of us have to do this alone. Our prior EFBC leaders have put systems in place that provide a roadmap and a system to prepare us for today’s challenges. Past leaders worked out a plan for the Executive Director transition, the Board restructure, and a reserve fund for “rainy days.” Thanks to their forward-thinking, we are in good shape.
In this new and busy Corona era, the EFBC staff, committees, and Forums quickly pivoted and adapted to virtual meetings and seminars. I have had the pleasure of working with our EC, Board, and staff to help navigate through all the projects and challenges. The people who make up the EFBC are an amazingly diverse group of leaders and businesses. This is our biggest strength, and we are fortunate to have each other in these challenging times. There is a beauty to our diversity as an organization—We all have different businesses in different locations, providing a variety of products or services, with a variety of employees. Our membership is made up of women and men, different ages, backgrounds, experiences, really an impressive organization of genuinely good people. We have our emotional intelligence protocols to guide us as we meet and work with one another, a guide to help us listen to each other and learn together.
It’s sad to see the unrest happening in the country and world as I read the news. It seems like we are in a time where there is a battle of facts versus feelings. I’m generally a facts guy, but I know how my emotions play a part, and I always listen to the facts and feelings that others experience. In the media, I hear and see a bunch of noise drowning out the real issues. Too much groupthink, and not enough diversity in thought. Groupthink is the enemy of innovation or change.
Just the other day I was talking with Nirel Inman who is a fellow Board member and next in line to become EFBC President. Of course, I got on the topic of music and my favorite band Rush. I told Nirel about a song Rush wrote in 1978 called Sigma X1 Book 2. Yes, that is really the title of the song, and yes, I am a nerd. It’s a long, futuristic, mythological song that even the Rush super-fans must buckle in to listen. The song is a whole album side…it’s a doozy. The song is about this guy Cygnus who is traveling in space and accidentally goes through a black hole, arriving to a world in turmoil. In this mythological place, there is an ongoing battle between the people who blindly follow Apollo, the bringer of wisdom, and the people who blindly follow Dionysus, the bringer of love. The battle between the heart and mind… or the battle between facts and feelings. Cygnus shows up with a fresh perspective, not part of either of the groupthink crowds and brings diversity of thought. Cygnus is then known as the bringer of balance. The song ends with the following lyrics:
“We can walk our road together if our goals are all the same. We can run alone and free if we pursue a different aim. Let the truth of love be lighted, let the love of truth shine clear. Sensibility. Armed with sense and liberty. With heart and mind united in a single perfect sphere.”
I think these lyrics sum up what our world could use more of today. Personally, it makes me think of all of us, the members and staff of the EFBC, and what we stand for. We stop to take the time to listen and learn from others. We open our hearts and minds to a fresh perspective, allowing us to grow as leaders and people.
The EFBC really doesn’t allow for groupthink, not because of rules or blindly following a specific ideology, but through respect for the beauty of diverse perspectives. The EFBC is a bright light in our world today, and we need to continue to spread the message. That is the magic and strength of this organization, and why it was such an honor to be part of it. I want to personally thank every member of the EFBC for allowing me to serve. It has truly been a blessing and an honor.
EFBC President 2019-2020