Two years ago, as I was about to step into the role as Chapter President, I reached out to many of the past IFMA Boston Presidents who had proceeded me and asked them to share their thoughts on how to be an effective leader. I thought certainly, this group of veterans would have some golden nuggets of wisdom. Stephen Bell, who held the role from 1988 – 1992, offered this one piece of advice; ‘Focus on your succession plan’. At the time, I was somewhat perplexed and assumed that his words were simply a good-natured quip. Today, I completely understand the wisdom of that sage advice.
Being President – of anything – carries great responsibility. Beyond the enormous time commitment, there is an intrinsic emotional obligation that fuels every single task and decision. The position of President demands that you think forward into the future while maintaining a steely eye on the events and activities of the present. In that vein, I felt it important to safeguard the success and integrity of the organization, but also, to help open the doors for new ideas, new ventures, and new successes. I knew that, if I could just somehow inspire others to become more invested in their ideas and contributions – that I would be simultaneously investing in the organization.
Those who I was charged to lead – looked to me for vision, for direction, for solutions. The “manager” in me, wanted to spoon feed them the answers. As a leader however, I recognized that it was my responsibility to turn back to every volunteer and challenge them to become a part of that solution finding process. I knew that in order to pour the foundation for the next generation of leaders, I needed to place my confidence and trust in them to ‘rise to the occasion’.
If there is a measure of success for any leader, it is discovered in those whom he or she leads. As President, I advanced several strategic actions, presided over many meetings, and attended a seemingly endless amount of events. This was all part of the “job”. But in thinking back, I find that I take the greatest pride from encouraging others around me to become more involved, to take more pride, and to gain a greater sense of accomplishment from their participation in IFMA Boston.
So, as I prepare to step down as the IFMA Boston Chapter President, many thoughts occur. The past two years have been an extraordinary experience, and for that, I owe a great amount of appreciation to all of those who have made this journey as amazing as it was.
It is critical, first and foremost to thank all of our many Annual Sponsors. It is absolutely true that you are the fuel that runs the engine. Without your continued support, we would not be nearly as successful as we are in bringing forth value added programs to our membership. There really are not enough words to express the gratitude I have for your ongoing confidence and backing.
And a very big round of applause must absolutely go to Jennessa Durrani, the Director of IFMA Boston. It is absolutely true that she proved to be the catalyst that made everything successful. Jennessa proved to be an invaluable support system and resource for almost every IFMA activity and event. She added a continual dose of insight, experience and creativity to almost everything that the organization accomplishes. Her unbridled passion and commitment for maintaining the day-to-day details, allowed everyone, including the president, the luxury of remaining focused on the big picture. Bravo to you!
Stepping into this position, I was blessed with having an extremely talented and motivated Board of Directors supporting me. It was with great fortune that this board represented a body of seasoned, experienced IFMA leaders along with an infusion of new talent who brought a renewed energy and vision to the table. This team of professionals truly inspired me in their collective wisdom and passion. It was through their steadfast commitment that I was continuously challenged to do my absolute best to make IFMA Boston as best as it could be. To all the Board of Directors who stood by me, and behind me, during the past two years – I say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Without you, this responsibility would have been insurmountable.
Beyond this core group however, was an army of volunteers who spent countless hours planning and executing educational, networking and professional events. This collection of professionals did not disappoint. They poured their passion, their knowledge and experience into every challenge they took on. I can speak confidently in saying that I was never short of amazed at the dedication and enthusiasm they all possessed for their contributions. To each and every one of you who made my time as President as successful as it was, I thank you. Without all of your tireless effort – the IFMA Boston experience would not have been achievable.
To all of the members who joined, who took interest, who participated and slogged through traffic or our ridiculous New England weather to attend events – I thank you. There isn’t a moment that I have not reminded myself that you are the number one motivating factor for each and every one of the volunteers. It is because of you – that IFMA Boston exists in the first place. You make us stronger and your involvement is what inspires us to continue on.
Last, and certainly not least, I owe an enormous thank you to my team at Margulies Perruzzi Architects. Behind the scenes, they supported me throughout my presidency and made great sacrifice to accommodate the amount of time and effort that was required to serve IFMA Boston in the manner in which I had. Their patience and understanding was a testimony of their incredible belief in our Chapter.
Now, I migrate into the role of ‘Past President’ where my new role is talent acquisition and development. In this capacity, I will draw on my 17 years experience in IFMA Boston to help bring forward the next generation of leaders for the Chapter. Stephen Bell was profoundly correct in his advice; in order to preserve the IFMA Boston experience for the future, we must be laser focused on succession today.