Keep on Running

Posted November 4, 2014

I debated what I would say in this blog, how to ask for votes, and how to convince my colleagues to honor me with a final term on the AESP board. I love serving on the AESP board and being a part of an association that means so much to me. I could try and convince you I am somehow better, more dedicated or worthy than my opponents, but that is not the case, they are all deserving, all leaders and each would be a benefit to the Association.

I was pondering this message today as I ran. Running is how I process everything. Running is how I clear my mind and where I seek answers. I have mapped nearly 1,000 miles since my fellow board members elected me Chair of the AESP Board. Four pairs of running shoes and a lot of miles have been dedicated to AESP. Each mile and each pair of shoes tell a story of my first year as Chair.

This is what a year of running looks like for SVG.

My greatest honor, my most humbling moment.

My Badger kicks

These are the shoes I was running in when I was voted in as the Chair. The term as Chair is two years, but in an unusual confluence of timing I have to run for my general seat in the midst of my term as Chair. Becoming Chair has been the highlight of my career. Sure there are other amazing moments, but what made becoming Chair unique was that it was the board of my colleagues, peers, friends and mentors who cast the vote. I celebrated my election the next day by taking a lone run through downtown Seattle and along the public market and the waterfront. Throughout, I quietly reflected on what it meant to have people I look up to put their faith in my leadership. What I realized then is that being the Chair is not about maintaining a stronghold on your leadership. Being Chair is about supporting from behind. It is about making sure that AESP offers its members everything they need to become leaders and to succeed in our industry. Successful leadership at AESP is not about you, your company or what you want. Successful leadership is about making sure every single member is supported in chasing their own professional dreams.

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

White shoes & a Wisconsin Spring

I must admit that these shoes have a few tears in them, they are the shoes I ran in the day after Meg called and told me she was stepping down as the AESP CEO. I’ll admit that when I headed out for that run a bit of me hoped that these shoes could just carry me away. But after that first mile my mind cleared. After the second mile I recognized the amazing base Meg set for AESP, and after the third I saw the opportunity this offered our association. By the time I reached my fourth mile, I knew that while I was sad to see Meg go, she needed to chase her own dream, follow her own path and that I was ready to lead us through this transition.

The search is on!


Yep pink!

Pink is not my favorite color but these shoes served me well. As I navigated new routs all over the US this summer, these are the shoes that carried me forward, step after step. They carried me through as I searched new cities and as we started the search for the next CEO of AESP. One foot before the other, we find our way forward, more prepared for the next race, stronger than we were when we started.

Time to run.

My current companions, carrying me through.

And these are my newest kicks. Worn a dozen times now and the pair that will take me through this election. I will admit I care deeply about AESP and care even more about following through with the commitment I made when I accepted the role as Chair. I will also admit that I am nervous about the outcome of this election, but I view that as a good thing. It reminds me that this work matters to me. I suspect I will run a lot of miles during the next few weeks as I await the result of this election. As I run I will continue to provide leadership through the search and transition to a new CEO. I will continue to support the staff in Phoenix, California and, Atlanta. I will continue to be a champion for our membership. At the end of the day, the decision lies in your hands. I hope you all give me the opportunity to finish the race and to start navigating us down a new path.

In the meantime, I run.