This week I wrote my last official letter as Chair of the AESP Board of Directors. I felt deeply compelled to leave the membership inspired, motivated, nay choking back tears…. Well, maybe not tears. That said, there is a bit of pressure in the last letter. What does one say when parting? I could talk about the great honor of serving, about the great promise ahead for our industry, I could share random stories about my kids, my dog, my cat, my life, but I have done all of that. Instead, as I reflected back I was reminded that while serving on the AESP Board is an act of giving, it is 100% volunteer work, the rewards for this service are many. Over my tenure as Chair I have learned many lessons that have helped me personally and professionally and so in my last letter as I prepare to part I thought it would be most apropos to share a few of those with the member ship and to day with the readers of our blog.
What I have learned:
- Hard things make us better. We spend life hoping for a smooth path, but I firmly believe that it is the hard things that define us, that make is better, smarter and even happier in the end. I admit that when my term started and I found AESP without a CEO I wanted to run, but that hard thing and the 100 hard things since have made me better. When we have the opportunity to push through moments of challenge, to show ourselves what we can do, what we are made of, we grow, we become greater. Face your challenges head-on you will be better for having gone through it.
- Your network is invaluable, use it. This board and AESP more broadly has offered me a network of incredible individuals that share something with me that the other people in my life do not, a passion for this work, a common vision for a clean and resilient energy future. Company boarders aside, this is where I turn for ideas, guidance, inspiration, and opportunity. The network AESP offers you is priceless; use it.
- Change is constant; embrace it. Every time I think I know where I am, something changes. In life, in our industry constant is not a luxury anyone is afforded. The Clean Air Act, the changing utility business model, new entrants into the space, they will all bring change. How we face change is up to us. We can rage against it, or we can embrace it. Seek your space in a changing world, find the unique opportunity and grab on. Commiserate and brainstorm with your colleagues and be inspired. Own change.
- Respect ideas, wherever they come from. The AESP Board is a diverse and opinionated group. Leading them has not always been easy, our ideas can be disparate and we do not always agree. And while one might think that is the challenge, it is in fact what I have loved most. We all get stuck in our own mindsets; it narrows us and often causes us to miss seeing new opportunities, better ideas and a bigger world. Open your mind to hearing what others have to say, you competitor, your client, your colleague. You may not agree in the end but you will be richer for having listened.
As I close, I must admit that I spent time thinking about the perfect goodbye quote but then realized I was letting my occasionally dramatic flare take over, after all, I have two years left to serve on the Board and barring an unknown relative leaving me millions or the Publishers Clearing House knocking at my door, AESP isn’t rid of me just yet. Still, I am saying goodbye to a moment in time and I believe it is important to acknowledge and say goodbye to things as they pass. I’d love to tell you that the following quote is from classic literature, Shakespeare, Chasseur or the likes, but befitting of the woman who once quoted Yoda in one of these letters I instead leave you with a line from Annie:
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.