From the Business Perspective Newsletter
Last week I attended the college graduation of one of my nieces as she received her nursing degree.
This has been a celebratory summer for our family, with this event occurring just a few months after her sister’s graduation with an elementary education degree. I’m proud of these two and excited for their new careers, Kaylee with her first classroom of energetic fourth graders and Kasey working the night shift on a neurology floor.
It’s rare to remember the remarks from a graduation address. I can’t recall who the speaker was at my own graduation. But last Saturday a phrase stuck with me from the keynote. “If not me, then who?”
The speaker was Dr. Ernest J. Grant. He encouraged the new graduates to find a passion, an issue, and use their voices to advocate for change. He shared examples of how he had done this throughout his career, inspired initially to lead by example because he didn’t see anyone in leadership in his profession who looked like him. In his career he became a leading educator in the field of burns-related treatment and fire safety issues, was a nurse of the year winner and is currently the president of the American Nurses Association, the first man elected to the office.
I’ve thought about that phrase often in the past week. If not me, then who?
The Chamber is an organization that hopes to inspire its members to embrace that philosophy. If not you, then who will . . .
Run for office?
Be the coach, den leader or class party organizer?.
Chair the committee?
Mentor the new hire?
Share your opinion?
Start a business?
Make the community better?
Raise your hand?
I’m reminded of my friend Rick Worrel, who chaired the Chamber ten years ago. One of my favorite images of him is of him sitting in meetings with his hand raised. Contributing. Sharing. Questioning. Giving time. He was a mentor, an advocate, a leader. He fully lived the philosophy of if not him, then who would? We celebrate his memory with the Rick Worrel Community Legacy Award. Consider nominating a leader for this honor.
More importantly, be the example he left for us. Raise your hand. Do the work. If not you, then who?
Tracey Osborne Oltjen, CCE, IOM
President & CEO