June 15, 2017
United Way folks are a caring, active bunch
By Rob Lee
Last week I spent the day with the United Way of Charlotte County Board of Directors. I was impressed with this amazing group of talented, hardworking leaders — all vitally interested in making our community a better place to live.
One of the important reasons I agreed to join the board was the leadership of this local organization. Carrie Hussey is the executive director. She is a native of Charlotte County who has chosen to pour her heart and soul into ending poverty in our region.
Carrie and Julie Mathis, president of the United Way, are a force to be reckoned with. These ladies get stuff done!
The driving goal of the United Way is to eliminate poverty by investing in our community. You might be surprised to know the United Way is a local organization with 99 percent of the donations spent here in Charlotte County. Their administrative costs come in at 8.25 percent, which is among best of breed in the nonprofit world.
After just a few minutes I realized this UWCC Board of Directors is filled with caring, dynamic people who are having a positive impact on the world around them. These folks are busy! They run some of the largest businesses in the market and shepherd many of the nonprofits and groups that are making life better for folks in Charlotte County.
As I listened to the leadership share their stories and visions, I asked myself what makes these folks tick? What is it about them that makes them so remarkable? I thought I would share some of the leadership attributes I noticed over the course of the day.
Visions and Dreams: These leaders were able to communicate their dreams and goals very clearly. They are skilled at painting a picture of success. As I listened to the plans, I found myself believing and wanting to be a part of these programs and projects.
Drive and Energy: Many of the folks are well into their adult years, yet they were busy and full of life. Doing good work seems to create energy and enthusiasm in the hearts of people.
Giving and Receiving: I once heard a speaker talk about the “principle of flow.” Water that flows is fresher and more powerful. Compare the power of a river to a lake. If you don’t give you will become stagnate and sour over time. Maybe it was this principle of flow that created all of the energy I was enjoying over the course of the day.
Compassion: These leaders allow themselves to be vulnerable to others. They let down their defenses and reach out to help. I once heard it said that you can’t hug people with your arms crossed.
It was a humbling day for me as this group showed me what leadership should look like. The day was about giving to others, not receiving. About making a difference in the lives of people who need a hand up. We shared hopes and prayers for a better community, a community without poverty. Then we started making plans to put legs on those prayers.
Rob Lee is publisher of the Sun Newspapers. You can contact him at email@example.com.