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Letter to the Editor: Saying farewell to Leadership Springfield

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Dear editor,

I have just wrapped up seven years of service on Leadership Springfield’s board of directors, and on behalf of the board and staff I want to thank the Springfield community for its strong support of our mission to inspire, develop, connect and serve emerging leaders and established executives.

With nearly 100 applications for the Signature classes, a strong Academy Class, and the success of the new Access Class, demand for LS programs are higher than at any time in the organization’s 35-year history. That’s the story you know. What you likely don’t know about is the work our staff and board members have done to completely reshape the organization: implementing the Great Game for Social Sectors, making financial reporting far more sophisticated and insightful, boosting sponsor engagement, landing grant opportunities and leading community conversations. Due to higher demand from so many extremely qualified and diverse applicants, we’ve steadily increased the size of the two Signature classes to 42 people each. As we enter this third year as a fully independent nonprofit organization, LS has decided to meet the moment and invest more in efforts related to inclusive excellence and increasing access to programs.

Here’s another number you’re likely not aware of: 9,137. That’s the number of hours invested by leaders in our community over the last year alone thanks to LS. This is the “critical number” for our mission, in Great Game terms. In other words, it’s one of two healthy bottom lines for the organization right now, along with the financial position.

I’m excited to see where the organization goes in its next 35 years and grateful for the opportunity I had to grow along with it while serving on the board. I’ve learned a lot about embracing change. Change is never easy, especially the kind that’s forced upon us. The COVID-19 pandemic is giving all of us a lesson in that right now. But the other kind – the change we make for ourselves – can be transformative, if only we take advantage of the opportunity to make it.

-Mike Brothers, executive director of university relations at Drury University and past board president of Leadership Springfield

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