Executive Director Jack Hankes Announces Retirement
By now many of our readers know that I will be retiring from Green Valley in 2015, probably sometime in the second quarter once the Board has hired a new Executive Director. Because this may be my last newsletter contribution, I will exercise a bit broader license than usual in my remarks.
First, about the Valley. It has a remarkable mission, an enduring one, and one that offers plenty of something that too many workplaces don’t: Purpose. While it is clear that we spend some of our time wrestling business matters, we never forget why we do those things, and the reason we don’t forget is that we are reminded every day by the wonderful folks in our care how much we mean to them, and how much they mean to us. Working in an environment like that is a gift.
That said, the environment is changing a bit. Last summer we were sidetracked with some seemingly dire news from Washington and Madison about what was going to happen to agencies like Green Valley, and in turn the people and families who rely on them. As is often the case, the passage of time can soothe the rough edges of that message. We know now that while change will certainly happen in coming years it may not be quite as drastic as we had originally thought. To be sure, we will continue to grow our community-based activities in the next 3-4 years, but the latest news is that the Valley-based prevocational program will continue to operate for the foreseeable future.
This is where a healthy perspective is important. I am blessed to have a wife who is considerably wiser than me, and she told me something about 25 years ago that stuck, saying simply “Worry about the stuff you can control, and let the rest just happen.” Sage advice. Other than casting your vote and encouraging those with similar interests to do likewise, there is little one can do to directly control what policymakers will do. Their interests and ours aren’t always well aligned, so we tell them what we think and then worry about other things (if we need to worry at all).
Things will be different over time to be sure, but we’ll all be OK. Green Valley is full of creative and energetic employees, and it has a dynamic leadership team focused on its mission and the clarity of purpose I mentioned earlier. They will figure out where we need to go, and move on. This might be the only column in my life where I intentionally exhibit some of my attention deficit disorder, and it’s kind of liberating. I’d like to end this epistle by offering some random nuggets of wisdom that can make life better (I doubt that these original):
- Mirrors are useful when attempting to place blame.
- Being out front is risky, but it's also a lot more fun.
- If you and another are chased by a hungry lion, run faster than the other guy.
- Listening to a talented cellist beats ibuprofen every time.
Finally, thank you. Leading the Valley for the past six years has summoned my full range of emotions at one time or another, but I will leave here in a couple of months a much better and more insightful person. The Valley did much more for me than I for it, and I am thankful for that circumstance. I wish each and every one of our clients, families, and employees all the best in the years to come.
— Jack Hankes, Executive Director