My first month or so as president and CEO of CHHSM has been quite a ride, filled with meeting new friends, learning new systems, and understanding the deep impact the members of CHHSM are making in each of their communities. Understanding that relationships are the foundation upon which our work is built, I have spent much of my time reaching out to members, church leaders, partners, and friends of CHHSM to start building those relationships that will carry our work forward. I am grateful for the extravagant welcome everyone has shown me, and the openness with which all have shared of their time, talents, and experiences as I start this journey with you.
The staff and I have also begun the process of defining CHHSM’s path as we emerge from the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, earlier this month we spent two full days together on retreat, discussing the core values of CHHSM, evaluating what’s working, and examining where we can serve in new, intentional ways. We shared in team building exercises that deepened our relationships with one another and toured the historic Pilgrim Congregational UCC in Cleveland, strategizing ways to more deeply connect our UCC congregations.
As the retreat drew to a close, we discussed ways CHHSM can remain keenly focused on our mission while leveraging our partnerships to meet the increasing needs that have emerged over the past few years. This is not a challenge unique to CHHSM’s staff. Many of the members I’ve had the pleasure to meet in this short time have expressed a similar struggle, how to stay true to mission while confronting new challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The all too familiar “do more with less.” It then occurred to me that it is in this moment that CHHSM’s value becomes so important and apparent.
Our membership represents a powerful network of service-driven organizations and thought leadership. We are indeed stronger together and, to that end, I invite our members and partners to take advantage of the network of expertise the CHHSM membership represents. Through our affinity groups, leadership development opportunities, online resources, and both virtual and in-person events, CHHSM brings together strong leaders in a variety of sectors; and it’s my hope that, during these challenging times, the CHHSM network serves as a resource to all.
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