How many of you wake up every morning with a big smile on your face and an immeasurable feeling of hope in your heart?
This has been my experience during my first year at United Way of Calgary and Area; and I have so many of you who are reading this to thank for this smile and this hope.
The past year has given me an opportunity to learn so much about United Way, our city and its people. Since joining United Way in March of 2012 I have had to learn the same way one goes about learning a new language: immersion! As a CEO, you don’t have the luxury of wading in; you come into your role expected and expecting to do the job.
Some of the highlights of my first month at United Way include my first five speaking events, including my first President’s Breakfast, where I spoke to 100 of United Way’s Major Donors. Other highlights included my first meetings with the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative and the Calgary Homeless Foundation, as well as planning my first United Way AGM, which was only weeks away. I attended a luncheon with our Premier, baby showers for United Way staff members, post-campaign analysis and feedback sessions, introduction meetings with agencies and corporate Calgary, as well as many critical meetings with Board members and new colleagues.
The year 2013 began as a whirlwind marked by United Way’s recognition as one of Alberta’s Top 60 Employers, and a record campaign achievement. Most importantly though, my first year has been about discovering the relationships, passion, commitment, work ethic, enthusiasm, and vision for our city that is shared amongst everyone involved in the work United Way is privileged to lead.
I have seen some of the most successful men and women in corporate Calgary wipe tears from their faces as they speak about what being involved with the work of United Way has meant to them and their organization. I have felt the hope and pride of staff in our supported agencies who show up to work every day determined to change the world for as many people as they can. I have watched in awe as thousands of United Way volunteers worked to bring their neighbours and friends together to donate $55.2 million to help Calgarians connect to the opportunities they need to participate in our city.
I have gotten to know extraordinary community leaders who selflessly volunteer their time to serve on our Board. I have sat with government leaders who are sincere in their efforts to support our mission because they believe we need a “United” approach to move our province forward.
To all of you, thank you for what you have brought to my life. I am so proud to lead United Way.
—Dr. Lucy Miller is President and CEO of United Way of Calgary and Area
What were your favourite moments from the past year? Share them in the comments below.