NEW YEAR, NEW OPPORTUNITIES
As we celebrate the start of another year, many of us find ourselves making New Year’s resolutions. Eating healthier, exercising more, or getting more rest are often a few common commitments that we make to ourselves. In addition to setting personal goals, as professionals in philanthropy, we also find opportunities to set career goals. It is a natural time for a fresh start and persistence in meeting our personal goals that we may have fallen short on the past year.
Don Wood was a man who believed in persistence toward his goals. As a lifelong salesperson and entrepreneur, he understood the importance of tenacity. With each new year, I imagine he set new goals for himself and his company.
As the new year is underway, the team at the Don Wood Foundation persists in setting goals to continue partnering with community organizations and educators that help us bolster advanced manufacturing, sales, leadership, and entrepreneurism in the region. Our Board of Trustees presses ahead with completing an updated strategic plan, setting the course for the foundation’s future endeavors. Foundation leadership has also spent time examining the philanthropic intent behind Don Wood’s creation of the foundation to ensure we are carrying out his philanthropic investment legacy. As the organizational plan draws closer to completion, the staff will then work together to create goals and action plans to implement the vision of our board, all while keeping in mind Don Wood’s donor intent. The Board and staff are entrusted with setting these goals to position us for organizational success. It is a tremendous responsibility and one we take seriously with utmost humility in recognizing we will be setting goals that have continued community impact with our grantmaking partners and scholarship recipients in Don’s memory. Here’s to the new year full of new opportunities!
Laura M. Macknick
President & CEO
Don shared many beliefs, sayings, philosophies, and life experiences with those around him. He was a constant learner and, therefore, a continuous teacher. He believed that knowledge and know-how were one of the keys to success and that the world was moving quickly from relying on just working harder to focusing on working smarter. He was a man of action and could be counted on to not only talk the talk but walk the walk. After meeting with Don, you always felt like you were leaving the table, feeling that you had “left with more than you brought.”
As we all come together to celebrate the holidays and the coming of the New Year, how will you leave your mark? Will you listen to your friends and family and strive to put aside whatever small slights have come between you and them in the past? Are you going to ask questions and try to learn something new about each person you come in contact with, even if you have known them for decades? In this season of giving and spreading joy, will you commit to leaving more than what you brought to each of your gatherings? Happy holidays to you and yours from all of us at the Don Wood Foundation.
The Don Wood Foundation is driven to create impact in the areas we fund. To do this, we rely on our grantees to develop effective programs that succeed and sometimes exceed in meeting their results. Put another way, our community impact is borrowed from grantees’ success in achieving their outcomes.
As we slow down and reflect on the year, we cannot help but be grateful for the relationships we’ve built with our partners and all they’ve accomplished through their programs. The work is demanding, time-consuming, and, quite frankly, challenging, but it is crucial to building and strengthening our community. We are both humbled and proud.
We know the considerable time and diligence that go into creating specific programming goals. We often ask ourselves, who will this impact? Will the effect be short-term or long-term? How will this influence our local community and beyond? How do we measure that success? Are the outcomes predictive of the future, leading indicators, or are they a measure of what has happened, lagging indicators? These critical questions set the course for success and help us evaluate our investments in specific programs.
While the process can be time-consuming and, for some, the long-term outcomes not realized for years to come, this season, we celebrate and share in all the success you have achieved this year. All your arduous work and dedication, working to improve lives, inspire passion, make dreams a reality, and build our community by serving the needs of your program’s clients.
We are proud to have partners who support our vision, mission, and community impact envisioned by Don Wood when he started this foundation. When you succeed in achieving your outcomes, we succeed. Together we are better and more robust, and the impact reaches farther. So, this season, we are incredibly thankful!
Think about how you felt when you completed a training course, finished your college degree, or ended a large project at work or home. Did you feel a significant sense of accomplishment? Did you reflect on the success and challenges you faced on the journey? Or maybe you thought it was done and would never have to think about it again.
Perhaps a better course of action is challenging yourself to think differently because lifelong learning should be a never-ending process. Sure, take a moment to appreciate your accomplishment, then consider how that energy you feel will keep you motivated to learn additional skills. These new skills can help boost productivity, foster creativity, and help others notice that you are an essential part of the team. It also enables you to understand how the world works, leading to a more fulfilling life and job.
Our professional careers are advancing at an ever-increasing pace, with the one constant being change. A driving passion for lifelong learning can keep us relevant and more valuable at work, put us on the top of the list for career advancement opportunities, and help insulate us against downsizing and layoffs. So, when the opportunity arises to participate in training programs, online courses, workshops, or seminars, be the first in line.