As I write to you for the last time, I find it fitting that this issue of THE CROSSCUT includes Champ’s address from this year’s Arbor Day celebrations. When I look back over the 16 years that I have served as your Executive Director, and only staff for MFA, I see many parallels in my experience and that of a tree.
As a graduate forester (SUNY ESF ‘81), I remember enough from my silvics and silviculture courses to know that there is much more to a healthy tree and forest than just the planting ~ there is also the site selection, site prep, nurturing, pruning, thinning, harvest and succession. The natural world is filled with cycles that begin over and over again. Each of these have their counterparts in the world of association management.
To sum up in just a few words what these years have meant to me is challenging. As a former teacher I can state that in many ways I’ve learned much more than I’ve taught. I appreciate the many within MFA and associated groups that mentored me at various stages as my position with MFA evolved from an administrative assistant to that of Executive Director. I thank the leadership and membership for their patience and encouragement as we’ve learned together along the way.
MFA is a very diverse organization and the additional challenges which that creates can also strengthen it. Through my recent time at the gym I’ve learned first-hand the adage “no pain ~ no gain”. Change generally is difficult and maybe even painful, but growth won’t happen without it.
My decision to resign was not an easy one, but one whose time had come. As I reflect on the time that has passed since the unexpected death of our oldest son last spring, I know that there are other paths of service that God wants me to explore. He’s been pruning me and training me up for a new purpose. I want to be able to give that, whatever it may be, my full attention and energy.
I also wanted to be sure that there was a successful “succession” as I left. I believe Jessika brings with her exactly the skills, talents and enthusiasm that MFA needs as it moves beyond celebrating its 35th year of service to the Maryland forest community. As she and I complete the transition this week, I trust that you will give her your full support as she assists MFA’s leadership in the coming months.
May God be with You ‘til we meet again.
Karin E. Miller , MFA Executive Director
January 1995 to May 2011