Friday, July 14, 2006


I’ve been going through and cleaning out the old "Central Information System," DCVB’s first "filing system." It has been both rewarding and very hard on my allergies. We’ve come a long way, and fortunately we have all of our history intact.

I’ve been a Chief Executive Officer for 30 years, in three organizations (granted, the first stint was an organization of 5 people and about $150,000 budget), and more than half, 17 years, have now been at the Durham CVB. Looking back, the position is definitely not for everyone. I’m fortunate that it suited my abilities and preferences, but there are several other jobs in destination marketing where I think I could be successful and just as fulfilled.

Time flies. I was 27 or 28 when I took over that first organization (after working my way up over a five-year period), just turned 30 as I took over the second organization, and less than a year past my 40th birthday when I came to Durham. I still feel like I’m in my 20s. I wake up every morning with the same drive and passion for this work as the day I started.

But when I talk about movies, music, trends, or use certain buzz words, it’s quickly clear that I’m working with people much, much younger. They humor me. They inspire me. They seem much better prepared and more mature and wise than I was at the same age.

What’s clear in these files, though (as we determine what to scan or place in hard copy archives), is how clear Durham’s challenges were right from the beginning... how far we’ve come but also how incredibly strategic and long-term it is to execute significant change. It deepens my sense of urgency all the more.

I envy younger people who work here. I wish I had worked in an organization like DCVB from the beginning. The intensity, the fun, the creativity, the sense of accomplishing good things for a good cause, the opportunity to change and improve and innovate…. They will always remember this time and the people.

I’m reminded of this blessing every day and not for a second do I take it for granted.

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