A Farewell from Outgoing CEO Kathleen Enright

  • By Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, December 19, 2018

To the cherished members of the GEO community,

Working alongside many of you to build the GEO community has been the opportunity of a life time. Hundreds of incredibly caring, intelligent people commit energy to volunteer service with GEO each year. You review publications and make them better, you structure conferences that others clamor to attend, and you steward this organization to a healthy vibrant place as board members. You are what makes our community strong and growing even stronger with time.

During our work together, I have learned a great deal from you. You’ve been so generous in sharing what you are struggling with as well as what you are learning. You’ve continuously shaped and championed GEO’s change agenda and I am enormously proud of how we’ve moved the field forward.

The special nature of the GEO community was on full display at a recent planning committee meeting for our 2019 Learning Conference. This group of colleagues from across the country exemplified a spirit of comradery and collective service from the outset. They embraced the hard work and hours of preparation characteristic to GEO committee service. At the meeting, there was plenty of laughter (and some dancing) as well as a clear sense of responsibility for curating the kind of conference that GEO members want to attend and that moves GEO’s mission and the field forward.

The care you show for each other is something else that makes this community special. In peer learning gatherings, committees and the board, deep friendships are formed and participants frequently extend support to colleagues who are struggling. On a personal note, so many of you enquire about my daughter Grace when we are together. She made a cameo on the big screen at the 2012 conference in Seattle, an event that I missed because of her birth. Such expressions of personal caring and support are GEO magic.

As I write this final note to you, GEO is gearing up to execute on the second year of our strategy and thriving as an organization and as a community. We’re programmatically strong, financially healthy, and trusted by members and partners. Our staff is very capable, our senior leaders are talented and committed and the board, high-functioning and dedicated to equity.

Together we support the strongest possible nonprofit and philanthropic sectors in service of creating a more equitable world. I’m proud of the role that the GEO community has played so far and convinced of the powerful contributions GEO will continue to make in the decades to come.

I look forward to remaining a partner, collaborator, friend and to becoming a GEO member as I lead the Council on Foundations. The GEO staff, board and community will always be in my heart. The past 17 years have been a labor of love. I look forward to continuing the relationships that we have nurtured for many years to come. Thank you for your ongoing friendship and support!

With deepest gratitude,
Kathleen Enright