It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, the holiday classic by Broadway songwriter Meredith Willson, uses the sights and sounds of the holidays to create anticipation for things to come. We at HI-USA can view all of our activity leading up to this coming New Year also with expectancy.
Building a new organization is seldom easy, especially when there are 27 separate parts to first assemble. In HI-USA’s case, the components were our councils and the national office, and with the end of 2013, their unification is nearly complete. The feat relied on the generosity and commitment of dozens of key volunteers and staff nationwide to accomplish it, and to engineer it required the know-how and resolve for navigating 15 different sets of state laws and dozens of lenders. With the New Year our now-unfettered talent and resources can be focused on creating a bright future, rather than tackling history.
Over the past two years HI-USA central office functions have more than doubled in scope, requiring higher capacity internal systems to replace the obsolescent ones. Our administrative staff displayed persistence and agility as they implemented new processes while juggling the old. And during the transition, our operating staff showed wide understanding and patience, deepening their own commitment to organizational success. In the New Year our mission delivery will begin to benefit from the attention previously focused on implementing unification priorities.
“Unification” is a term with a decidedly nonprofit connotation (compared to “merger” or “consolidation”). Yet our nonprofit character is defined by more than our terminology and our mission. It’s also about our governance.
With the decision to unify in June 2011, a Transition Board of Directors was elected to govern during the changeover. Since then, the Board has tirelessly worked both to oversee unification and to build a solid governance foundation for the new HI-USA … setting new direction, updating policies and amending bylaws. With its work complete in the New Year, this noteworthy Transition Board will step down, and a Successor Board of Directors will be seated to govern the fully-unified organization.
While there are many popular holiday songs, few seem to relate to New Year’s. And the most notable one, Auld Lang Syne, is also sung at funerals, graduations and as a farewell for other occasions. HI-USA is singing a different sort of tune, one that looks ahead with anticipation.
Especially to all those who helped us get to this energizing place, Happy New Year!