I’m about to do something I’ve never done—something I’ve committed to doing for personal, professional, and philosophical reasons. Next month, after 16 nonstop years at the helm of the Future Foundation, I embark on a three-month sabbatical.
What am I going to do during this time away? Relax, Reflect, and Recharge. Recharge so I can work as hard as I have, and as smart as I can, for the Future Foundation.
Why am I doing it?
On the personal side, of the 16 years, I’ve spent at the Future Foundation, the last three have been the most intense. We launched an aggressive strategy, along with a research study designed to transform our organization, our schools, and our community. I’m gratified by the results. I am proud of the shared commitment our board of directors, partners, and the entire Future Foundation team have co-created in the spirit of executing a collaborative strategy. Yet, our goals are big and the race as a leader is a commitment I want to sustain. Also, after being so deeply entrenched in the organization, I need to step back so I can come back and see it in a new light, to assess how effective we’re being, what’s working, and what can be improved.
Professionally, my sabbatical is an innovative opportunity for another leader with experience in the worlds of business, government, nonprofit and education, to come in, review our strategy from a different point of view, work with our senior team to assess key areas such as succession readiness, and provide insights on updating our strategic plan. The Future Foundation will benefit from the perspective of a different leader for a short period of time while becoming more agile and sustainable.
Finally, on a philosophical level, I firmly believe that as leaders look toward solving big world problems, they need to be confident enough to step away, and come back rejuvenated, with a new vision to tackle those issues. As a grass-roots activist and a leader of color, I have felt the temptation to work nonstop, twice as hard and as long as others. But that is a recipe for burn out and not being your best.
I remain thankful for my incredible Board and Advisory Board members who have fully supported this sabbatical and in turn, my leadership at the Future Foundation. Planned opportunities to recharge are the human equivalent of turning off your laptop, then turning it back on—a reboot that enables an upgraded operating system. And I am ready for my upgrade!
Until I return on January 6, 2020, I am leaving the Future Foundation in good hands with our wonderful and dedicated staff members. Stay tuned for more information on our interim Chief Executive Officer and what we’ve learned during this process! I’m looking forward to my time off. But I’m even more excited to return to see this incredible organization with fresh eyes and guide it with new ideas.