Last Observer Article as President

Every good thing must come to an end, and my term as President of the Society of Exchange Counselors is no exception. So, I write my last President’s Message with both relief and, to some extent, a feeling of loss. My relief is two-fold.

First, I am thankful that this year was somewhat uneventful (no significant challenges occurred), our Society is in good financial shape, and I hope that I made it through my year without really hacking off too many people. The second feeling of relief is that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. After my stint as President of EDF in 2008, I can return to my business at the S.E.C. Meetings.

I have been told by several of my predecessors that this feeling of loss is normal.After being involved in almost every aspect of the S.E.C. business for four years, it is time for someone else to take over. I am confident that our newly elected Executive Committee, led by Steve Eustis, will manage the affairs of our organization even better than during my leadership.

And, last but not least, I will miss the frequent phone calls with Jackie, one of the most organized and certainly one of the most diplomatic persons I have ever known. I think Jackie deserves the title Head Cat Herder!

So let’s start with my last quotes as President.


Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
-Peter Drucker (1909-2005)

The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.
-Tony Blair (1953- )

What Drucker and Blair are both saying is that leaders have to have a backbone. Leaders have to be willing to tick off some of the people for the benefit of the rest of the group.


Always render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be.
-Og Mandino December 12, 1923 – September 3, 1996

Og Mandino was a “sales guru” and author of the bestselling book The Greatest Salesman in the World. Mandino’s message is simple: Be ready to give to the whole, even if it does not directly benefit you.


If we don’t change direction soon, we’ll end up where we’re going.
-Professor Irwin Corey (1914- ) American comic and film actor.

Professor Corey sounds somewhat like past president Phil Corso. One of Phil’s famous quotes was: If we don’t know where we are going we are bound to wind up someplace else. So Phil took it upon himself to take our Society and literally put it in a bottle, shake it till it broke and then put it back together again-in much better shape. There is no doubt in my mind why Phil was selected as Counselor of the Year the year he served as president. I don’t think he did much else than run the S.E.C. He definitely changed the direction of our organization. Phil gave 110 percent and more.


The great courses of God and humanity are not defeated by the hot assaults of the devil but by the slow, crushing, glacier-like action of thousands and thousands of indifferent no-bodies. God’s causes are never defeated by being blown up but by being sat upon.
Sir George Adam Smith, 1856-1942, From the book The Twelve Prophets

Please pardon the Biblical reference in this last quote but I think it states exactly what is wrong with many organizations-complacency. Complacency is not a huge issue with the Society today but it could very easily become one. Just take a look at our membership. Even though we are bringing on new members every year, we are getting older as a group and many of our members are individually becoming less active. Only about one half of our members are really active in the S.E.C.. Therefore, tasks like moderating, being Meeting Manager, serving on committees, serving on the board, etc. are even more important than ever.

There is one major difference with the S.E.C. as compared to many other organizations. Anyone who wants to be involved can do so. Take a look at Jim Brondino, Ted Blank, Mark Johnson, Ron Bowden and Larry Browning, all past presidents. These men are still involved in the day-to-day operations of the Society. All have recently served as Meeting Managers, committee members and moderators, some in every meeting. Paul F. Winger just agreed to give up much of his Sunday afternoons again to serve on the Board of Governors. Any of these men could say that they have done their part and someone else should take these jobs. And there are several other members who serve continuously.

So, as I turn over the reins of Exec to President Steve Eustis with First Vice President Tom Langel, Second Vice President Bill Richert and newly elected Exec member Chris Dischinger as Secretary Treasurer, I urge our membership to be ready to assist your Executive Committee and Board in any way you can. And don’t wait to be asked. Look for ways to move us even further forward than we are right now.

Good wishes for a holiday season. Thank you for allowing me to serve.

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