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Skagit Valley Hospital




My one-year-old has a tummy ache, or at least he did in the middle of last night. After an hour of cooperative efforts to quell his angst and crying, I decided to spare my wife some of the noise and walk around with him for a bit.

With lights dimmed, we walked from room to room around our house. The amber glow of the lights in an otherwise dark room clearly sparked a certain wonder in his eyes as he perked up out of his semi-conscious state and began a constant stream of baby chatter while his eyes moved from light to light.

As we settled on the living room sofa, I became fascinated in his amazement. He was visibly processing new information, discovering lights that have always been there, but are now seen in a new and different way. I know those young eyes will be discovering new and amazing things for many more years and indeed I hope it never ends.

My time at The Collins Group has given me far more than what is expected from a job: it’s provided me a constant stream of personal amazement and inspiration. During my tenure, I’ve had the opportunity to sit around the table with or stand before dedicated nonprofit leaders, selfless volunteers, and some of the smartest, kindest, and best-looking colleagues one could ever hope for.

As I prepare to move on to lead the Bainbridge Community Foundation, I can think of a number of lessons that I’ve learned from the amazing people who have surrounded me. I will carry them forever in my personal and professional life and offer them here for your own consideration. (It should be pointed out that Stuart Grover, chairman emeritus of The Collins Group, is celebrated for his ability to summarize broad and complex concepts into three easy points. I have five. I guess I still have more learning to do.)

In no particular order (in fact, if I could present them in a circle, I would):

  • Be honest: Honesty is the root of good communication and communication is the foundation of understanding
  • Be brave: Leadership is the single greatest asset of success and to be a leader means stepping out of your comfort zone. I credit my clients for showing me this (you know who you are)
  • Foster innovation: Fostering innovation and creativity encourages us to challenge old concepts, deconstruct them, and build new strategies with a much deeper understanding of how it can be successful.
  • Laugh: You know it’s important, so do it more often, eh? It is a magic cure for the blues, a great reliever of stress and perhaps the strongest thread in our social fabric
  • Help others (to do the above): Humans are social animals. We’re not built for going it alone. We owe it to each other to help one another out.

So, thank you all so very much – to my clients who have all become friends, to my colleagues who always have been, and to those of you who I haven’t met but will no doubt learn something from in the future. Thanks also on behalf of my little one-year-old who is fascinated by an evolving world around him, made better, by you.


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Collins Team

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