As I write this, I’m sitting in a dorm at West Virginia Wesleyan College half-way through my first summer residency of the MFA in Creative Writing Program. So, you might think writing this message would be easy. It’s not.
With this life switch from serving as FCIA’s Executive Director to hopeful novelist, competing feelings surface: Sadness that I’ll no longer be working so closely with you to advance the fine chocolate industry. Pride in what we’ve accomplished these past four years. Gratitude for the friendships and the deep knowledge I’ve gained. Excitement in seeing the new contacts and ideas that our new Executive Director Bill Guyton brings to the table.
But, milestone birthdays remind us of dreams deferred, and so many of you have modeled stepping into those dreams with courage. So, here I am, saying goodbye to one part of my life and hello to another.
These four years with FCIA have been some of the most satisfying and productive years of my professional life. I want to thank FCIA President Clark Guittard and our supportive Board of Directors for greenlighting so many new projects, like full-day Elevate Chocolate events, the two-year long consumer perception research, the mentoring program, the regional meet-ups and the webinar series. And, I want to thank all of you members who embraced this growth and expansion.
I also want to send a special thank you to former FCIA President Pam Williams for bringing me into the fold and nurturing me my first years.
And, last but not least, a big thank you to FCIA Member Services Manager Jennifer Wicks – you are a steadying force and FCIA is so very fortunate to have you on the team (and a great chocolate maker!).
I’ll be staying on through December in a much-reduced role as Senior Advisor to help nurture some of our newer projects along.
But, as I step down from my role as Executive Director, I wish FCIA and all Members and Friends the best. I hope to see you all at future events and please feel free to contact me.