As years have passed, I have noticed my definition of “contemporary” has apparently expanded. I have taught banking classes for the Missouri Banker’s Association now for nearly 40 years. I will tell a story or make a quote to relate to the younger students, only to have them stare at me with puzzled faces, having no idea what I’m talking about. I say that as an introduction to a quote from Jack Handey’s “Deep Thoughts,” which to me came out last year instead of three decades ago:
When the age of the Vikings came to a close, they must have sensed it. Probably, they gathered together one evening, slapped each other on the back, and said, ‟Hey, good job.”
Some of you know by now that I have formally announced my retirement from CFO, and the search for the successor is underway. There is no single thing that has contributed to my decision, but certainly a major contributor was experience in seeing other leadership transitions. Timing is always tricky, but I’ve seen some leaders stay too long, and I am very sensitive to that. I do love coming to work every day, and working with such great colleagues, board members and communities across southern Missouri who help us advance our mission of improving the quality of life of all people in the region. I also know that work will continue passionately, and the Board of Directors will select the very best successor, who will hopefully be identified and able to join in November or December. The plan, then, is for me to be available to help with the transition for a few months afterward.
“If the creek don’t rise,” as we say in the Ozarks, I do plan on one more chapter professionally, but don’t yet know what that may be. As many know, I do love thoroughbred racing, so might explore being a jockey, considering I’m much too young to run for president now. I will have time to think about that, but plan on spending the next several months slapping folks on the back, and thanking them with: “Hey, good job.”
It is bittersweet, most certainly, to write this final Final Word. Most readers have noted that I love quotes, and there are so many I could use. But I’ll close with one paraphrased from a favorite poet, Ogden Nash:
Here lies my past, goodbye, I have kissed it. / Thank you, friends, I wouldn’t have missed it.
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Brian Fogle is the President and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks · This essay is featured in the summer 2023 edition of Passion & Purpose: The CFO Magazine.
Passion & Purpose: Summer 2023