My Mother has always loved this week. Certainly, she is partial to Christmas. A gathering of family for a religious celebration is a wonderful occasion, and my parents do an admirable job of keeping this season sacred. Their home never feels more like home than this week.
But she has always loved this week for another reason as well. Finally, we have arrived at the Winter Solstice, the point in the year with the longest night. For Mom, this is a big deal, because it means that every day for the next six months will have a little more daylight. She likes daylight. Basically, this solstice is her hump day for the year.
Last week, I got to celebrate the Winter Solstice in another form. Every year, Southface hosts a Summer and a Winter Solstice party, a chance for its members to gather and enjoy the company of friends. They always do a great job of it, and most of the credit for that goes to the amazing staff.
For those who are not familiar with Southface, it is an Atlanta-based and southeastern-focused nonprofit that has promoted sustainable homes, workplaces and communities since its founding in 1978. Their many programs include green building trainings, EarthCraft and other building certifications, and helping governments develop effective energy policies. They are a best-in-class nonprofit, and I am honored to serve on the Board of Directors.
From its very beginning, Southface has been under the steady and remarkable leadership of its co-founder and executive director, Dennis Creech. I am privileged to count Dennis as a friend, and I have learned from him what effective leadership looks like. If you don’t know Dennis, you are missing out.
During last week’s Winter Solstice party, Dennis publicly announced his plan to transition out of his position at Southface. I’ve known about this for some time now as I am on the Search Committee for his replacement, and I know that Dennis has given an immense amount of forethought to this decision. Dennis is insistent that he is not retiring, but instead giving himself the chance to explore new opportunities for the first time in 38 years. I also know that Dennis is leaving Southface well-poised to succeed under its new leadership.
Dennis will stay on until his successor is named in 2016, and he plans to remain engaged as a member of the organization after the transition. Still, even knowing that he won’t be far removed from the Southface family, I wanted to use this opportunity to applaud Dennis.
Dennis, I offer you my heartfelt gratitude for what you have offered me as teacher and friend. Atlanta is my home, and it is a better place as a result of your tireless efforts. I know that I am just one of many who cannot wait to see all the new and amazing things that you will go on to accomplish. Cheers my friend!