I have wrapped up my time as the Director of the Center for Collaborative Leadership at UMass Boston. I’ve run this center for the past dozen years, the longest single role I’ve held in my career and one of the most fulfilling. While I am very proud of the work I have done and of the strength of the Center I am leaving to the next director, this blog is about beginning to sort through all of the endings.

As William Bridges talks about in his book, Transitions, we need to acknowledge endings. To sit with them and grieve them, so that we may freely and fully look forward to new beginnings.

What are some of the endings I am sitting with?

  • My title — I have taken great pride in being the Director of the Center. I have enjoyed the access that my role has given me to create partnerships, friendships, and community.
  • Routine — I have spent the past four decades working for someone else. This means that, to a certain extent, my schedule and what is expected of me have been driven by organizational norms.
  • Security — Since my teenage years, I have always held traditional roles. My family imparted to me the value of working for a stable organization and the importance of having a steady paycheck. I carried this ingrained belief with me throughout my career. Now, as I prepare to step out on my own, I am learning to embrace the reality that with this comes less stability and more volatility in our income.
  • Camaraderie — I have always been part of a team, whether running a large function, engaging with a board, or working with a small group of co-workers. I have drawn a certain sense of belonging from this ecosystem.
  • Slaying the dragon — In one way or another, my career has been about coming in to identify the crisis that is impeding progress, create a compelling vision, and put in place systems, processes, and structures, which will position the team for victory.

In the coming days, I will continue to sit with each of these endings — to appreciate the joy and satisfaction they have brought, and to acknowledge the stress and suffering they have caused. In creating this balanced, more objective assessment of each of these endings, I can bring this chapter to a close and begin writing the next, understanding which pieces I choose to carry forward and which have served their useful purpose.