Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. - St. Francis of Assisi
This morning, I am humbled and honored to be standing here as your president. I give thanks to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for without His love and grace, I wouldn’t be here. I have some very special people in my life who have helped make my seemingly impossible dream become reality. My husband, Ian, the love of my life and the sunshine in my day; my amazing Kansas Clerk family who wouldn’t let me give up on giving back and who absolutely ROCK; my Region 7 Clerk family; the best City Administrator in the world, Mike Brungardt, who told me to “go for it!” when I asked him about running for IIMC VP; Mayor Rick Walker and Council President Lori Murdock who have been unwavering in their support and encouragement of me since they became governing body members several years ago; my best friend and champion since childhood, Debbie Maniez; and a very special blessing is my pastor, Rev. Richard Copeland and his wife, Mary Etta, who have been instrumental in every major event in my life for the past 52 years, and have shown love and kindness through dedicated service in my community; my City Attorney, Patrick Reavey, who takes minutes for meetings in my absence; and De Soto employees. Many thanks to my beloved Circle of Twelve who keep me equipped and strengthened and the treasured CFC Warriors who continue to bestow blessings for many, especially me.
When I began my career as a City Clerk on June 15, 1998, I honestly didn’t know what all the duties of a City Clerk entailed. I walked into City Hall knowing I was on my own in learning the duties of my position. I reached out to my surrounding cities and found several experienced Clerks who took me under their wings and made sure I was on the right path. When I started my first year of Institute through Wichita State University’s Hugo Wall School, I was the shortest ‘length of time in office’ as well as the oldest Clerk in my class. So much so, by the end of the first day my fellow classmates were calling me ‘Clerk Mom’, a name I hear daily from some of you and one I will treasure forever. You continue to inspire and motivate me to give my best.
This morning, each one of you who has cheered me on through my 21-year career have made an impact on my life. Maybe you took time to visit with me or gave me a nod or a smile as you walked by; or maybe you asked me to sit at your table during a discussion, and we may have exchanged pins.
You, each one of you, made a difference in my life. Tom Roberts, our former IIMC president was one of those outstanding Kansas Clerks who made a huge impact on my Clerk career and took the time to be the one to help me understand “Clerkdom.” Then, Tom tag teamed me with another former IIMC president, Mary Lynne Stratta. She was the one who assured me I could become a knowledgeable Clerk by volunteering to get involved in IIMC and serving on committees. She has given me many hours of her time as well as her love to ensure I would become a knowledgeable and educated Municipal Clerk. Both of them convinced me I needed to invest in IIMC.
Here I am today being sworn in as your 61st IIMC president and the third IIMC president from Kansas. C.S. Lewis once said, “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” Many of you stepped up and stepped out to help me learn and become the Clerk I am today. I am forever in your debt. One word, one smile, one act of kindness by one person makes a difference to the person receiving it. I have been that one Clerk on the receiving end and I’m proof that one Clerk, or two in my case, made a powerful impact in my career and in my life because they cared enough to reach out and ensure I was encouraged, and I am now able to give back.
The future of IIMC depends on each one of us reaching out, encouraging someone, and showing kindness by understanding one’s uniqueness, embracing one’s diversity, learning from one another, nurturing the new ones, and being the one Clerk to make a difference. This is how each one of us leaves a legacy. The majority of people in this world aren’t interested in what we do for a living every day. They are interested in what we have to offer — encouragement, hope, strength, love and the ability to make a difference.
Have you noticed a recurring theme or a recurring word thus far? It is the power of one. It all starts with one — one smile, one helping hand, one hug. Each one of us has so much we can give, yet sometimes our daily lives get too busy for us to notice that one person who would benefit greatly from one act of kindness or one opportunity to try. It is up to each one of us to create what significance resides within our personal dash in this life.
There is only one short dash between the year we begin life and the year we end it. Therein resides the power of one. One encounter can make all the difference in the world to someone our fingerprints have touched during our one dash through life. Will our legacy be one that makes a difference? I truly hope so. You may be only one but look around this room at all of the ones. There are many ones in this room who can create a driving force to make a difference. Have the courage to be the one to make that difference.
My challenge for each of us this year is to be the power of one! IIMC has been the one Organization in my entire working career that I wanted to jump in and give back to. And, it all started with one Clerk, and then one more Clerk, who turned into an entire Organization which helped me achieve where I am standing before you today. Words aren’t enough to tell you how my heart feels about this unique power of one Organization of dedicated, outstanding leaders. My Kansas Clerk family truly took the power of one exponentially to ensure they did all they could to help me achieve this dream.
Please accept my challenge to be the one to reach out and make a difference to at least one person or one hundred people during this next year. As a Clerk in your community, you have the opportunity to share love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control. In your daily leadership, you may well encourage the future president of IIMC. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
Let’s make our one dash through life count by leaving a legacy of goodwill and encouragement for the ones our fingerprints touch. Your one act of kindness scatters
seeds in all directions. Be the one!