Change is in the air. Change is neutral. It can be good or bad or anywhere in between. It can be planned, discovered, or fallen into. This change is bittersweet. Our wonderful Executive Director, Mary Odom, CAE is leaving the International Trade Council of Greater Kansas City (ITC), and her last day is April 15, 2023. Also, I'd like to introduce you to ITC's new Executive Director, Heidi Stevens, and her first day with ITC was March 15, 2023. Yes, it all happened fast, so let me go back and explain.
Throughout the second half of 2022, Mary was seeking counsel from her doctors for some new health challenges she was experiencing. It took a lot of visits, tests, and discussions. By the time 2022 was completed, answers were found. The diagnosis was ALS, which is a terminal diagnosis which can go as quickly as a few months or could last a few years. In January, Mary shared her devastating news with ITC's executive group and the board. The plan, at that point, was to continue working together as long as Mary's health allowed. A short time later, Mary's doctor advised her that it was time to begin scaling back on her activities to focus on her health. Naturally, Mary took her doctor's recommendation and submitted her resignation letter to ITC. None of this has been easy. All of the feelings and fears you can imagine are very real and raw. In my eyes, Mary has faced these circumstances with an incredible amount of courage. Her courage comes from her faith in Jesus.
Before February was completed, the executive team brushed off the job description to begin a search. Before the job was posted or advertised, we received a referral. We acted quickly to interview Heidi Stevens. We gave it some time for thought and further discussion, and then extended an offer.
Heidi comes to us from extensive work experience in the pharmaceutical industry managing a large, regional sales team. After a strong season with this team and company, the company made some structural changes. Heidi found herself at the crossroads of these changes, and she chose Option 3 to be a homemaker and mother for her children. When she was ready to join the workforce again, one of her highest priorities was to find work she could be passionate about. How does one find a job that feels like you're truly giving back to the community and finding personal fulfillment while also retaining balance and flexibility for your family? This can be a tough needle to thread, but it's a balance that fits ITC well.
I honestly don't know if you'll get a chance to see Mary between now and April 15th. I know this community loves her and has many kind words to share. Please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. For your first opportunity to meet Heidi, please join us for our Slam Dunk Joint Networking Event (ITCGKC & MADEC) on March 30th to welcome her to the team. Keep an eye out for future event opportunities as well.
Thank you to all of you in our ITC community who represent our amazing city and region, globally. All the best to you as life carries on in each of our busy environments. Yes, life can be full of surprises, and for some, life can be shorter than we'd prefer. We don't know, yet, how Mary's story will end, but we do know her story is not over. Have courage! Take heart! Stay connected!
President Joe Lohman