Posted on Dec 16, 2014
President’s Perspective: Cathie Cushing Duff Cathie Cushing Duff with Gamma Forum at the CFBC 20th Gala

CFBC President 2006-2007

I am an English major (a LONG time ago) and write stuff every day.  There is a standing joke in the office that I can bang out 250 words while talking on the phone.  And yet, I have been trying to write this overview of my years as President of the FBC for a week and have thrown out every draft so I am going to take a less formal approach . . .

My year as President of the FBC followed three years on the Board that was my graduate education in communications and consensus building.  The Family Business Council was transitioning from an organization that was essentially intertwined with the College of Business to a membership driven organization with concise By-Laws and governance structure.  We had been charged with defining the role of Executive Director and directing a search for that individual to be hired through the University’s Human Resources wing.

We spent plenty of time meeting to gather information, discuss expectations and goals, and learn the ins and outs of the University hiring protocol.  A lot of it required patience and all of it required careful listening and communication skills.  But the BEST part of the whole process was the people I met and worked with and got to know well enough that I could pick up the phone today and call any one of them.  Jim Flanagan, Chris Lutz, Joe Krusinski and the late Dan Fensin were only a few, but a very special few.

The role of Board Member and President allowed me to get to know smart people with a sincere dedication to the Council who were willing to give their time and energy to make things happen.  I learned with them – and from them – and we had a great time doing it.  I can honestly say that in the most fundamental way we were able to practice what we were learning in Forum about genuine communication and integrity.  And it was fun!  I highly recommend it.

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