Summer is in full swing and life is slowly returning to some sense of normalcy. As we catch our collective breath and savor the moment, I continue to be impressed by the transformational work that was done during the past year in response to the pandemic. I am equally impressed by the progress we have made on our journey as an organization.

Last year, we completed our first-ever Strategic Plan and emerged as a unified agency. As we come to our 40th anniversary, we are poised to embark on the next leg of our journey – the development of our next strategic plan. Many of the broad strategic initiatives that will be incorporated into the next strategic plan are those that we have been talking about throughout my time as CEO of Aspire.

The first is creating impact through the work we do. We will ensure all our service delivery is person-centered and focused on the full range of the person’s abilities, interests, and needs. This means using effective, positive strategies that recognize each person’s lived experience, whether that person is someone we support, employ, or contract with.

The other parts of my vision interconnect and form the structure for creating impact. These are becoming a deliberately developmental organization, strengthening governance, and ensuring financial sustainability.

What do I mean by a deliberately developmental organization? I see everyone, leaders and the entire workforce, each having a developmental plan. Facilitating the continued growth of every member of the community translates to an ever evolving, nimble organization that can stay ahead of the many challenges and opportunities our future will bring.

Strengthening governance is critical to ensuring that the organization always has new leaders at the ready, whether leaders change roles, move on, or retire. Having robust board membership that represents our communities and brings vital skills to the table enables leaders to fully align with the mission and champion its implementation.

Finally, no mission will be successful without financial sustainability. Those of us who have been with Aspire know that we have had good years and lean years. With our government funding increasingly failing to cover the cost of doing business, we need to look to our new culture of philanthropy and alternative revenue streams to establish a reserve of funds. When we need to fund innovations and initiatives essential to our mission, or when the unexpected happens, these resources will be critical to our success.

These ideas will be the starting point for Aspire’s new Strategic Plan. Development of the specific goals and objectives for the plan will begin in earnest in August. As the plan takes shape, I’ll keep you updated on opportunities for input as well as on our progress. My hope is to begin implementation of the new plan in January of 2022.

Be well, and enjoy this summer.

Best regards,

Lou

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