“Look in the mirror,” I said to the 200 staff members sitting in front of me. It was June 1993 and my last day on the job after 13 years as CEO of a large nonprofit organization serving abused children in Los Angeles. Each person in the room had taken a small pocket mirror from a box labeled “The Future of Children’s Bureau.” “You are looking at the future of this agency.” I said. “What happens to Children’s Bureau is in your hands….”
Recently, I spoke to the woman whose firm had conducted the executive search for my replacement as CEO. The first thing she said to me was, “I still have the mirror.” She said that she was in the room the day the mirrors had been handed out and would never forget the power of that moment.
Children’s Bureau has gone on to become one of the premiere organizations, leading the way to innovation and excellence and impacting the lives of thousands of children and families. That’s the reflection I had hoped they’d see in the mirror, and it appears to have worked!