President’s Message June 2018

Cyndee Haydon
Class of ‘08

Thank you, LP members, for the opportunity to serve as your president and to this year’s board of directors. You are “Leadership Pinellas” and we need each and every one of you this year. The interest indicators are out and we want to hear from you! Thank you to the LP board for all you have done to bring us to this point and thank you to Jennifer McGrail ’99, who as our executive director is a priceless member of our team and our organization.

Congratulations Leadership Pinellas Class of 2018!


On behalf of the LP alumni, I congratulate the Class of 2018 on your graduation this past weekend at the Safety Harbor Spa and thank you’s go to Melissa Honeycutt ’17 for chairing this year’s graduation. Having worked with many of the Class of 2018 this past year on your 3 successful class projects, you are also leaders in action who bring much to our organization.  My challenge to each of you is to continue to lead within LP now as alumni. Pick at least one thing to get involved in this year and stay engaged.

Over 10 years I have had the opportunity to work side by side with many of you AND you’ve inspired me. Especially those like Pete Rivellini ’ o2 who had vision and took risks to innovate and create new LP programs to make our organization better. By leaders like Dev Pathik ’11 and Andrea Henning ‘15 with their vision to enhance our class leadership training – leading our class retreats with the 5 levels of leadership and the ongoing Leadership Institute just to name a few.

Under Nancy St Arnold’s ’13 strong leadership as the Youth Leadership chair of 2018, YLP wrapped up a banner year with a wonderful YLP graduation held at the Pinellas Realtor Organization on May 2 catered by Thirsty Marlin. The night was filled with great memories of the year and great feelings of gratitude by all who were there for having been part of the experience. Special thanks go to Nancy St. Arnold for all she has done to build up this program over the past four years to the prestigious status it has today. Without her dedication, time, and expertise this program would not have been able to impact the 40 leaders that went through the program this year. This year’s program was also enhanced with a renewed partnership between Leadership Pinellas and the YMCA of the Suncoast. Nancy is leaving this program strong and in the capable hands of the next year’s YLP chair, Brian Siracusa ’14. We look forward to details next month announcing the new YLP Class.

As we start the new year, we’d like to take a moment to thank last year’s president, Georgie Menke ‘09 for her tireless leadership, dedication and service to Leadership Pinellas – thank you!  We also want to thank our outgoing LP board members Seema Ramroop ’17, Stephanie Smith ‘09, Heather Gracy ’14, Cary Stiff ‘81, D.r Eric Carver ’15 and Andrea Henning ’15 for all their leadership and contributions to the LP board over their time of service.

I am excited about what we can all accomplish together this year. I believe we have the opportunity to see the results of many other seeds planted and work done by past LP boards, presidents and LP members. I will lead guided by our mission and vision along with strategic goals to:

  • Deliver Responsive Programs and Services
  • Optimize Operations Effectiveness
  • Build Awareness of Leadership Pinellas
  • Build High-Performance Leadership Development
  • Strengthen our Financial Stability

I’m excited to share that the Leadership Pinellas board plans to:

  • Pass our first 5-year strategic plan within the first 45 days which will be a compass and guide for our board, not only this year but for LP boards going forward
  • Launch the first Leadership Immersion Program which is a 2-day mini-intensive LP experience
  • Get our revamped LP sponsorship offerings out to our sponsors to better acknowledge them
  • Involve past presidents regularly and improve the transfer of institutional knowledge this year
  • Be focused on our community outreach and recruitment year-round for our 4 programs – YLP, LP, Immersion and Leadership Institute with continued focus on diversity
  • Enhance our strategic partnership with the YMCA of the Suncoast and work together synergistically
  • Look at ways to improve the class retreat skits and so much more

As we take risks together and do things which we have never done before, it will require us to have the courage to examine how we can improve and then take action and get results. Change is rarely comfortable. I’m reminded of the powerful words of Theodore Roosevelt that inspires me daily to have the courage to dare greatly.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

My invitation and hope this year is that you too will be willing to dare greatly and join me in the arena so together we can make Leadership Pinellas an even better organization for our members and the community. I will close by saying that I am honored to have the unique opportunity to serve an organization that is near and dear to my heart. A good part of my enthusiasm comes from my relationship with other Leadership Pinellas members who generously and graciously give of their time and talents. I look forward to working with all of you and having a fun and exciting year. Thank you in advance for your leadership and commitment.

Yours in Service,
Cyndee Haydon ’08