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Becoming Heifer International's executive vice president of global services in 1989 changed the course of my life. Before joining Heifer, my daily landscape included my family, teaching, advocating for children and families and a successful career on Gov. Bill Clinton's Cabinet. I was very fortunate.
When my worldview expanded to include Heifer's global community of cultures, languages and a shared commitment to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth, I knew that I was fortunate once again.
My new role, which evolved into president and CEO in 1992, came with a new set of challenges and experiences. And after a 22-year journey with Heifer, I am thankful for every one of them. As I reflect on my memories and lessons learned, the principle that I will hold closest to my heart and mind is, "Listen to the farmer."
Whether they be students, families or farmers, we must sit amongst those we serve and explore their core values and enable them to achieve their goals and dreams. It is in the moments of empowering others, of seeing dreams realized, of connecting donors to our mission and witnessing generations-long challenges being overcome, that I have most treasured my time with Heifer International.
And it is you—Heifer supporters, friends, volunteers, board members and staff—who have made this possible. Not only have you given me a blessed two decades, but you have extended your generosity, selflessness and love to families around the world. As you know, the generous of heart receive more than they give.
My support of a world without hunger and poverty will never waver. As I often said to the Heifer team, "Yes, our challenge is a big one, but it pales in comparison to the daily challenges of those who are counting on us to help them make a difference."
To Pierre, the board, the supporters and the amazing Heifer team, I extend my warmest wishes for continued success. It is my sincere hope that you will enjoy the journey as much as I have.
Thank you for giving me courage, strength, friendship and so many memories. My experiences and the knowledge I have gained will sustain me as I enter into a new chapter of my life. It is an honor to have been asked to serve on four prestigious boards addressing global hunger and sustainable development, which will allow me to continue to be engaged in dialogue and actions that will hopefully, in some modest way, help achieve a world living in peace and equitably sharing the resources of a healthy planet.
I am certain that our paths will cross once again. Until then, remember harambe, "together we can do it." Always believe tinogona, "it is achievable." And never lose your nam jai,"living waters of the heart."