Replacing The Irreplaceable

By Bryan Bernier, PIIAC CEO

I USUALLY USE THIS SPACE TO talk about the great things we are doing and what is happening in the industry, however, this time I am going to talk about something that I know resonates with everyone. Find great talent to help move your organization forward, people you can count on, people who just get it. While finding new talent is a huge challenge, it pales in comparison to replacing talent, something we all have had to do. There are people in every organization that make the engine run, people who don’t need the recognition or accolades for doing an amazing job. That brings me to Sue Ketchum. Sue has been working with/for PIIAC since the early ‘80s, handling all the accounting. Sue will be retiring this spring. While I am personally very happy for Sue, professionally I am stressed! The hardest part is that I am trying to replace the irreplaceable. Finding that individual who knows everything and can translate it in a way that I can understand (sometimes it takes more than once to explain certain things.) An individual who you never have to worry about doing the right thing and who you know cares so much for the organization and takes pride every day in their work. An individual whose ethics are beyond reproach. An individual who I put on the highest possible pedestal.

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Sue has become my counsel, sitting with me longer than she probably has time to. Listening to ideas and telling me how they might work, and the many potholes we are going to encounter. She looks at everything through a different lens than most others do, and always considers how things will impact your association and our members. Every program we bring on starts with a discussion with Sue on how it will impact our members, your association, and your staff. Sue keeps me leveled (as much as humanly possible.)

As an association, we have many tools to hire and train employees. We have resources to help with your team. We have the technology to streamline your operation. At the end of the day that is all great however it takes great people, people who care, people who possess the unteachable attributes, and people who take pride in what they do. Sue exemplifies that every day, and for that I can’t say thank you enough.

When it comes time for you to replace the irreplaceable, call me and we can talk through it. Please join me in wishing Sue and her husband, Mark, the best of luck in their retirement!

Bryan Bernier, PIIAC CEO

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