60/20 Tour: A Finance Committee, Joyous PACE Participants and Amazing Grace

September 25, 2019

Wellspring Lutheran and PACE Southeast Michigan

Wednesday morning opens in Flint, Michigan with the CEO of Wellspring Lutheran, Dave Gehm, hosting Leslie and me at their home office.  There are no residents in sight,  but Dave corrals us into a visit, and we have a rousing round of Grand Funk Railroad (Flint is their hometown) as Wellspring conducts a financial review. Serious issues of paper and coffee consumption are brought to life. The work Wellspring is doing with kids, opiate addiction and the community at large is remarkable. Dave and I both come from the same school of “take what you do seriously,  but don’t take yourself that seriously”. I look forward to coming back to see Dave in November.

Speaking of cool CEOs, it doesn’t get much better than Mary Naber from PACE Southeast Michigan.  Mary and I first met about five years ago,  and in a world where decisions to purchase iN2L can often time be a two-year proposition,  Mary got us up and running within three months of our first meeting.  I never pretend to know all the financial nuances of different provider models,  but the PACE model has such a commonsense ring to it. Mary and her team do our visit up right. The participants are so joyful,  so appreciative,  and they are ready to cruise and croon along with Mary.  We cruise the streets of Detroit, singing and dancing our way through traffic jams. One of the best moments was Guadalupe flipping Motown to Amazing Grace when she picks the playlist.

Mary and Dave,  you in your unique ways epitomize servant leadership.  You run such different organizations that are both successful from financial and mission standpoints. And you don’t take any of the credit yourselves – you give it all to your teams.  Since I’m writing this, I can say take a bow for yourself occasionally.