Hello, members of RID. I’m Jonathan Webb, the current President of RID. Today, my message to you is an update on the CEO Search – the process, recruitment, interactions, interviews, and so forth.
The process up to this point has been intensive, complicated, thorough, and truly impressive. We are fortunate to have had many people involved in this process. The CEO Search Committee is an amazing group of volunteers, who have given selflessly of their time, effort, and service.
We have also included the three RID Councils in this process – the Diversity Council, the Deaf Advisory Council, and the Council of Elders. We have engaged with and solicited feedback from the Member Section chairs. We’ve also engaged with and solicited feedback from the Affiliate Chapter Presidents. And most importantly, we’ve included Headquarters staff in the process, as a CEO would be the head of operations at RID, overseeing all the various departments and functions of RID Headquarters.
After working our way through this process, the RID Board and senior administrators at RID Headquarters put great thought into the various candidates. They are wonderful individuals, highly qualified, and for a variety of different reasons, they do not fit RID – they are not what RID needs at this moment in time.
I have to be honest. It is a little disappointing to me to share this message. I hoped and looked forward to a joyous celebratory announcement about our new CEO, sharing who we’d selected, their unique qualifications, and all the details that led to their selection. Unfortunately, that is not what happened.
I also want to share my perspective that while this is somewhat disappointing, I also view it as an unexpected opportunity. RID has been engaged in searching for a new CEO for the past five to six years. With each iteration, the process has improved. That progression is good to see. We have invested considerable financial resources into this effort. Even more importantly, we have invested time and energy. The total investment has been huge. As we look back and see where we’ve been, we can also see where we are. We now have the opportunity to step back from the process and pause.
As an organization, RID has frequently been called reactive. An unforeseen problem arises, and we react to figure out solutions. At this point in time, we – the organization – have the opportunity to not be reactive, but instead be reflective – to examine the world around us, and to examine our own thoughts, feelings, and motivations. I am grateful for this opportunity we now have to be reflective, and to be analytical of our current situation.
Do we need a CEO? Do we want a CEO? Based on our culture and our way of interacting with the world, and the underlying currents that move our profession, do we have someone truly willing and ready to join RID as CEO? How would a CEO support RID as a whole? Is having a CEO the only approach that would help RID achieve its goals? Or are there other frameworks and opportunities that would be successful for RID? Because success for RID ultimately means success in serving the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind communities.
I want to emphasize that I have hope. I feel this is a huge opportunity for us. Prior to our election, this Board shared our vision of Transformation for RID. That hasn’t changed. The work of Transformation has already begun; there are many examples. Some have been shared already, and some will be shared very soon. The point I am making is that the process of Transformation has already begun, and is moving along well.
We’re not done. But now we also have an opportunity to be reflective and to consider how this instance plays into our Transformation. We have the opportunity for strategic growth and planning. We have the opportunity to make wise and mindful decisions. I’m excited to serve as your President during this time. I’m excited by our members who show continued and renewed interest in being involved in RID. I believe that as we continue the work of RID, we will all discover ways that our organization can improve. This ultimately increases the benefits and rewards to the communities we serve – the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind communities. We are, after all, here to serve them.
In closing, I want to thank you for your participation and engagement with this process. Sometimes our work is difficult and challenging. To me, that means it is worth the effort. If we collectively support the work of RID, the impact on the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind communities will be significant. Their lives and their experiences in the world will hopefully improve. Even a small improvement in their lives is a big deal. This gives validation to the work we do. I want to encourage you to join us, and do the work. Yes, I’m a little disappointed, but nothing has really changed: we have goals and we have a vision this Board is committed to accomplishing by working together.