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The Last Word

The Last Word

My training in getting the last word came from raising teenagers over the past two decades. There were many discussions in our house that I thought were over but my kids would throw in a last word, sigh, eye roll or gesture. Employing what I thought to be good parenting strategies I would resist the urge to slip a last word of my own in and run. Sometimes it was harder than others but I managed to hold the line. I think it was good practice for restraint in many other areas of my life.

Of course in leadership roles I am sometimes called on to make a final decision but that is after input from my team and stakeholders. I never consider it having the last word on a subject.

So imagine my surprise when I received an email imploring and welcoming me to have the last word. The correspondence indicated that others were actually waiting for my word. This seemed exciting and I checked to see if one of my kids sent it in some type of delayed apology for all those sighs.

The request was not from my adult children but from our team here at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. As I have shared in this column the Foundation is in the midst of celebrating our 40th anniversary.

As part of the celebration we are collecting words from our donors, supporters and friends that capture how they feel about giving and their history with us. Words are powerful and selecting just one to capture a relationship can be inspiring. We are hearing from a diverse group of people, some have been part of the Foundation family since year one while others are new to the family. Seeing the words together creates a beautiful tapestry of emotions and history.

Effective, Loving, Exciting, Caring, Innovative, Life Changing, Endowment, Service, Satisfaction, Focus, Hope, Legacy, Supportive, Wow, Great, Amazing, Outstanding, Knowledgeable, Happiness, Generosity…and the list goes on with hundreds of words.

The email from our team was just to remind me that they were waiting on my word. I was the last person they needed to hear from for a campaign they are creating around our 40th Anniversary. What’s Your Word? That is our campaign this year to hear from people who have been touched by the work of the Foundation.

So I guess as the leader of this organization, I finally I have the chance to have the last word, but I am not going to take it. My word has yet to be written. I want to hold the place where my word would live wide open and stay quiet. Your words are what matter the most. What do you think? Ends up I don’t really want the last word after all, but I am excited to hear yours. Please visit . There you can tell us your word, and also see short videos that will be posted every week where others share their words with the community. After 40 years of “giving, philanthropy, service, give-back, happiness, etc…” It is nice to hear.

We would love to hear from you.

Sarah Owen
Sarah Owen

Sarah Owen, President & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to driving regional change for the common good. The Foundation is committed to engaging the community in conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and provides the funding to make those changes a reality. More