I just finished a brisk walk through midtown Manhattan, visiting HOBY alumni, board members, volunteers and donors. I come to NYC regularly but there is always something particularly special about the city in December. It can be cold and wet, but throughout the day, there is something different about the usual NYC hustle and bustle; more crowded with tourists from around the world, racing about doing last minute shopping, marveling at the sights and sounds of the Big Apple. And at night, the lights, music and energy become something truly special. It definitely helps me get into the holiday mood.
The celebrations and reflections of this time of year inspire gratitude: for family, friends and a life full of purpose. For nearly 12 years, the opportunity to grow and strengthen HOBY, to inspire the next generation of young leaders has been part of my purpose. Sharing this important purpose with thousands of alumni and volunteers make it all the more special.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Shoot for the moon, if you miss, you’ll still be among the stars.” We saw that this year at HOBY. We reached higher and further than ever before with a larger state registration goal, a new mentoring program and new fundraising events in Chicago and Dallas. And while we may not have hit the moon, HOBY definitely grew stronger this year.
2018 was a challenging, invigorating and adventurous year at HOBY. We started the year fully staffed, including a complete Advancement Department focused on better marketing and communications, fund raising and alumni outreach. (This newsletter is a direct result of our Advancement team.) But over the course of the year, some outstanding HOBY staff members moved on to new opportunities. We wish them well and know their new organizations are lucky to have them. New staff are being hired, bringing new ideas and energy to HOBY.
We had aggressive registration goals for both the State Seminars and the World Leadership Congress (WLC). The WLC program was the best it’s ever been and exceeded the target with 419 students attending from 15 countries, laying a groundwork for continued growth and program excellence. We will move to a larger WLC venue in 2020. HOBY Homecoming reconnected us with alumni from across generations and the country.
We launch 2019 with new fundraising opportunities, partnerships and improved marketing strategies. Our International opportunities are particularly exciting. HOBY Uganda, held its first seminar in January of 2018, with another to come in January 2019. New and expanded HOBY programs are slated for Turkey, UK and China just to name a few. The list of countries requesting HOBY programs grows and we will attend to as many as possible.
Though we fell a little short of 2018’s State Seminar registration goals we are still poised for growth this year with an updated school contact list and improved Community Nominations process, paving the way for more students to attend HOBY’s State Seminars. Starting in 2019, community members and partners may nominate students to attend a local State Leadership Seminar. And our Ambassadors Connect programs allow alumni to continue their HOBY journeys through mentorship, networking and service. Each step forward brings us closer to achieving our goal of creating the most civically engaged generation of young leaders the world has ever seen.
Anyone who knew Hugh, knew his pride for HOBY was only matched by his pride of the Marine Corps. He would often say, “There’s a lot of Marine in HOBY,” first and foremost, a commitment to excellence in all we do.
HOBY is once again shooting for the moon in 2019. And we always will. The power of HOBY, the impact on students and our responsibilities as leaders require it. The mission of HOBY, our shared purpose, demand no less. Thank you for all you do for HOBY. With your help, we will sail past the stars and the moon, landing as far as our imaginations and determination take us.