January 29, 2023
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Volunteerism ‘shapes community we share’


In business, we measure success by revenue growth, rising profits, share prices and transactions closed.

But in communities across the Tri-Counties, successful leadership is often defined by measures less tangible.

That point was brought home on March 9 when we stopped by the Santa Barbara Foundation’s 73rd annual Man and Woman of the Year luncheon.

This year’s program honored Vicki Hazard for a decade and a half of support for programs including Santa Barbara’s Cancer Center, Sansum Clinic and Scholarship Foundation.

Her work as board chair at Sansum Clinic has been instrumental in creating a groundbreaking community care network for much of Santa Barbara County.

Also honored was Ed Birch, who brings his focus on consensus and collaborative decision-making to a dozen or more organizations. He’s been actively engaged in keeping safety net organizations such as Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics alive.

In written comments that accompanied her award, Hazard observed that “volunteerism fuels our souls and, in doing so, truly shapes the community that we share.” What an excellent way to put things in perspective.

From Goleta’s Finest to Camarillo’s Top 10 to events in East Ventura County, many of our communities have programs that honor volunteer leadership. In the hustle and bustle of our professional lives, it’s important to stop for a minute and think about what that really means to the people we are serving.

Hire veterans if they’re the best

Thousand Oaks author and management expert Ritch Eich has some sharp words about the values instilled through military service and their importance to employers and community organizations.

Writing for the Fox News website earlier this month, he lamented the “patronizing” tone of many appeals to hire veterans. Rather than focusing on the unemployment rate for ex-military personnel or the need to show gratitude, Eich thinks we should focus on something else.

“Veterans are often the best qualified candidates,” he writes, adding that military experience teaches problem solving, teamwork, how to work under pressure and how to win.

In his new book, “Truth, Trust + Tenacity,” Eich talks about the armed forces and the crucible in which leadership values are formed.

Hiring veterans because they are the best person for the job is the right way to make a successful hire, he argues. We think he’s right.