Timing is everything! This has become such a familiar catch phrase that it’s sometimes easy to miss the real message. Many people consider it to be a reference to “luck” or to “being in the right place at the right time.” I prefer to think of this phrase as a reference to the importance of being strategic.
At my company, First Citizens Bank, we engage in the regular and rigorous discipline of strategic planning. We strive to understand developing trends in the industry and the developing needs of our customers. That’s how we add value for our customers, and it’s how we plan to grow and strengthen our business. Strategic planning is not about luck; rather, it’s about stepping back and recognizing key opportunities, and taking actions that help further your mission.
Those of you who are long-time investors or followers of WakeEd Partnership recognize the significant work that’s gone into strategic planning here over the past three years. The timing of that work turned out to be very strategic indeed! The Partnership has made amazing progress on many fronts. Over the past year, we:
- Reorganized the staff to more closely align with strategic priorities.
- Named Dr. Julie Crain to the newly created position of Vice President of Policy and Research. This appointment leverages her incredible experience and knowledge in public education and her astute understanding of policy decisions, allowing the Partnership to continue as a critical source of information and education for our investors.
- Welcomed Ken Jones as Director of Marketing, and Teresa Pierrie as Director of Programs for the staff, bringing new creativity and focus to both of those areas.
- Developed and published guidelines for the Partnership’s advocacy stance on issues of importance to Wake County Public Schools.
- Refreshed the WakeEd Partnership brand to better align with the strategic focus of the organization.
- Launched new communications vehicles, including “WakeEdge” – up-to-the-minute reports on breaking stories that impact our schools, and “What’s Happening” – a bi-weekly report to all of our investors that outlines the latest work of our staff, including program updates, partnerships with WCPSS and other constituencies.
- Kicked off our Investor Relations effort, which provides for regular contact between board members and investors, to ensure that our investors get regular information on how their funds are making a difference in Wake County Public Schools.
- Launched a number of new program initiatives that dovetail with WCPSS’ emphasis on STEM and early childhood literacy.
I want to publicly acknowledge the energetic leadership of Caroline McCullen as Board Chair for the past year. Caroline has consistently challenged our board to move boldly ahead with these initiatives and to ready ourselves and our organization for the next wave of challenges and opportunities as our area continues its robust growth.
I’m proud that my employer, First Citizens Bank, headquartered here in Raleigh, continues to believe that one of the best investments we can make for our community’s continuing success is supporting public education and the work of the WakeEd Partnership.
Vibrant public schools are a critical engine for furthering economic growth. They serve to better the lives of local employees, their families as well as the community at large. And they provide a solid educational foundation so the young people of today are prepared to be successful at companies like First Citizens in the years to come.
The timing is right for WCPSS, WakeEd Partnership and for our investors. Through the years, we’ve consistently engaged the business community in a shared mission to improve and champion public education. In the face of ongoing growth in Wake County, continued progress in student achievement and energetic leadership at WCPSS, the timing could not be better for all of us to act strategically and to boldly support quality public education in Wake County. We’re glad you’re with us!
Chair-Elect, WakeEd Partnership
SVP, Branch and ATM Strategy, First Citizens Bank