Thursday, October 20, 2011

Well done!!!

I think it is a well known fact that the College has had its fair share of ups and downs the past couple of years.  That all changed in the winter of 2010 with the hiring of our current Executive Director, Karen Hatcher.  Karen has managed in just over a year and a half to steer the College into calmer waters and onto better destinations.

Last night The Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce held their 18th Annual Excellence in Business Awards.  The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada was nominated in the Community Enhancement section.  The other nominees in this category were:  Habitat For Humanity PEI, Central PEI CBDC, Community Connections Inc., PEI Business Women's Association, East Prince Family Violence Prevention and Jars of Cafe.  When you look at the importance of the work that these other organisations do, it was an honour just to be nominated.  The College, it turns out, was the big winner!  Karen, in her College uniform, was there to accept the award which was presented by Greg Burton (bagpiping student and father to Kate Ross and Robyn Burton, respective College students!). 

This award made me think of how far the College has come in such a short time.  Recently I came across the commencement speech that the late Steve Jobs gave at Stanford in 2005.  He had me mesmerized for the entire address.  The speech is broken in up into three sections.  The first part is about connecting the dots.  Steve had dropped out of College and decided to take the courses that he wanted to take instead of taking the ones that he had to for his program.  In the concluding passage of this section he says this, "...you can't connect the dots looking forward.  You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.  You have to trust in something--your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever--because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference." 

How is this relevant to the College?!  This is exactly what Karen has done to make the College a better and more vibrant place.  She has taken something and turned it around by looking back and trusting in herself to make the right decisions.  This year has been huge for the College.  There was the return of the Summerside Highland Games, a brand new Highland Storm, winter ceilidhs, new staff...the list could go on and on.  Karen has definitely made the College a better place to be.  It is now somewhere where people want to hang out even when they do not have to be here.  She has made it exciting to come through the front doors again.

Congratulations, Karen from all of us at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada!  Thank you for taking the reins and guiding us through the ups and the downs.  Thank you for not giving up.  Enjoy this award.  It is well deserved!