At the beginning of his 2017 Torchbearers presidency, Michael Wilson wrote an open letter inviting the community to learn about the recent initiatives and successes of Torchbearers, to get to know the diverse membership we have, and to watch us grow as a team through shared experiences that our organization provided.
Under Michael’s leadership, Torchbearers stepped forward to accept the most diverse class we have had to date. We began a multi-year experiment on how to impact the community in areas of passion for our membership. We added leadership programming for our returning members, and instituted branding guidelines. As we have always done, Torchbearers marched forward under Michael.
But what often strikes me the most about Michael’s letter is he didn’t mention himself or where he fit into the fabric of what makes Torchbearers work. It didn’t tell of the hours, weeks, and years that Michael has invested in making this organization the best it can be, or how he has made us look like we had a 20-person marketing team when in fact we are unstaffed. It didn’t tell of all the times that Michael did the work, but gave someone else (often me), the credit.
And at the end of his presidency, the simplest thing I can say about Michael’s leadership is that Michael changed the way Torchbearers is viewed by the community and by our membership. Not by loudly speaking from the front, but by showing up every day for seven years to push us forward from behind.
Michael, there are hundreds of us, current and alum, who owe you a debt of gratitude.
Enjoy your well-deserved spot in the line of past TB presidents.
– Hillary Stewart, 2018 Torchbearers President