In May of 1961 President John F. Kennedy stood before Congress and spoke the following:
“These are extraordinary times. And we face an extraordinary challenge. Our strength as well as our convictions have imposed upon this nation the role of leader in freedom's cause. No role in history could be more difficult or more important. We stand for freedom.”
The challenges we are facing today are different: we are in the middle of a pandemic, the likes the world has not experienced for over a century; the economy of our country has taken a hit that caused millions to lose their jobs and business have been forced to shut down in numbers comparable to the Great Depression; our hearts are broken as social and systemic issues have been brought to the front of our attention with the unnecessary and troubling death of George Floyd and countless others.
President Kennedy was correct, truly these are extraordinary times and we are facing extraordinary challenges, and these challenges are hard! But they are an opportunity for our country, our state, our communities, and for us individually to grow and become even better. As we face the hard tasks in front of us, let’s accept the hard tasks, let’s welcome the uncomfortable conversations and civil discourse, let’s embrace the chance to listen and learn from each other. One of my favorite authors, Dorothy Canfield, so eloquently stated:
“By changing every fiber of your being, that is the only way to become anything that is worth becoming. And you cannot change the fiber of your being without dying a thousand deaths and knowing a thousand births.”
It seems that there is too much to do, that anything we do won’t make a difference. Well, in a sense it’s true, this will take each and everyone one of us to make the long lasting changes we need. But don’t let the quantity of work cause us to shirk, we need to boldly take the first step, make a single change that can lead to greater changes that will make us all better off. Will Rogers said that even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
As procurement professionals, we have a unique and special responsibility as stewards of tax-payer dollars. We have the chance to implement the social changes our entities have identified. We can use these opportunities to help our communities heal. We can make sure our schools and communities are safe and have the PPE needed to reopen, we can support our local businesses to keep our neighbors employed and keep the economy alive. We can reach out to disadvantaged enterprises with our solicitations as we seek competition to offer everyone a seat at the table and an opportunity to compete. We have so many tools available to use!
At this time, I want to thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to our state, our cities, and communities. The future is bright, I have hope that we will come out of these times stronger, more united, and a better nation. Thank you for being an essential part of this process as we all stand for freedom.
Zachary Christensen, J.D., CPPB
President – NIGP Utah Chapter