Friday, May 25, 2012

On the Road with Chuck: Part I

Chuck Wehrwein
NeighborWorks America COO
My name is Chuck Werhwein and I’m looking forward to being the next Chief Operating Officer for NeighborWorks America. In my new position, I will be overseeing activities in communities all over the US, so I’ve decided to make my journey to DC reflect that; I’m making a road trip from Denver, Colorado to Washington, D.C., and stopping to meet NeighborWorks staff and network members along the way.

Denver Convention Center’s
Blue Bear (Creative Commons)
Although I’ve been in the community development field for over 20 years (bio here), there is always more to learn. My goal is to make my first few months a time for listening. Right now, I’m most interested in answering one big question: “How can we accelerate community change in times of constrained resources?”

I jump-started my trip in Denver at the Rocky Mountain District office, followed by a visit many miles later with Midwest Regional Director John Santner and his team in Kansas City over delicious local BBQ.

Kansas City BBQ (Creative Commons)
In both places, I was struck by the breadth of our staff’s experience and their deep commitment to residents and members. Their diverse backgrounds and extensive knowledge are extremely valuable resources, critical to our corporation’s ability to deliver much-needed community services with limited staff and budgets. I left Kansas City with a real sense of optimism about our ability to work as partners while tackling the challenges that lie ahead.

My next stop is St. Louis, Missouri, where I’ll meet with Beyond Housing’s Executive Director Chris Krehemyer and gain the perspective of a network member. In the meantime, I’ll be reflecting on what I’ve learned and brainstorming ideas for the future.