In Memoriam of NACRO colleague Mary Beth Maddox
I met Mary Beth Maddox when I attended my first NACRO Conference in Ann Arbor, MI in August 2011. She hosted a facilitated working group discussion I attended. I don’t remember the topic, I only remember feeling really welcomed. I was a little apprehensive because I was only attending to work on a project I was “volun-told” for. I needn’t have worried. A hallmark of NACRO was, and still is I believe, collegiality. And Mary Beth was the main reason this is so.
Over the next few years, I was fortunate to get more involved with NACRO and with Mary Beth. Specifically, we served on the Strategic Planning Committee together. During that group’s first face-to-face meeting at Northwestern University in July 2013, MB advanced “collegiality” as part of NACRO’s practical vision. The group, and ultimately the Board, enthusiastically agreed this should be included.
It was also around this time NACRO’s Nominating Committee approached Mary Beth and me about becoming co-vice presidents. We both asked for time to consider. Not only was this a big ask (three-year commitment as vice president, president, and past president) but it’s also a lot of time to spend closely connected to another person. I absolutely could not have asked for a better NACRO partner than Mary Beth.
In three years of meeting at least monthly (weekly during many stretches) we did not have a single argument. People who know me can attest this had waymore to do with MB than with me. We had plenty of disagreements, of course, but Mary Beth didn’t just say collegiality was a thing we ought to strive for; she achieved it. And she made me want to also.
Lest you think MB was merely “nice,” she was also wicked-smart. She had a way of looking past pesky details to see a larger picture and forming a strategy to get us where we needed to go. My role was to then focus on those pesky details. Together, we found a balance that benefited NACRO and ourselves. From what I could tell, the idea of “balance” was a true watchword in MB’s life. She worked hard, travelled often, and spent a great deal of time and energy caring for her family at home and her mom in Indiana. Through all of it, she focused on what was important and never forgot to have fun while doing it.
If you like NACRO the way it is, you can thank Mary Beth. If you believe NACRO can be better, please throw yourself into improving it with the same zeal and positivity that MB exemplified. To say she will be missed is obviously an understatement, but I think all NACRO members can take some comfort in how Mary Beth’s spirit of collaboration has been “baked in” to the organization and has helped to move it forward.
Godspeed and blue skies, MB.
Executive Director, Annual Giving
East Tennessee State University (ETSU)
NACRO CO-President with Mary Beth 2014-15