As you may know, after 45-plus years in chamber work and more than 34 years at the CalChamber, I’ve announced my plan to step down (retire) at the end of February, after wrapping up this year’s annual W.A.C.E. conference.
When I think back, I truly had no idea that my senior project in the journalism department at Fresno State would start me on this chamber career path, but it did…and I’ve never regretted it.
After 11-plus years at the Modesto Chamber, the chance to join the CalChamber team and manage this association was an offer and opportunity that I couldn’t refuse.
While this work can, if you let it, be all encompassing, I’ve tried to do my best to do what’s REALLY important — be a good husband, father and grandfather. But at the same time, I tried to make a difference and, in some small way, help chamber professionals and their organizations be successful.
As the CEO of this association for more than one-third of its existence, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the absolute best in the chamber business. I’m honored that many of these chamber champions — 21 of the association’s past chairs — were able to join us at the 2023 conference.
In 1987, when I served as the association’s chair (we called it president back then), I offered up the following comments for all to think about, and hopefully, embrace. They seem just as, or maybe even more, appropriate today; it’s called “Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments” by Kent Keith:
People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today might be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building can be destroyed overnight.
People need help, but may attack you if you help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world your best and you might get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world your best anyway.
As I pass the baton to tomorrow’s leaders, I wish you all a very successful future forward.
If I can help, don’t ever hesitate to reach out and, remember, as they say and sang in Disney’s Toy Story movies: “You’ve got a friend in me!”
Dave Kilby is retiring at the end of February as president and CEO of W.A.C.E. and executive vice president, corporate affairs at the California Chamber.