Steve Varnum

A great mind and a great heart

By Steve Varnum

 Pros like Ed Tomey don't come around every day, not to volunteer board positions on hard-to-define nonprofits in little New Hampshire.

True story: When Ed Tomey, a highly in-demand organizational consultant, joined our board of directors, it wasn't two weeks before he was inundated with phone calls from our staff. They wanted to pick his brain about one project or another.

" ... a deeply serious, productive, and delightfully engaged relationship with a nonprofit organization that fed me."

It was almost as if getting Ed to join our board was too good to be true. He has a great mind and a great heart. Pros like Ed don't come around every day, not to volunteer board positions on hard-to-define nonprofits in little New Hampshire.

Ed stayed on our board for nine years, including five as board chair through the worst-ever global financial meltdown. He was wise, strategic, down-to-earth and thoughtful. He could listen for a long time before focusing a discussion with a well-placed comment or question. He had the ability to lead from behind that Nelson Mandela and other rare leaders possess.

When we planned our celebration of the Community Loan Fund's 30th anniversary in Keene, we used the occasion to honor Ed in his adopted hometown, to thank him for sharing his wisdom with us.

In his 10 minutes at the podium that night he shared the sources of some of that wisdom, along with his feelings about having devoted his time and talent to our mutual mission. It's well worth the couple minutes it will take to read. You'll see that even as Ed left our board, he was still teaching.

Steve Varnum is Director of Communications and Marketing for the Community Loan Fund.