wanted: leaders who want to leave a legacy of lasting change

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Business Journal.

By Chris Krehmeyer, President and CEO, Beyond Housing

Dear Lou,

I know you have grown weary of the problems before you. I know that at times you are energized by the discussions on how to move you forward and at other times it all becomes overwhelming to the point that it’s easier to look the other way.

Do not look away.

Do not lessen your standards. Do not slip back into comfortableness and complacency or lower your head in defeat thinking the problems are just too big to solve or that some things will never change.

Things can always change if enough people want them to.

I believe your collective will to finally create the change our region needs is greater than ever. But this is a window in time. A moment we have arrived at together that we must capitalize on to the fullest.

If we go forward half-heartedly, if we simply throw resources at our problems without truly understanding them, this window will shut, and we will go back to our former, less courageous and ambitious selves.

We have been talking about these same challenges for more than 40 years. If we want a different result, we need to take action in a way that is far different and far bigger than what we have ever done before.

Do not look away.

This is not the time to be timid. This is the time to be bold. This is the time to think bigger and be audacious in our goals.

We don’t have a shortage of resources. We have a shortage of results.

Our organization Beyond Housing created Once and for All because we believe we have a real solution — a solution that benefits our entire region, based on the latest thinking on how to address these challenges effectively.

I am an optimist at heart. I truly believe our biggest challenges are our greatest opportunities. I would not be writing to you now if I didn’t wholly believe there is a real answer to our problems and that real change is within our reach.

While I am optimistic about our future and our ability to create a better St. Louis for all of us, I am not naïve.

I can’t promise you that everything we do will turn out perfect and wonderful. I can’t promise you that this change will come easily or overnight. What I can tell you with absolute certainty is that if we keep doing what we’ve always done before, we’re going to get the same results.

Do not look away. Instead, join us.

We’re looking for individuals who are tired of the status quo, who believe there is a better way and have the courage to take a new course of action.

We’re looking for leaders with the ability to bring others on board and who want to leave a legacy of lasting change that will be felt for decades to come.

If that sounds like you, join us in creating a stronger, more equitable and prosperous St. Louis — once and for all.

For more thoughts on moving our region forward, visit our St. Louis Business Journal content hub.

Once and for All is an effort to address the root sources of the St. Louis region’s challenges by investing in the most under-resourced communities to move all of St. Louis forward. It is led by Beyond Housing, a nationally recognized community development organization, and utilizes an innovative model for creating lasting change.