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NKCAC, and Northern Kentucky, Lose a Great Leader

NKCAC, and Northern Kentucky, Lose a Great Leader
chapmanNorthern Kentucky Community Action Commission lost a great leader this month. Long-time board member, Dennis Chapman, passed away at age 62 on November 7, 2013 following surgery. Few can remember a time that Dennis was not an active and committed board member, having served for more than 20 years. Suffice it to say, his impact has been significant. While Dennis was Board President – a term spanning six years – he guided the agency in two executive director searches; established the agency’s YouthBuild program; guided our first foray into affordable housing ownership; and led the merger with Literacy in Northern Kentucky (LINK). He helped to implement a new strengths-based family services model and overhauled the agency’s pay structure to encourage education, experience, and service. One of the first people I met in Northern Kentucky was Dennis Chapman when I interviewed for the job of Executive Director. He directed the Board committee’s questioning that day, and as I remember it, the questions were tough, thought-provoking, and well-crafted. Dennis delivered them with kindness, compassion, and empathy, and I like to think they led to a good decision for the agency. I was fortunate to get to know Dennis well over the next several months – and then years – as we discussed agency strategy and planned Board meetings. He was the careful teacher, discussing the agency’s history during almost every encounter. His respect for the past was deep and I believe helped me and the Board make better decisions. I will miss our many conversations, our friendship, and his obvious affection for the work that we do. Dennis had a quiet, calm way of approaching leadership. He knew that some decisions took time to mature, and he would not hesitate to delay board decisions to a future meeting if he thought the issue needed it. Yet, he was also willing to take calculated risks, and lead the board to decisive action when the situation called for it.  In short, Dennis showed constant, patient, and wise leadership that made Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission a better organization – for the region; for our employees; and for our customers. Dennis Chapman leaves his wife, Janet, his mother, Sarah, two stepdaughters, four grandchildren, and a host of extended family and friends.