CEO supporters, as my year with the CEO program comes to an end, I'd like to share with you my letter to our program investors. While their financial generosity and support have been invaluable to our program, I want to also thank those of you who checked in with us on a daily basis to give words of encouragement and congratulations to our young entrepreneurs. The future of the Wayne County CEO is bright; as I pass the baton to another facilitator, I look forward to witnessing great progress for another class of hopeful Wayne County CEO students! I have enjoyed the ride with my passengers; I so love all of my Class of 2020 entrepreneurs. Best wishes and many blessings!

Dear Investor Friends,

I sit here at my computer during these most uncertain times and wonder how words can both inform and comfort at the same time. I know that not only are my CEO students overwhelmed and confused right now but also are many of you who are active business owners. While the original intention of this letter is to apprise you of how your gracious investments are put to best use, I want to encourage you that, even with this unforeseen interruption, these students have already experienced an invaluable chance of a lifetime that they would have otherwise missed. In fact, our program’s positive reach has generated so much public interest, twenty-eight students have applied to be accepted into the 2020-2021 Wayne County CEO class.

I am so proud of our inaugural Wayne County CEO students and the program they have built from your generosity and trust! Entering the program in August, eight different personalities with amazing strengths converged, sometimes conflicted but always committed to the common good, developing into individuals comprising a family who care about one another. From the beginning, I observed these young people grow in some way every single day, learning to put aside differences, to overcome obstacles, to deal with and forge ahead after huge disappointments, to recognize and take ownership of error, and to reach positive solutions when the problems looked bleak. I also observed these students make great leaps of personal discovery, making individual and group connections with presenters and business owners and managers who opened their schedules and businesses for greater learning experiences.
Now that goverment-mandated social distancing and school suspension have complicated our schedules, we continue having internet conferences of one type or another but we miss our daily interaction and visible progress.

These students have enriched my own life for simply allowing me the opportunity to offer guidance and support in their group and individual business plans. Clark, probably the most objective thinker in the group, kept us in line when our lofty goals needed to be more realistically focused. Shannon, by far the most business-savvy from the beginning, provided impeccable records and know-how. Cade, the most diligent in individual responsibility, despised conflict without resolution and supplied much-needed comic relief to ease tension. Bryce, the strongest public speaker most at ease with the community, was the most forthcoming with concerns. Zane, easily the most laid-back and agreeable of the group, was not afraid to speak up if something irritated his convictions. Blake, the one willing to apologize even when not at fault, most often undertook the tasks no one else wanted. Sharisse, the most attentive to polite public protocol, possessed a quiet strength that allowed others to exercise their extreme personalities without judgement. Jessica, the one most patient with hardships, worked and asked questions behind-the-scenes, undetected by the others, to benefit the group.

Regardless of what the near future holds for our inaugural Wayne County CEO group, your investment in these young minds and in your community promises a great return that will be evident for many years to come. I am positive that these students will have said that CEO was the best part of the school day for them, that the learning opportunity outside the classroom has already supplied them with an education they never could have known without your generosity and support.

Mary Musgrave

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