Staff Highlight: Saying Farewell to Martha Rusk
25 years. 50 national conferences. 75 Executive Committee meetings. 20 Leadership Academies. Dozens of bylaws changes. 3 major technology transformations. 3 Executive Vice Presidents. A living history book of everything Women's Council related. A "go-to" subject matter expert to many. Immeasurable institutional knowledge.
That only scratches the surface that touches on nearly 25 years of service at the Women's Council of REALTORS® for Martha Rusk, who will leave the Women's Council in June, to pursue some personal interests, travel, and spend some additional time with extended family.
For anyone who has served as a Network leader, your paths have likely crossed with Martha, either on the telephone, via email or live at the meetings. She is a walking encyclopedia on everything related to how Networks function, from chartering to de-chartering and troubleshooting various situations that always arise. While not a formal part of her job description, Martha was a subject matter expert on Roberts Rules of Order and knew the ins and outs - it was not uncommon for local Networks to stop a meeting and call Martha to get advice on a unique situation. Her advice, insight, and counsel are highly sought and the book was always on top of her desk, with various tabs referencing different areas.
Many members and leaders only experience Women's Council for a fixed amount of time, and then, in turn, go on to other leadership pursuits, so they only get a snapshot of a fixed number of years at Women's Council. Few are able to experience the "long road" and understand seeds that are planted, nurtured and grown in a steady and methodical manner. The seeds that Martha planted can be visible today, including, but not limited to:
- Creation and nurturing of a Leadership Academy, which was one of the first in the association industry and won awards and accolades from the American Society of Association Executives.
- Three major transformations of technology with member databases, including one of the first "chapter micro-sites" in the industry.
- Stewardship of the Leadership Policy and Procedure Manual, an 80+ year document that outlines some of the best practices on how Networks (formerly known as Chapters) should be organized, and a bedrock of the success and longevity of Women's Council. Ensuring adherence to the policies and procedures is a challenging task, and Martha once stated that the most unpleasant aspect of her job was having to shut down a Network due to non-compliance of the standards put forth.
Sindy Ready, 2015 Past National President, fondly recalls her years on the leadership line. "Many ideas and plans were floated during my tenure. As a leadership team, after fully discussing and vetting the idea, part of the checkpoint in the process was 'let's talk to Martha'. Her thoughtful input in the process was always valued and she was always able to give a different perspective that enriched the ideas at the table".
Good luck in your future endeavors, Martha. Your knowledge, contribution, and stewardship to Women's Council will be deeply missed!
The Staff and Leadership of Women's Council of REALTORS®