Monday, April 22, 2024

MY TURN: Come together against the tide

by MIKE BAKER/Guest Opinion
| March 28, 2024 1:00 AM

In my roles as a father, husband, business leader and unwavering optimist, I’ve spent countless hours contemplating the future and working to ensure that it is one filled with light, hope and love. I’m far from perfect, but I hope that my actions, my words and my heart show where my true intentions are. 

Every day I get to wake up and see our community's potential for greatness and the triumph of common sense and goodness. However, this belief is occasionally shadowed by concerns about the destructive power dynamics that threaten to reshape the fabric of our community, challenging our progress and unity.

After a quick scan of the news or your social media feed it's become increasingly evident that individuals motivated by self-interest and a desire for dominance have inserted themselves into pivotal positions within our community. Their actions, fueled by a misguided quest for personal glory, disrupt the harmony and integrity of organizations, stifling the voices that advocate for meaningful and positive change. 

This behavior not only undermines our collective achievements but also silences the invaluable contributions of those striving to make a difference, especially the strong, insightful women among us whose leadership is critical to our community's growth and prosperity.

Addressing this issue transcends confrontation with isolated acts of intimidation. We are up against a deeply ingrained culture that has, for too long, permitted such dynamics to proliferate, casting a shadow over our shared aspirations. 

Our journey toward change is grounded in resilience, propelled by our commitment to uplift and support every community member, particularly those marginalized or silenced by these disruptive forces. 

The path forward is clear: We must actively work to transform our community's power dynamics into forces of inclusion, respect and empowerment. By standing united against the tactics of bullies, we pave the way for a future where every individual has the opportunity to thrive, free from the constraints of ego-driven ambitions. 

This transformation requires a collective effort from all of us, each believing in the power of unity, diversity and the intrinsic value of every voice. Together, we can dismantle the outdated structures of intimidation and self-centeredness that have hindered our collective progress. Together, we can forge a community where success is a shared celebration and leadership is about elevating others.

As we move into the future, let's view the challenges we face as opportunities to reaffirm our commitment to a just, equitable and compassionate world. It’s through our collective empathy, cooperation and unwavering belief in our common humanity that we can overcome any obstacle.

To those who have wielded power through intimidation and division, consider this a heartfelt invitation to reflection and change. Your actions, intended to assert dominance, only serve to isolate you further from the community you wish to lead. 

Your spouses, your children and the people around you do not respect you. Your time has come. 

Humanity is strong, people are out of the closet, women have shattered the glass ceilings and the pure in heart are exhausted by your intolerable, outdated narratives. 

Your disparaging remarks and actions, particularly those aimed at diminishing the role of women and other marginalized groups, highlight a fear of an inevitable truth: inclusivity, respect and empowerment are the cornerstones of true leadership.

We stand at a pivotal moment for leadership across every sphere of our community. We must work to build a community culture that prioritizes collective growth over individual gain. This is your chance to join us in the challenging yet profoundly rewarding endeavor of building a community that truly reflects our highest ideals. 

Sunlight feels amazing. It revives the soul, and it pushes out the darkness. Recognize your mistakes and come join us. You are welcome, nobody is perfect, change is good. We believe in you. You just have to take the first step. 

This is an invitation to stand with us, to be part of a movement that champions empathy, collaboration and the boldness to embrace change. Our community is at a crossroads, and the choices we make today will shape our legacy. Let's choose a path marked by progress, empathy and a spirit of community, envisioning a future that we can all be proud of.

Together, we have the power to shift the current narrative, to challenge the status quo of bullying, misogyny, bigotry and self-interest, paving the way for a future enriched by mutual respect, collaboration and unwavering support. 

This is our community, and it is our future. Those on the side of light need to vote in every election, they need to make time to serve on boards, they need to speak up when bullies roar. It is up to us, and I know that we can do it. 

I invite you to join me in this journey toward a brighter, more inclusive future, where the leadership of everyone, especially the empowered women among us, is celebrated as the backbone of our community’s strength and success. 

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Mike Baker is CEO of Heritage Health.