by Ann D. Murtlow, President and CEO, United Way of Central Indiana

My retirement clock is ticking. After more than four decades, it’s difficult to believe only a couple months remain for me as a full-time member of the workforce.

If I could describe what this feels like inside my head as of today, I would say it’s like the game tug-of-war. Two equally strong teams are pulling as hard as they can to force the other across the center line. On one side of my brain is Team Look Back and Reflect. The other is Team Dream On.

Team Look Back has been my focus since announcing my retirement early this year. I enjoy reflecting on my career — from my early days as a chemical engineer working in the utility industry to the leap from for-profit to nonprofit leadership at United Way of Central Indiana. Team Look Back is pulling with all its might and reminding me of so many United Way accomplishments, including how we built and strengthened relationships in the community, made important, data-informed decisions, advocated for strong public policies, increased funding to scale successful programs and initiatives and served our community during one of the most stressful times in its history. Personally, I’m also reminded of how lucky and proud I am to have worked alongside some of the brightest people who will now guide United Way into the future.

But in my head, Team Dream On is yanking on that rope just as hard as Team Look Back. I see a promising road ahead for United Way of Central Indiana. I’m energized thinking about the skills, passions, energies and determinations a new leader will bring to this organization and to our community. United Way is on the verge of a new strategic plan, and I have all the confidence in the world for the “Changing of the Guard” to jump in and set a new course for the years ahead.

In retirement, I am dreaming for some rest and more time with my family, but I will be cheering on my colleagues in the sector as they charge ahead and make an even greater impact in our communities.

By the way, this mind game of tug-of-war is exhausting. Until I turn in my office badge, I’ve decided to call a truce, put the rope down, and just be present during this unique time of my life and career. Most of all, I’m going to spend the rest of this time being truly thankful to hundreds of people in my career who believed in, guided, counseled, debated and energized me.

To the United Way board and team, thank you for the challenge, the comradery, and the many victories. To United Way’s community partners, thank you for your constant commitment to excellence and compassionate care for any person who needs help. To our corporate partners, donors, volunteers and advocates, thank you for your extraordinary generosity, your presence and your voice. To all of you, thank you for believing that when we put our brainpower and resources together, we can be successful in solving our community’s most complex and stubborn social issues.

Once the clock’s buzzer sounds on June 30, I’m turning it off. In fact, I’m turning off all the alarms. I imagine a new game of tug-of-war will begin in my head, but this time, it’ll be Team Sleep vs. Team Where Can I Be of Service?

Ann Murtlow