Letter from the President, Rev. Paul Bartel

It is with much excitement that I enter into 2015 as Southtown's new President. This organization continues to serve as a catalyst for change and growth throughout our neighborhoods, and 2015 will be no different. As we look forward to the upcoming year, it will certainly be a year of new beginnings, and therefore new possibilities.

Rev. Paul Bartel, Watershed ChurchThis year we will see the biggest transition in the history of Southtown when our director, Marti Lee, transitions out of leadership in the fall. She has given 29 years of superior service to our community - and the entire city. We cannot forget that the sparkling businesses we walk past, the sidewalks we take to get there, and so many of the people we see along the way each have Marti's “mark” on them. What has been accomplished under her tenure is truly incalculable. We will miss her greatly, and Southtown will never be the same without her. During this year, please take the time to let her know what her service has meant to you and/or your business over the last three decades.

While many of us have a difficult time imagining this organization without Marti's amazing leadership, we must recognize that creating a successful transition is key to the future success of our organization. As we look forward to many more years of helping Southtown thrive, two words come to my mind: re-envision and renew. My hope is that during this time of transition, we can re-envision the ways in which Southtown can serve our neighborhood and businesses and help them thrive. Let's dream together new ways to continue the legacy of transformation in our community. Additionally, with a change in leadership, it is imperative that we renew our own commitments to this organization. As we move forward, our voices, hands, and feet will be as vital as ever to the continued success of Southtown.

Finally, a personal note. Many people think of Southtown like a Chamber of Commerce or business development organization. But one thing that makes Southtown unique is that it goes far beyond business development, into the work of building community. Members of all great communities know that relationships are the catalyst for growth, both qualitatively (relationally) and quantitatively (economic growth). At Southtown, we want to create the opportunities for relationship building between key constituents along the Troost corridor, which includes business owners, employees, institutions, and residents. Our monthly networking events, luncheons, and many more events serve as conduits for relational development. Next time you attend a Southtown event, remember that you play as big a role as anyone - by way of the relationship you offer.

Together, let's make 2015 a remarkable year for Southtown!

Submitted by Rev. Paul Bartel, Watershed Church
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