Gratitude & optimism: Reflections from Ross as he begins his next chapter

This is it, my final day as an employee of the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM). It has been almost 13 years in the making; more than a quarter of my life.

For those that were not around, I started at CEDAM in March of 2008. The country was in the midst of the Great Recession and Michigan had been hit particularly hard. What drew me to CEDAM was the opportunity to support the work of our members who were making substantial impacts for families and communities across this state. Now, nearly 13 years later, that work continues; its importance no less pronounced as we continue to confront the greatest challenge of our lifetime.

I believe that if you were to ask around, I don’t know that many people would consider me an overtly, outwardly optimist. Perhaps it’s because the natural resting face I have does not come with a smile, or because I use sarcasm and dry humour as a means to stay grounded. Regardless, I am, albeit possibly closeted, an optimist. As I look ahead at the future of this amazing place called Michigan, I am filled with a tremendous amount of optimism and you are the reason.

During the last 13 years, I have had the honor to work with, and represent, so many amazing people who call our state home. People who are making a real, and concrete difference in the lives of those living all across our great state. A week did not go by where I was not humbled by your dedication and commitment to improve your community, your world, and make it a better place than you found it. Without question, I leave CEDAM inspired by you.

The work you do as a member, supporter, follower, partner or employee of CEDAM is making a difference. I’ve seen it far too many times to count over my time here. There is amazing work taking place building a sense of community and financial stability across Michigan and you are the reason that is happening. I am leaving CEDAM a better place than when I came here, and this is because of you.

On Tuesday, I will begin my new job as a financial services policy specialist at the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services. My role will be to “influence public policy to ensure access to safe and secure financial services that are fundamental to opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents.” I am grateful for all I have learned in my time at CEDAM, and for the many people who taught and inspired me. It has enabled me to be in a position to pursue this new opportunity.

I look forward to watching all this great work carry on and will continue to support your efforts. I hope that our paths will continue to cross and should I be able to help in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Be well, stay safe and keep on doing the amazing things you do!

Ross H. Yednock