Admiral of the Fleet, Madam, Senator, Colonel, Alderman. Viscount, Chief, Doctor, Justice, Professor, Principal….What do all these things have in common?

They are all titles.

Some titles are given as an “accident of birth,” (think Prince Harry) some are conferred, some are given and others are earned.  There are royal titles, titles of nobility, academic titles, social titles and honorifics.

A job title often describes the responsibility of a position, the level of the job or both.  It allows members of the enterprise to know the type of work you do and the level of experience you have.  It also tells people from outside an organization of what your role is, what your responsibilities are, and where you are on the organizational chart.

A recent study about how importance of a title found that seven out of ten employees would take a better job title over getting a higher salary.

Recently an article was shared with me, “What Does a Chief Operating Officer Do?”  I’m not sure if it came from Indeed, Investopedia, the Society of Human Resource Managers, or one of the many dozens of organizational development enterprises.  I glanced at it quickly and shuffled it to the side with the intent on reading it more carefully at some future time (its what we all do with the hundreds of emails we receive).  Rather than just leaving it in the email format, I actually printed this one out so I’d come back to it….which I did.

The article (which was a one pager definition of the role) stated, “The COO of a company is second in command.  This professional reports to the CEO with a focus on operationalizing strategy.  The COO is tasked with implementing daily operations, aligned with that goal and the company’s strategies.  A COO is chosen specifically to complement the strengths and weakness of the CEO, or to work in tandem to bring the best leadership to the forefront.”

Some of you can see where this is going…

I read the opening paragraph and immediately thought, ‘This describes exactly what Jamie (Richman) is.” 

Yes, she has been the Director of Community Impact and impactful, she has been, but does that really tell others of who she is, what she does, and where she sits in the hierarchy of the organizations?

Over the last few years, Jamie has jumped from Federation to Foundation to JEA to fundraising to outreach to programming to physical plant to staff development.  All along, gaining new skills and new expertise.  Basically, she has her hand in everything we are and everything we do. And most everything that Jamie has her hand in comes out positively.

In the world of community development there is nothing more satisfying that watching someone you work with bloom into confident leadership.

She didn’t receive a new title by birth or station, she earned it through commitment to the Federation and Alliance, through continued professional development, and with plain old hard work. 

Please join me in congratulating Jamie Richman on her new title Chief Operating Officer of the JEA and Federation.