The Slow Road...

It’s been a long winter and in typical Northeast style, spring is slow to take hold. We get a few warm days that tease us, and then temperatures drop again. Sometimes we get a bit more snow, and we all wait a bit longer to put away our winter coats in place of shorts and flip flops.

This spring at FHI, we experienced a significant milestone: we have officially said “goodbye” to our founder, Ruth Fitzgerald. Ruth retired at the end of March. Like Spring arriving in the Northeast, Ruth took what she calls “the slow road” to retirement. She handed over the reins of FHI to me nine years ago but has remained an important part of our operations and culture since then. We like to tease her about her “slow road;” yet we are all grateful for what she created and what she left to FHI’s next generation. Ruth has left a lasting mark on so many of us. Ruth gave our industry and our staff a great gift: She gave us FHI.

For me, Ruth is one of a small handful of people in my life that really shaped it. When I joined FHI in 2003, she immediately made me feel that my voice mattered. She gave me the freedom and respect to learn about and contribute to running a business – a challenge and opportunity that reenergized me and my career.

Beyond that, Ruth taught me that it’s possible to be driven and successful while remaining compassionate and kind. She taught me that’s it’s ok to be organized but to always remain flexible. She taught me to be patient and comfortable enough to “sit with my thoughts” before making a big decision. Ruth helped me mature as a professional and as a person. I will always be grateful for the opportunity that Ruth gave me at FHI – it’s reshaped my life and career in ways I never anticipated.

Most of all, Ruth gave me the gift of patience. She taught me to slow down. Just like the coming of spring… or the going of Ruth 😊

Ruth and Susan
FHI's Ruth Fitzgerald, Susan Vanbenschoten, Ken Livingston, and Carla Tillery

I hope you are all having a great spring! Please feel free to contact me anytime, svanbenschoten@fhiplan.com