“The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be”

When I first heard this quote from Yogi Berra , I thought it was a malapropism, which is an unintentional and often humorous distortion of a word or phrase.  But as the Brain Injury Association of Virginia  board and staff members have been focusing on succession planning, I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot.

When I started at BIAV 18 years ago, the future of the organization was very different than what it is now.  We needed computers, a website, a database, a reliable source of income and other things to make us a more effective organization, and my future was totally focused on bringing those changes about. Now, all these years later, we’ve done those things and more, and we’ve been incredibly blessed to have a number of truly dedicated employees who have been critical to our successes.

When I took over as Executive Director, my goal was to leave BIAV in better shape than I found it, and an absolutely critical part of our continued progress is keeping an eye on the future of the association not only after I’m gone, but after other staff move on to other things, and for years to come.

This year, the Board chose Succession Planning as our Strategic Planning focus.  They are working to find new Board members who are willing and committed enough to serve. They are making sure they understand my job responsibilities and the qualities and skills they would look for in a new Executive Director (I’m not going anywhere, but the time to have these sorts of discussions is not when an emergency has happened and everybody’s under stress).   In coordination with the Board’s focus, the BIAV staff have been discussing our own succession planning; from cleaning up outdated paper and electronic files, to updating job descriptions and increasing salaries that ensure we can hire the kind of people we need to move the organization forward.

While staying in the present is important to our day to day performance, we do a disservice to not plan ahead. The future ain’t what it used to be for any of us because our lives change every day and we find ourselves on paths we never planned to walk; we’re all anxious about and planning for the future, and whether it’s you, or someone you love and care for, it can be a lot to handle.   

Taking care of yourself is important to your day to day performance, and BIAV can provide strategies to help manage some of your worry.  Some are on our website  and we’re creating new resources for planning for the future; make sure you’re signed up for our e-newsletter to get the information on these opportunities as they come out.  If you’re a caregiver, consider attending out Caregivers Forum in November.

Meanwhile, take deep breaths; make a realistic list of things you need to get done; accept uncertainty, and write down 5 things you’re grateful for, and take time every day to do something that makes you happy.


~Anne McDonnell, Executive Director, BIAV