Saranac Lake’s good fortune

To the editor:

These are strange and anxious times: COVID waves, climate extremes, food and housing insecurity, best friends at partisan odds, disrupted workplaces.

Candidates with good sense, an ability to bridge differences and demonstrated resilience are more important than ever. Which is why I breathed a sigh of relief when I learned Melinda Little is running for mayor in Saranac Lake. As a former colleague and co-founder of a company with Melinda, I was the beneficiary of leadership qualities that make her a great candidate for mayor of Saranac Lake. She demonstrates:

¯ Intellect entwined with compassion. It’s not enough to be the smartest person in the room, or the most caring. Critical thinking and compassion intersect most effectively in the management of purposeful community. Melinda has made it her life’s work — in business and non-profit management — to develop and be part of purposeful communities. She’s smart and caring and brings both qualities to her work.

¯ Dogged persistence laced with imagination. The challenges communities face today are impossibly complex. Resources compete with climate change; infrastructure needs come up against the accelerating pace of social change; and baked-in partisanship calls for the wisdom of Solomon. Today’s leaders require stamina and creativity to stand in the maelstrom and think clearly. Melinda’s resilience and ability to transcend old habits of thinking offer Saranac Lake leadership for the future.

¯ A unique view of wealth. Melinda and I built careers on the idea that life and work are “fueled by” but “not just about” money. Wealth, as we spent years understanding, is more than the accumulation of financial capital; it is the intentional development of intellectual capital, social capital, and human capital, along with financial capital that is the secret sauce of success — for individuals, families, and communities. This expanded notion of wealth drives Melinda’s vision and offers Saranac Lake an opportunity to move into the future in an inclusive and innovative way.

I feel more than a little envy that Melinda has made Saranac Lake her home (lots of communities could use her talent). But I’m well aware that she’s a modern Johnny Appleseed — her model of leadership will plant seeds for the future and communities everywhere will find something to learn and replicate.

Joline Godfrey

Tenants Harbor, Maine


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