kenny holdsman imageToday marks the 365th day of the beginning of Philadelphia Youth Basketball as a real live enterprise.  On June 1st 2015, I began my official tenure as PYB’s first employee.  The past 12 months have been the most exhilarating and productive of my “mid career” work life.

The creation of a start-up organization, whether for-profit or non-profit, is something that I have become intimately familiar with during the past year.  The metaphor which our staff and board team often use is the notion of simultaneously “building and flying an airplane.”  At the very same time, we are designing programs, hiring and training staff, recruiting young people, raising philanthropic dollars to resource these programs, and building systems to collect data and evaluate these programs to ensure continuous improvement.  Similar “non-linear” work plans are being created and executed for the other dimensions of building not just a program, but a high-impact organization, and a winning capital campaign to support the construction of a world-class youth center.

Leading a start-up organization requires an abundance of energy, an appetite for risk, a willingness to live with ambiguity and uncertainty, a strong team of colleagues and supporters, a supportive family, and of course a high degree of passion for the mission of the organization.  While Philadelphia Youth Basketball is and will always be way bigger than any one person, especially me, I thought I would share these observations on the eve of my second year of leadership with PYB. I look forward to the weeks and months ahead, and I can assure you that the exhilaration I receive from the day-to-day work far outweighs the exhaustion of long days and weeks.  May year number two of PYB’s early life be filled with continued progress and successes, both big and small.

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