Below, please find a note from the incoming CEO of the Aspen Institute, Dan Porterfield, announcing the promotion of Tonya Hinch to the position of Executive Director of the Henry Crown Fellowship.
I couldn’t be more delighted about this. And I want to share a few words of my own:
Those who know me well know that I am joined at the hip with my daughter, Eva. She was born just a month before my Henry Crown graduation seminar. And, in my seminar “check-out”, I committed to being the best father I could be for her. Specifically, I committed to take advantage of the fact that my job required me to be in Colorado each summer by building a new family tradition: the annual family road trip. Six days from Virginia to Colorado, stopping for concerts, ballgames, corn palaces, giant balls of string -- and family lunches and dinners with Henry Crown Fellows.
One of the best parts of my job has been the relationships I’ve been able to build with so many amazing leaders around the globe. At the end of the year, the most tangible indication of these relationships is the sheer number of beautiful holiday cards that fall through our mail slot each December. As a kid, Eva loved opening those cards. And as much as she loved to see all of the photos of other kids on sailboats or families strolling on the beach, she was most interested in the cards that came with the Crossville, Tennessee postmark. Because these cards had photos of dogs. Bulldogs. Panting, snorting, drooling, waddling bulldogs.
These cards were from Tonya. The dog photos were always adorable. The messages – hand-written inside – were always personal. And so, as Denise and Eva and I sat down to plot our road trip in 2008 or so, Eva said “I wanna meet the bulldogs!” Denise said, “I wanna spend time with Tonya.” And so, we rolled in to Crossville and spent a wonderful evening and morning getting introduced to the town with its gazebo and train caboose. And to the local vinegar factory. Even to the local moonshine that Tonya hid behind our tailgate for our journey west. But, more important we were introduced to Tonya’s mom Brenda and to Tonya’s partner Mike -- and to Butler, Diesel and Penny Rose. I have a photo of Eva with those dogs that night. If I could bottle that smile, I would.
We spend lots of time in our seminar rooms getting to know one another. But there’s nothing like getting to know each other’s families and roots. That trip to Crossville made a lasting impression on me. For I got a glimpse into the real Tonya. A glimpse that touched my heart. And so, when Eric Motley told me that he was moving into a new role at the Institute and had to step away from his role as Managing Director, it didn’t take me more than a day or two to decide who I wanted to replace him.
Tonya Hinch is a true one-of-a-kind American original. My call to her to see if she might be interested in the job coincided with her every-five-year review of her life goals and priorities. Graph paper and all. She was, it turned out, at a perfect inflection point. She locked up her pocket knives and decks of playing cards (bless her heart) and flew to DC. And, in a matter of hours, we got to “yes.” Thank goodness. Tonya has not only brought a level of focus and organization into the Henry Crown Fellowship never before seen in these halls; much more important than that, she’s brought a smile, a warmth, a sense of delight, and a deep and abiding love that we know to be absolutely essential if we are to truly be a “fellowship” rather than a “program.” For that, I am eternally grateful.
And so, as I wind down my final days with the Aspen Institute, I am so happy to compose this missive bringing good tidings of new leadership as one of my last “official” acts.
The baton is hereby passed! Don’t let Penny Rose chew and swallow it!
Peter A. Reiling
Message from Dan Porterfield…
I write today with exciting news concerning our colleague Tonya Hinch.
For more than 20 years, the Henry Crown Fellowship has challenged cohorts of the country’s most entrepreneurial business leaders to embark on an intense personal journey of moving from ‘success to significance’ – inspiring them to apply their talents towards solving some of the world’s most important problems. During these years, the program has been led and stewarded by two exemplary, values-based executive director s – first by Keith Berwick, followed by Peter Reiling.
Today, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Tonya Hinch as the new executive director of the Henry Crown Fellowship, effective today.
Of course, many of you know Tonya . She is a 2007 Henry Crown Fellow and has been serving with drive and distinction as managing director of the program since 2014. She brings bold vision, strategic excellence, tireless energy, and the love of people to the work of developing values-based leaders and engaging the nearly 500 alumni of the program.
In my first months getting to know the Institute’s people and programs, it has been inspiring to hear Tonya’s ideas and see first-hand the outcomes of her work. With the endorsement of both Peter and the Henry Crown Fellowship Board of Overseers, Tonya has earned this promotion through her highly-effective, results-oriented leadership and all-around professionalism. There is no finer and more dedicated leader to move forward one of the Aspen Institute’s signature programs, and I am excited to be able to work with her.
Please join me in congratulating Tonya.
President and CEO-Elect
The Aspen Institute
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