The shelves in my mother's office were lined with binders. Some spines had handwritten labels, others boasted impressive seals or embossed text. The contents, however, were largely the same: agendas, meeting minutes, financial statements and reports from the various boards on which she served. Viewed together, the organizations she helped to lead—charities, social justice organizations, two schools devoted to young women, urban planning groups and a health care organization—revealed her passion: to make her community better for those who lived in it and for those still to come.

As children, my sisters and brother and I did not understand this impulse. What were all these papers? Why wasn't she getting paid for this work? And where was dinner?

We didn't understand that she considered herself compensated when a facility to keep low-income girls off the streets after school finally opened its doors, when a big-box store had to landscape its massive parking lot to cut down on runoff and water pollution, and when an audit ensured that every single dollar given to a charity was spent wisely.

Now I understand. I recognize that these organizations, which make large cities and small towns places where businesses and families can thrive, require the very best leadership. And I am just beginning to comprehend the dedication, time and sheer hard work it takes to guide an institution like a school, a charity or a hospital. Our goal at Trustee is to make that job a little easier by giving you the information you need to ask good questions, make sound decisions and prepare for the future.

I am proud to join the staff of Trustee and to help you lead the most important organizations in our communities. I encourage you to let me know what resources you need and what topics you would like to see covered in the magazine. Contact me at jjeffries@healthforum.com or 312-893-6892.