As we close out 2019, and enter 2020, I wanted to take a moment to share some reflections on this past year, as well as the excitement around what is to come next year for SCORE.
 
We spoke in August at the National Leadership Conference about several values that I believe are important to achieving One SCORE.
 
First is consensus building - while no one person, including me, has all the answers, together we have a wealth of knowledge and experience that are exactly what SCORE needs to be the best organization it can be. Recently, great efforts have been made to learn from one another and determine how to best support SCORE, including listening tours, regional meetings, field leadership calls, Engage early adopter sessions, Help Desk tickets, and more. I heartily thank those of you who have felt empowered to speak your mind for the good of the organization. As we reaffirm in our values statement, diversity is important in all ways - including background, style, experience and perspective. At HQ, we are listening to you, and we are committed to continually making improvements based on your input.
 
Second, transparency remains critically important to us.  We can handle any challenges together, as One SCORE. We have overcome several major obstacles this past year, including securing $11.7 million dollars in congressional funding. We were able to do this by efficiently and effectively addressing the audit findings, and because of the positive, meaningful impact you have in your communities. We must continue to do both of these things in order to grow SCORE's impact together.
 
Third is holding ourselves accountable. You have held me accountable for projects big and small. You have also held yourselves accountable to SCORE, your chapter and your clients by completing Centralized Accounting, moving to standard @scorevolunteer.org emails, completing the Code of Ethics, and maintaining the highest level of quality for our clients. I appreciate how we rely on each other - both HQ and volunteers, to hold ourselves to these high standards.
 
By operating in accordance with these values, we have delivered on this year's plan and strengthened our organizational foundation. My hope is that we have started to rebuild your confidence in SCORE, so that you can feel supported by that foundation, and remain focused on our mission of serving the entrepreneurs who need our help.
 
We cannot rest on our laurels or be content with status quo. Your work as a SCORE volunteer makes a difference. Your mentoring and education have a direct, positive impact on the communities you serve. Moving forward, our focus needs to be determining ways to help more people so that we can make an even greater difference and have an even bigger impact on the entrepreneurial landscape.
 
Some of the ways we are working on supporting growth today include strategic partnerships, led by the SCORE Foundation. For example, Facebook has partnered with SCORE to focus on outreach to veterans who want to start businesses, with a nationwide promotional campaign and 10 local events across the country in 2020. We are looking to form more of these partnerships to increase the clients we serve and operate in support of our values - that Clients Matter, Volunteers Matter, Lifelong Learning Matters, and Diversity Matters.
 
2020 presents a powerful opportunity for SCORE, and I am more excited than ever for our future. My excitement comes from a deep and unshakable  certainty that our true north - our mission and vision - is the right goal and the right direction. Every day, SCORE is becoming a more collaborative, transparent and accountable organization, therefore better supporting our volunteers, which will lead to driving more successful outcomes for our clients. We have a mission that is the right mission. We have a vision that is exciting, and we will continue to grow and evolve towards that future together.
 
Have a Happy New Year, and I look forward to working with all of you in 2020.

Bridget Weston, Acting CEO