A look back with Board Chair Rick Jensen
Rick Jensen is in awe and inspired by the people and communities of the Columbia Basin.
“So often when we look at challenges—globally, provincially or within the Basin—we think there’s not a lot that we can do,” he says. But his time on the Trust’s Board of Directors, which will be coming to an end this year, has proven that people excel at overcoming difficulties and seizing opportunities. “I remember my first year on the Board, when I couldn’t believe what the region, with the Trust at its side, was accomplishing.”
Seven years later, the current Board Chair is even more pleased. In that time, the Trust developed 13 strategic priorities. “I wondered how big of an impact we could have on those priorities in just five years, and have been totally amazed as to what’s been accomplished. We’ll soon write a report card on the results and it’ll be pretty impressive.”
Solid investments, which provide the funding for the Trust’s many programs and services, are one of the keys. In just his time with the Trust, revenues have jumped from nearly $26 million to $64 million. “This means there are even more funds that benefit people in the Basin through all the programming we offer, all the organizations we support and all the investments we make.”
Listening to people is another key. In 2014/15, the Trust visited 34 communities and received some 17,000 thoughts that helped develop its 13 strategic priorities. “I was proud to be part of an organization that was able to reach out and talk to all these people in the Basin,” he says. This process will be happening again; Our Trust, Our Future 2020 will be setting new goals that will guide the Trust over the coming years. And behind the Trust’s investments, outreach, programs and services stand high calibre staff and Board members, each committed to their roles and each with their own talents. “It has been a privilege to be part of the Board and staff,” says Jensen. “What I’ve learned from them is going to be with me for a long, long time.”
As the Trust looks ahead, Jensen sees “exciting times.” Twenty-five years ago, the organization was simply a good idea—now it’s a corporation with multibillion-dollar assets. In another 25 years, “I think we’ll all be amazed, grateful and much better off as a region.” He encourages the Trust to continue to listen to the people in the Basin, maximize its investments and focus on programming, with the support of excellent staff and Board members and dedicated leadership. “If everybody is behind it, there’s no stopping what can happen.”
Rick Jensen retired from the Trust Board December 31, 2019. He joined as a director in 2013, served as Vice-Chair in 2015 and became Chair in 2016.