I have worked with Cassie Franklin for the past six years. I have been able to see her lead and learn from her staff, while growing the impact, reputation and reach of the organization that she and I take so much pride in: Cocoon House.
When I heard Cassie would be running for mayor, it seemed silly that anyone would bother running against her. Let me explain.
Most of us know a friend who plays a sport. Many have played at a top high school or even in college. However, few of us know someone who competed in the Olympics, because that level of athleticism and dedication is on a whole other level. Cassie is on that level in the arena of leadership.
Cassie became CEO of an organization that was very rough around the edges, and was in a financial situation that likely would have seen it close its doors within a year or two. Under her leadership, she transformed that organization into a powerhouse that is the clear leader in its field, seen nationwide for its innovation and success.
She strengthen our finances so we were more stable, no matter how the economy shifted, and made the difficult decisions to be responsible with the resources we had. And even while being more fiscally responsible, the organization grew.
Ask any of the staff what makes her a great leader, and I promise you they will all say a different version of the same thing: “Cassie made me better.” Cassie develops leaders by building on their strengths while holding them to high standards. And she leads them by meeting even higher standards for herself. She listens to those who work with her. She learns from them and inspires them to dream bigger, to do more with what they have and think of new solutions when the old ones don’t work.
Imagine every city department: parks, police, fire, public works, libraries – all led by an individual who brings out the best in them by listening to their needs and inspiring them to innovate.
I will tell you from experience: when that is who is leading you, you are eager to be held to a high standard. That is the leader I have had the privilege of working for these past six years in Cassie Franklin.
I don’t just believe – I know – that Cassie would do more than improve the City of Everett. She would transform it through innovation, collaboration and leadership.
If you want to know what a next-level leader is like, go shake Cassie’s hand and say hello. You’ll know it when you see it.
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