An emotional Larry Minnix accepted LeadingAge’s Award of Honor Tuesday at the general session of the organization’s annual meeting. The LeadingAge Leadership Academy, begun during his 15-year tenure at the helm of the group, also was named in his honor.
The retiring president and CEO said he accepted the award on members’ behalf. “You are Award of Honor winners every day for the noble work you do,” he told attendees, “and as surely as my name will be etched on a plaque, your name is etched on the hearts and minds of people whose gratitude to you and admiration of you is deep and lasting, because you have transformed their lives.”
Minnix thanked several people who had supported him over the years, including his parents, wife, mentors, colleagues and others. “I wish I could name all of them, but they’re symbolized, really, by Katie Smith Sloan, who made me a better leader every week that I worked with her, and she’ll make you one if you follow her into the next era,” he said of his successor, who formally will begin her new duties in January.
Minnix said he decided to retire so that the person who followed him in the position would have the opportunity to “craft a relationship with a new White House and a new Congress, as I had the opportunity to do with two presidents and eight Congresses.” In retirement, he said, he is looking forward to spending more time with his family.
Working at LeadingAge, Minnix said, has “been personally fulfilling beyond my dreams.” He said he is most proud of “expanding the association’s horizons and taking on the big issues faced by an aging society: ageism, leadership development, finance, technology, new ways of doing things.” He thanked members for their willingness to tackle those issues, too, adding, “They don’t call us LeadingAge for nothing.”
Tuesday’s general session, peppered with standing ovations from the crowd, was a continuation of the expressions of appreciation for Minnix that have characterized this year’s annual meeting. In Monday’s general session, for instance, the organization’s new board of directors chair, Kathryn Roberts, noted his magnetic personality and ability to inspire joy and awe. Minnix, she said, “has elevated our mission and our spirit. Roberts thanked him “for contributions that are well beyond our highest expectations.”
Also at Monday’s general session, Sloan, currently chief operating officer of LeadingAge, said, “I have some big shoes to fill, figuratively and literally. …I so appreciate the opportunity I have had to work with Larry. He has been a great colleague, a mentor and a true friend.”
And at Sunday’s general session, outgoing LeadingAge Board of Directors Chair David Gehm said he was honored to have been able to work with Minnix. “This I know for sure: We will miss Larry and his incredible impact, and his contributions to this field will endure,” he added.
Others praised—and teased—Minnix in a video shown during Tuesday’s general session, which also featured Broadway performers singing “(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay,” by Minnix favorite Otis Redding, and the reading of a poem that included audience participation. Minnix’s family joined him on stage after his remarks.
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