Earlier this summer, my longtime friend and colleague, Anne Hamilton Bark, shared with me that she has decided to spend more time with her kids and leave HighGround. Anne joined HighGround in 1999 – over 15 years ago. Since that time, she married our good friend Richard Bark and brought two beautiful children into the world. I originally met Anne when we both worked for Governor Symington in 1994 – 22 years ago – a lifetime and eternity ago.
In the 22 years we have known one another, I have never met a more loyal, straightforward and candid person. Quite frankly, those are not qualities that one associates with public affairs these days. Truly and most sincerely, Anne is a one of a kind person who has helped me and our firm through numerous challenges, both professional and personal. Her presence will be missed, but her spirit and life moves on.
Certainly 19 years as co-workers and friends is a long time – the challenges we faced seemed daunting. Her invaluable contributions in our work for the Salt River Project, the City of Yuma, and the effort to build a new stadium for the Fiesta Bowl and the NFL Cardinals to mention a few showed me, time and again, that she was an invaluable asset to our team.
Anne Hamilton Bark had no quit in her and so it initially surprised me that she wanted to leave. But her life work is not done and her tasks are more important today than anything she could ever have done for us here at HighGround.
Certainly, Anne’s choice of spending the precious amount of time we all have with her kids and her husband is the right choice. How many of us rush through our careers and look back at the time our kids were young and said, “I wish I would have spent more time with them?”
Change has brought a new opportunity for us here at HighGround. We are all extremely excited to announce that Courtney McKinstry will join our team in October as our Senior Account Executive for Government Affairs. Courtney was recently named “Best Government Lobbyist,” by the Arizona Capitol Times for her work on behalf of Attorney General Mark Brnovich. Prior to her work with our Attorney General, she served as a Majority Research Analyst for the Arizona House of Representatives. We are thrilled to have Courtney on board!
And so, as Anne’s ship sails East and Courtney’s ship sails West, we know they are propelled by the same winds written about in the poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox:
“One ship sails East, And another West, by the self-same winds that blow. Tis the set of the sails and not the gales, that tells the way we go.
Like the winds of the sea Are the waves of time, as we journey along through life, tis the set of the soul, that determines the goal, and not the calm or the strife.”
We are blessed by both the comings and the goings and the challenges we face along the way.