Lea Endres, my co-founder and previously our President, is now our CEO. We’ve been running NationBuilder together for over five years and our plan was always that if anything happened to me, she would take over.
Well, this year I got very sick. It started with a respiratory virus I caught at a speaking engagement. This wouldn’t normally be that big of a deal, except that I have a compromised immune system to prevent my body from rejecting the lung transplant I received 10 years ago. Which made it a very big deal and set off months of complications with my lungs and kidneys. I was in and out of the hospital constantly, and there were multiple times when the doctors didn’t think I would survive.
Each time though, I made it through, and I made it through because the NationBuilder community was there for me -- staff, investors, board members. Lea orchestrated all of it, not only running the company through this very difficult time, but she was also in the ICU with me every single day fighting for my life. What she did was unprecedented, even super human. Our board member Ben Horowitz wrote his own account of this, and anyone who witnessed even a fraction of what Lea did this year knows she is exactly the right person to lead NationBuilder.
And I’m not going anywhere. I’m already back at work and the doctors are stunned at the speed of my recovery. I still have work to do, and I’ll do that as executive chairman of the Board. I’m thrilled to be alive and back in it with all of you, particularly right now when NationBuilder is needed more than ever.
Our new CEO brings operational excellence, a brilliance for building teams, and a deep love for people that is far too rare in tech companies. We do hard things, and Lea knows how to do that more than anyone I have ever known. I’m living proof of that and so is this company.