Carol Lamm was a dear colleague, a wonderful mentor and a treasured friend. She brought clarity and purpose to solving tough problems and had a knack for shining light at times and in places where it was sorely needed. She left her mark on the people and organizations she touched.
Starting in 1978 and continuing through her retirement in 2015, Carol excelled in a range of leadership roles at the Mountain Association (then MACED), including Operations and Finance Director, Director of Program Innovation and Executive Vice President. She began her career at MACED in its earliest days and helped to establish the fledgling nonprofit that has grown to be one of Eastern Kentucky’s anchor organizations.
After 10 years at MACED, she left in 1988 to become the founding director of the Brushy Fork Institute, a new leadership program at Berea College. From her time at MACED, she brought a deep knowledge of the region and a well-informed analysis of the forces at play. With her keen eye for structure and process, and her strong financial skills, Carol set the course for Brushy Fork to become an organization that continues to provide excellent support to leaders, organizations and communities in Appalachia.
Carol hired me as a Program Associate at Brushy Fork in April 1990, and over the next four years helped me transition into my first professional job. She was a gifted teacher, kind, yet always rigorous. When she left in 1994, I had the privilege of building on the strong foundation she had established.
Carol returned to MACED for five years, then left again to pursue her CPA training, finally landing at MACED again in 2002. When I joined MACED’s staff in 2012, I was particularly pleased to be working with Carol again as she helped guide me through another career transition. Carol had planned to retire in 2015, but when President Justin Maxson announced his departure, I asked her to stay just a little longer to support me once more as I got my feet under me in a new role. She graciously agreed to stay on another six months.
Scarcely a day goes by that we don’t see Carol’s influence on our work. We would not be the organization we are today without her influence, personally and professionally, on the structure, culture and ethos that continue to direct our steps. Those of us who worked with her, at the Mountain Association and across other organizations, know how she led us by example, quietly and steadfastly, to see with clarity, listen with compassion and act with integrity. She made us better people and showed us how to build better organizations. She lives on in us and her work will continue to touch lives and make this world a better place, just as she did.