Important Messages from the President & Board Chair

Posted on October 02, 2019

Message from the President

As the season begins to transition, Lakeside will also be going through a transition. It is with bittersweet feelings that I announce my retirement as Lakeside’s President and CEO, effective October 31. This decision comes at a time in my life when I feel I must focus primarily on my health and family. As I continue to recover from recent cancer surgery, I intend to move back to Columbus fulltime to be closer to my family. However, I also intend to maintain our residences in Lakeside. What a blessing it has been to serve each of you and the broader Lakeside community over these past 15 years.

Back in 2004, I was prepared to join Lakeside’s Board of Directors when the opportunity to more directly serve came into focus following the announcement of my predecessor’s retirement. I had just completed a small group study at my church in Dublin focused on finding one’s purpose in serving others and felt the calling to serve and lead Lakeside Chautauqua. Since that time, I can’t even begin to express how much I’ve grown personally and professionally. What a humbling experience it has been and I cherish the many lifelong friends I have made here in Lakeside.

From the beginning, I have strived to:

  • Recommit Lakeside to its mission and support of the 4 pillars of the Chautauqua Movement
  • Strengthen Lakeside’s signature Chautauqua program
  • Build a financial foundation giving us the ability to invest millions in our existing infrastructure while also investing in new infrastructure across the campus
  • Ensure full transparency with stakeholders
  • Encourage private investment in the community by homeowners and businesses
  • Enhance the beauty of Lakeside across the grounds with gardens, flowers and irrigation systems
  • Establish new businesses to better serve the needs of the community and our guests
  • Recruit and better recognize our amazing volunteers
  • Improve the overall Lakeside Chautauqua brand, creating many more communication paths
  • Lead the effort to plan long term for a bright future

During my tenure, I have witnessed how this community has come together to achieve many positive outcomes as we pay it forward for future generations. Some of the major highlights for me include:

  • Establishing the Lakeside Chautauqua Foundation and creating a culture of philanthropy
  • Securing Standards of Excellence certification from the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations (OANO), one of only 38 institutions across the state to receive this honor
  • Substantially growing Lakeside’s Endowment and Annual Fund
  • #GivingTuesday successes... And please support this year’s project to revitalize the Pavilion!
  • Enhancing the caliber of the lecturers, preachers and performing artists we attract
  • Launching new enterprises including the Lakeside Farmers’ Market, Artists-N-Cahoots, The Fine Print Bookstore, Lakeside Chautauqua Realty, Lakeside Laundromat, Bluebird Café and Lago Coastal Café
  • Funding new facilities and revitalizing existing spaces, such as the Children’s Pool & Splash Park; Grindley Playground in Bettinger Park; Memorial Garden at Chautauqua Park; Grindley Aquatic & Wellness Campus; Hubbard Pickleball Center; LifeTrail Outdoor Wellness Park and nature/fitness trail; Bettinger Park sports courts; Hoover improvements including a new lobby gallery, sound system and ceiling fans; Lakeside’s teen center; and the Lakeside Community Garden, among others
  • Leading the effort to establish the Chautauqua Trail, a cultural heritage trail linking all remaining Chautauqua communities
  • Working with the editors of the Wall Street Journal to develop a top-trending article discussing the resurgence of the Chautauqua Movement and profiling Lakeside as a leader
  • Installing new technology in our major facilities
  • Improving aesthetics throughout Lakeside
  • Winning the America in Bloom competition and establishing Lakeside as the “Most Beautiful Community” nationwide for our size and establishing Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile
  • Developing a 20-year, community-driven Master Plan

I hope you share a sense of pride for what we have accomplished together as one of the most unique communities in America. As a result, we have become a role model for many of the other Chautauqua communities across the U.S. and Canada.

It has been a distinct honor to have served Lakeside and I want to thank all of our stakeholders for their commitment to cultural excellence. I also would like to thank all of you who have served on the Boards of Lakeside Chautauqua, Lakeside Chautauqua Foundation and Historic Preservation & Design Review. I also deeply appreciate the Lakeside Chautauqua Board for its decision to honor me with President Emeritus status. I will continue to offer my assistance through this leadership transition, as needed.

As well, I want to thank all of you, particularly our incredible donors and volunteers. It has been a real privilege to serve alongside each of you these last 15 years. Thank you for your support and love, especially your love for one another. Lakeside is a community like no other in the world and it will forever be part of my life.

All the Best,

Kevin Sibbring
Lakeside Chautauqua, President and CEO

Message from the Board Chair

To the Lakeside Community:

Today, it is with sadness that I write this letter upon Kevin Sibbring’s announcement of his upcoming retirement on October 31. Kevin has served the Lakeside Chautauqua community as President and CEO for the last 15 years. All one must do is look around the campus to see how much was accomplished under Kevin’s leadership. Chautauqua Park and its Memorial Garden, Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile, the Grindley Aquatic & Wellness Campus, and many other improvements.

Lakeside has flourished in more ways than campus facilities. We have a most competent and professional staff that is responsive to the needs of residents and visitors. Many new guests and new homeowners are bringing their children and families to Lakeside, ensuring its success for the next generation of Lakesiders. This, too, was accomplished under Kevin’s leadership.

Maybe the most far-reaching part of Kevin’s service was the completion and adoption of our Master Plan, our guiding force over the next 20 years, to be used by our next leader during their tenure.

I’ve had the privilege of serving with Kevin since 2009, as Lakeside Chautauqua Foundation Board member, Association Board member and now Board Chair. His ability to articulate a vision, generate a positive response and communicate with Lakesiders is unmatched. For this, and many other things, he has my respect, friendship and encouragement as he moves on to the next chapter.

The Association Board will soon start a formal search process. It is expected that this will take several months with hope that we can announce new leadership sometime in the first part of 2020. During the search period, Dan Dudley has been named Interim President of the Lakeside Chautauqua. Dan and his staff have the full confidence of the Board during this interim period, and Kevin has made himself available to assist during the transition.

Please join me in thanking Kevin for his leadership and service to Lakeside and wishing him Godspeed as he begins this new chapter to his life.

In the spirit of Chautauqua,

Kurt Geisheimer
Lakeside Association Board of Directors, Chair