“If you’re setting up a charity…just put a reminder in your calendar for five years’ time saying ‘time to go’.”
This is one of the points raised in an anonymous Guardian article titled: “‘Founder syndrome’: the strong personality crippling my charity.”
Lotta Hitschmanova was the founder of USC Canada in 1945, and stayed at the helm til the early 1980s. History might have been written very differently, if Lotta had moved on after her first 5 years.
Here’s what her biographer Clyde Sanger has related:
“Dr Lotta herself was feeling the strain. During 1951, she certainly contemplated leaving the USC, for she filled in an application form for the job of director of information in the department of National Health and Welfare.
“And at the 1952 annual meeting, she asked for the early appointment of an assistant director, who could undertake most of the travelling and fund raising for at least a year.
“‘After doing the job of at least two full-time people for 6 ½ years, my physical strength and resistance have diminished to the point where I feel I must spend at least one year mostly in Ottawa…’”
Fortunately, Lotta did decide to continue at the helm of USC, and Canadian history has been the beneficiary.