I am not big on gold watches or plaques. While they are historical ways to thank people for their dedication and service, I find that too often, a watch ends up in a drawer and forgotten, and the plaque languishes dustily on a shelf. To me, there is power in words and stories. Oral tradition has been around forever and, in my mind, has never lost its impact because stories stick. This brings me to Jesús Capó.
This month he ends his stint on our HFA board of directors. The way it works in our association, when you elevate to the officer level, you ascend from secretary-treasurer, vice president, president-elect, president, and then chairman. At that point, you have to rotate off for at least a year. The officer tenure should be a total of 5 years. For Jesús, our chairman, he is ending his 6th, which is a unique part of his HFA story.
Back in 2019, we lost a few key board members to life changes, and in an unprecedented fashion, Jesús, board president at the time, and all officers were asked to stay in that position an added year. That year, 2020, proved to be like no other. COVID aside, HFA also went through a change in staff leadership as I took over as CEO in August of that tumultuous year.
For those who don’t know Jesús, he is the Chief Information Officer at El Dorado Furniture, a family-owned furniture chain in Florida. He and his brothers run the company that was founded by their father. If you have not read the El Dorado story, I recommend you do. It is an inspirational story that is exemplary of the American Dream.
Jesús is hilarious and gregarious. He is fun to be around and a “must invite” to any social gathering. That engaging exterior balances his CPA-by-training pragmatism. Jesús always asks pertinent questions, whether they are comfortable or not. I am talking about common sense questions. Like me, he is not a fan of a rocket science approach.
As someone who took over as CEO in 2020, in the early throes of the pandemic, I am not sure we could have become the HFA we are today; a battle-tested, member-centric, industry-first association without Jesús’ leadership.
“Thank you” doesn’t say enough as Jesús Capó rolls off the HFA board. The best way to honor him is for HFA to keep evolving and become stronger as we strive to serve and represent our industry better. That is something that won’t get shoved in a drawer or collect dust on a shelf.