By David Woodward, President of A.C.E.
The staff members, board of directors, volunteers and friends of Associates in Cultural Exchange wish to express our profound appreciation for the life of former board chairman, Jim Potter, who passed away on May 6, 2014. Jim joined the A.C.E. Board of Directors in May, 2007, and demonstrated his commitment and initiative from the first meeting on. Within a short time he was asked to take on the chairmanship of the board, a role he fulfilled from 2008 to 2011.
Jim had already spent a lifetime building, creating, caring and inspiring others around the world, so he was a natural fit with A.C.E.’s commitment to “making the world your community.” Jim’s high school experience in New Zealand as a Rotary exchange student was a life-changing experience which led to his passion for traveling the world and subsequently taking his family to live in Chile for a year in 1997-1998.
In the Pacific Northwest, Jim was a key advocate for getting regional leaders to go abroad on study missions to learn about the bigger world. He likewise encouraged the A.C.E. Board of Directors to travel as a group leading to a first-ever board retreat outside of Seattle in 2011 on the campus of Montana State University. Never one to miss an opportunity to learn and grow, Jim and his wife Rebecca jumped at the chance to go with the Seattle Chamber of Commerce on its historic trip to the United Arab Emirates and the A.C.E.-led follow on trip to the Sultanate of Oman in 2009. In 2011 Jim and A.C.E. President Woodward traveled together to Brazil to explore opportunities to establish new cultural exchange ties between Brazil and the U.S., following their participation in the Seattle Chamber of Commerce study mission to Chile.
Jim was an enthusiastic supporter of A.C.E., constantly recruiting new board members, sharing enthusiastically about his involvement in international education with friends, and running in The Run About the World for the first two years of this annual community event. Jim was fearless in taking on new adventures, asking great questions, and encouraging those who needed his support. He was unique in his ability to envision possibilities and to draw people together in order to accomplish great things. Most importantly, Jim always kept his commitments – his word was his bond.
Finally, Jim and Rebecca and their family have been amazingly hospitable with their ranch in Snohomish, welcoming various international visitors hosted by A.C.E. staff, as well as hosting the A.C.E. board of directors for its annual retreat in November 2013. Many a visitor came away feeling blessed by the special opportunity to ride a horse, and receive a traditional welcome to rural family life in America. The Potters have been a great example of how to make friends no matter the culture.
It was a great honor to have Jim agree to join us 7 years ago in “making the world your community.” Jim embodied what everyone at A.C.E. aims to achieve – a life dedicated to helping people of all cultures to learn to love and help one another. We are inspired by his example and more dedicated than ever to pursue this goal in his memory.”
Read more about Jim in the Seattle Times Obituaries: