RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Separating entrepreneurship in North Carolina and Monica Doss will be an extremely difficult – if not downright impossible – task.

To paraphrase Reggie Jackson, Doss is the straw that stirs the drink when it comes to the Council for Entrepreneurial Development. She’s done so for 22 years.

Lacking Jackson’s massive ego, Doss would never say such a thing. But it’s the truth.

Doss’ decision to resign as CED president as of May 31 stunned many people when the news was announced Wednesday after a CED board meeting. The board knew in advance that Doss was quitting, but she had kept her decision very quiet.

By giving the CED three months notice, Doss granted the board a window to find a replacement. For the sake of the organization, the board needs to act quickly.

Why?

To be honest, running the CED is equivalent to herding cats. Like any organization, the CED has people seeking to advance individual agendas. But entrepreneurs can be more pushy than other executives – it’s a key trait among people who have the courage to strike out on their own. For example, some board members pushed extremely hard for the CED to launch a conference focused simply on medical devices.

Doss has also had to manage demands for more conferences and more training for entrepreneurs while also dealing with a staff that regularly undergoes turnover. Many of the best and brightest at CED over the years have been recruited away by various companies and organizations that are CED members.

She has juggled day-to-day activities and yet kept the CED at the forefront of change. For example, the CED recently put on a conference about globalization.

The CED is lucky that Doss did not burn out years ago. But she stayed at the helm, growing the organization to more than 5,000 members representing more than 1,000 companies. It is now a state-wide organization. She has received numerous awards for her leadership – including national Entrepreneur of the Year from Ernst & Young – and those awards have been well deserved.

Doss is likely to take some time off then sign on as an executive with some company and try her hand as a private sector exec. The bet here is that she’ll be as successful in that career as she has been at the CED.

Here’s a tip of The Skinny cap to Monica Doss.