Two years is a long time to work with your colleagues virtually, some of whom are truly like family, especially after experiencing hardship and challenge after challenge together. On the days you’ve been pushed to a limit you didn’t know you had, you want to hug them and only them. Two years is a long time to see your friends less often and your family less often. Two years is a long time for many of us to learn how to cope with (and question) the impacts of a global pandemic, loss, social injustice, the “new normal,” and change within ourselves, our families, jobs, and communities.
In November of 2019, I traveled to Australia for work, and I spent time with many colleagues that I had either never met in person or hadn’t seen in many years. We strategized and planned, and it was energizing; I couldn’t wait for what was next – seeing through our vision and plans for our study abroad students in 2020 in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.
Needless to say, 2020 didn’t go as planned, and a lot happened in the past two years. I won’t go into details (maybe in another blog), but I finally went to my first in-person event in Denver, Colorado, in March of 2022. Just one day after International Women’s Day, I attended Women Powering Change – an event that brings together leaders, activists, volunteers, community members, and philanthropists to showcase what women are doing to catalyze social change locally and globally to create a better world in more than 100 Colorado-based organizations.
So, I’ll admit it, maybe I was a bit giddy as I felt like a bear rising from a long covid winter (or two). This event was warm, inviting, inclusive, and accepting - and it smelled of fresh burritos available for dinner on a cold, snowy Colorado evening. What more could you ask for? I’ll tell you - to be in a community with others that are making a positive impact and care deeply about supporting the advancement of women. Capital Sisters International provides microloans for women in poverty, Dance to Free is a non-profit changing the lives of incarcerated women by addressing lifelong trauma through the healing power of dance, and Agile International works to secure land, water, and energy availability for rural women farmers in Western Africa.
While I wish I could have hugged my former colleagues through the numerous challenges we experienced in 2020 and 2021, two of the people I used to work with many years ago were in attendance at this same event and we were all there representing different organizations. We had no idea we would all be there, and we certainly didn’t know that we would be randomly placed right next to each other. But, it made the night even sweeter and reminded me that connections can turn into friendships that last forever.
Here’s to 2022 and beyond. May we continue to connect with one another, inspire, and empower – creating positive change. No matter how big or small, remember it is still change. Thank you to my friends with GALS and The Sacred Valley Project, once colleagues and now friends - I am so fortunate to have them forever.
The mission of the Global Leadership League is to ignite change across the global education field by empowering, connecting, and training leaders. We invite you to reach out to us here or learn more about becoming a member.