When I took the position of Executive Director in February of 2014, I had very high hopes and a well-devised plan of action. But what I came to learn through my first year at the Cypress Initiative is the need for a plan is only a need created within myself. That my plan had little relevance to what would actually occur, and that maybe it wasn’t as useful as I thought.

When I put my big plans aside, what I saw time and again, was the only true practice I needed to carry this organization forward – and that was to keep taking the next step.

So that’s what I learned to do. I learned to listen quietly, be present in the moment, and then take a step forward. And then the next step. With this approach, we’ve had an undeniable amount of change and huge growth this year at The Cypress Initiative.

As with most transformation, this came with some reflection:

How did we get here?   What did we do right?   Where could we improve?

Except at The Cypress Initiative, we don’t really take those kinds of questions all that seriously. Instead, what is often heard echoed in the hallway is “Isn’t that awesome? I couldn’t have planned that if I tried.” or “Wow, that didn’t work out. I can’t wait to see what is really supposed to happen.”

Over the past year, the staff at the Initiative have consistently found ourselves celebrating the victories of life unfolding – in the way life does – with unexplainable leaps forward: Leaps with our students, our clients, ourselves and our organization. I can honestly say I haven’t been a part of so many happy tears, happy dances and happy silences, as I have this past year.

I couldn’t have planned a story so beautiful, and I am certain it’s only the beginning.

There is a palpable difference in this organization compared to any workplace I’ve been a part of in my career. A difference that truly has taken the “work” out of work, out of parenting, out of relationships and out of life. A difference so unique that collectively the staff at The Initiative, decided we wanted to share our stories with you. These stories will not always be about us, personally, but some will, I’m sure. We hope this will be a place to inspire you, to teach you and to reach you with the stories of the people we work with throughout the year.

If I have learned one thing in the past year, it is that we are all humans teaching each other. My greatest teachers in life have come in the form of the very people I was supposed to be teaching.

With Love,
Brooke Wheeldon-Reece

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