June 2023
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“What have you done today to make you feel proud?
It’s never too late to try
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
You could be so many people
If you make that break for freedom
What have you done today to make you feel prouder?”
~”Proud” ~ Heather Small

Hello WIS Community –

A couple of weeks ago, a few of us community leaders met to discuss ways we could support one another. As part of the intro, we had to talk about ourselves, not what we do, since most of us already knew each other. Whew. How many people struggle with that? I found it challenging to introduce “me” and not what I do. (Note I still found myself talking about the “do”, which I 100% got called out for!)  

So that got me thinking about identities and how we show up in life in different places. So I did a journal exercise and started writing down, “Who Am I”?

I am an entrepreneur. I am a Connector. I am a friend. I am a Significant Other. I am a Rheumatoid Arthritis warrior. I am an activist. I am a Buckeye. I am a hockey fan. I am a trash talker and waste lover. I am a speaker. I am an educator. I am a hiker. I am an environmentalist. I am a cat mom. I am a “Second Act” woman. I am a volunteer. I am a (reggae) music lover. I am a community organizer. I am a learner. I am a PAL (Pledgettes Accountability League). I am an event planner. I am a party host. I am a Woman in Sustainability. And more …

In addition, I have shed some “I am” titles to make way for new and better titles. (Ex: I am a smoker … today it is I am an EX-smoker! 😳 Yup, I’m not always proud of that, but it’s still part of my life story. I am PROUD that I learned to overcome that challenge and open my life up to better health and environmental choices. Also, sorry Mom!)  

I have many “titles” in this life and they can show up in many ways and places. This exercise forced me to realize that I am a person with many layers. It made me realize that I am PROUD of all those layers that make me unique. When I show up in a space, I try to show up as me – no matter who “I am” at that moment. It’s not always easy to share everything about myself. Some days I want to stay hidden. Some days, I don’t want to reveal specifics about myself and find it challenging to show up. I want to blend in. Some titles are easier to say than others. However, I find that when I share the hidden layers, I do feel more free. I get to be me to discover authentic, honest and genuine connections with others. I remind myself that with all the “titles” I carry, there is usually one that helps me connect with another person. This can lead to at least a meaningful conversation, if not something more. Sometimes, we think we have to talk about what we do and not who we are. Perhaps, we can make the world a better place if we start sharing more about our lesser known “titles” in life. Who knows – maybe someone will change your life. Let’s be PROUD of all our titles. I know I am (even if embarrassed by a few too). I challenge you to go outside your comfort zone and connect in a different way this month.

I also want to acknowledge my privilege and that my titles don’t have the same weight as some others. This PRIDE month, I stand with everyone in the LGBTQIA+ Community. I see you. I love you. You can always share your “titles” with us and I work to create a safe space for you (and marginalized communities). I challenge myself to speak out against hate so that you can shine your light and love for all to see. I challenge our legislators to ensure a safe future for you. Your love lifts me and I am thankful for all those that can show up as their true selves. We all deserve to be ourselves in this crazy thing called life.

And always, be PROUD of you! We are! Thank you for showing up as your authentic self, even on days when it’s hard. We are here for you on those days too,

If you’re looking for connections this month, we have several opportunities including volunteer events . Volunteering is an excellent way to spend time with others and give back to the community! It’s something to help you feel PROUD. In addition, we are partnering with CohoUS for our June networking event. We’ll talk about co-housing and how it benefits the planet. This will be a great conversation that truly embraces community! Plus, we’ll wrap up the month with our book club and learn how to bridge the gaps to truly be inclusive in our lives at this month’s Community Voices webinar.

Oh, and we couldn’t be more PROUD to partner with our friends at CampExperience and The Pledgettes to host the first-ever BetterTogetherFest! This event is about collaboration, community, friendship, learning, and more! A huge shout out to Lara and the Smedley Events team for bringing this idea to life. We hope you’ll join us to spend time together and learn from our excellent speakers throughout the day. More info is below and check out to join us on June 24!

We look forward to connecting with you soon. Thank you for all you do and we’re so PROUD of you.

If you have a moment, share with us your “titles” in the comment section. Who are YOU? We want to know! Be Proud of YOU!

the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free.” ~ Barack Obama

with CARE,
Chief CARE Connector / Founder

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