Family has been on my mind a lot lately. Many of you know that a year ago, on July 21, my twin sister, Kathi, passed away unexpectedly. With the anniversary of this event, it feels important to remember how lucky we are to have our friends and loved ones in our lives.
Despite how incredibly difficult it was to say goodbye, I was able to draw strength from my AME family to help me along in the weeks and months following. So many of you reached out to offer your support. It’s incredibly humbling to be on the receiving end of this level of graciousness. I constantly take pride in the community spirit that makes our expansive organization so tight-knit.
This is why I repeatedly refer to AME as my “family.” We remain close, even when goals shift or our work takes us in different directions. We make an effort to connect through shared experiences and grow together from the takeaways. Many of our members have been together for decades. I heard one regional board member last week thank another for helping him with his child’s college searches and visits. And we always support each other when times get rocky.
Yes, family is biological. But biology doesn’t need to be the only determinant. A year ago, I leaned on the AME community to get me through one of the toughest moments of my life. During this time, I felt that AME and everyone I’ve met in the last three and a half years had become my adopted family. It’s a rare privilege to establish that type of bond with colleagues. And it speaks heavily to the culture of people-centric learning and respect that proliferates our organization.
As we continue to gather at a number of exciting upcoming events, let’s take a moment to share some treasured memories of those we love. I’d be delighted to hear more about everyone’s cherished family experiences. What was your favorite childhood vacation? What did you and your siblings do together over the holidays? What is a special memory of your family?
Many of us work together online for eight hours a day, five days a week. When you think about it, we sometimes interact more with each other than with our own families. We work, navigate conflict, and build our teams and our futures together. I believe that any group of people capable of making such a profound impact on each other deserves the title of family. And I can’t thank you enough for being part of my extended family.
I look forward to catching up with all of you this fall at AME Cleveland. As always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.