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February President's Perspective

15 Feb 2021 2:42 PM | Karen Fouts (Administrator)

Hello again, and welcome to this edition of the SIETAR USA newsletter and my contribution to it as the President. My message in January changed because of events, and it has this month as well, because we have had the sad news of the passing of Andy Reynolds. He was someone who has had a great impact on this organization and many like it around the world, so I wanted to just reflect on Andy’s legacy a bit. As somebody who didn't really know Andy that well, I got to meet him a couple of times at different events, and of course the gravitas that surrounded this wonderful man was evident.

As somebody who is fairly new to SIETAR, I did not have the benefit of actually knowing Andy for all that long, and so what I have to rely on are the insights and the reflections of people who he impacted so much. I've been listening to a lot of those over the last number of days, to get a sense of Andy’s heart, his intentions and again his impact on this organization and others, and I think a couple of things stood out. Certainly, he was very passionate about what he did. He really thought deeply and knew that what he was doing was really important work and the gravitas that came along with that was evident.

The other thing is how he made other people feel—how he made them the focus of his attention when he was sitting with them and engaging with them, so that they knew that he was intensely listening. He really did invest himself into their wellbeing, which often times might have made it seem that he was being confrontational and rather direct, which was I believe, a great skill that I’ve seen many of the people who knew him and loved him reflect on. The other thing is that he was bold, and he did his work large and loud and he really didn't think too much about what other people were going to say about it in many ways. So, what I want to do is use Andy’s legacy, and build on that for my message here today.

In many ways, we are an organization of many various cultures, many varied backgrounds, and walks of life. This includes professional backgrounds as well. One comment that I did reflect on was the statement someone made that Andy really approached this work as a business and we are a professional organization at our heart, we are made up of professionals, this is the work we do. We do it with love and dedication, but it is the work we do as professionals. So, when I think of people who have asked me about the activities that I do, online and in other places, I’m often asked what drives me to do this. Even though I’m kind of an introvert (I have those tendencies) I believe what I do and the message I have has importance and can have an impact on and hopefully provide inspiration to others. So, for me that’s the reason I do what I do, that is my driving force.

However, that does not have to be the same for everybody. Everybody should have their own motivation, as to why they feel that the message inside them, those things that burn inside them that they need to pass on to other people. I want that to be validated in whatever form that you put yourself out there in the world.

So, that means that sitting here today as you're listening to (or reading) this—is there is there a pen that you can put to paper? Is there a video you can do like this? Is there a recording you can do on your telephone? Is there something that you can contribute to put your voice out there, knowing full well there are going to be people who will question your intentions and they may push back on the actual information you put out there? My encouragement would be to do it anyway. You can sit in a comfortable zone and not say anything and, believe me, people are still going to question your intent on that. So, if I can encourage anything for anybody, it is to do so, even if you want to use SIETAR USA as a portal, we are always hungry for content to put out there to the membership, because the membership needs to hear from you specifically. And it needs to have these open discussions, even when they are uncomfortable because—as I always say—the uncomfortable is the place that we all should be sitting in to help us grow. There's nothing wrong with being uncomfortable. In fact, I think it's the only place to be and it's worked for me, even though I’ve found it quite hard—but it has worked for me.

I'm just one person in a large organization of wonderful leaders and inspirational people like Andy who have come along and impacted the world in such a great way. I can only hope to dream to impact the world in the same way that the likes of Andy Reynolds did, and so I just wanted to offer that today as a little bit of a reflection.

As you as we go forward into this this new reality that we're working through at the moment with a worldwide pandemic and many, many issues like Black Lives Matter that are impacting and really forcing positive change in this society, let's reflect on what we can contribute to it. As Seth Godin says, it would be selfish to keep this work to yourself, the world needs to hear from you. We need to hear from you, and as President of SIETAR USA, I need to hear from you.

This is the inspiration that keeps me going, and I know it keeps many, many people going. In this organization we want to hear from people like you, the membership, and others outside the membership who are willing to put their hand up and say “I’ve got something to say and I’ve got something to say that's real and it's from my heart, and I believe in it wholeheartedly.” So, I offer that as my final thought.

I would like to extend our deepest sympathies and warmest regards to Donna and Andy’s family. May we see more like him, may we try to be like him, may we just live his legacy into the future. We must believe that that he didn't leave crumbs for us to pick up. It wasn't that at all. He actually left us the pieces of yeast that he baked bread with, then it is on us to take those and bake our own recipe; put it together and put it out there for the world to taste, knowing full well that not everybody's going to like it, but—you know—maybe they might just come around eventually.

So please keep safe keep well and, as always, I am only an email or a telephone call away. Please reach out anytime. I want to help and support anyone in the SIETAR USA organization, whether it be professionally or personally. I'm always honored to do so. Hope to hear from you, and we’ll see you next month.

Brett Parry
President, SIETAR USA

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