Letter from The Interim Executive Director

Hear from Kate Whidden, our Interim Executive Director, as she steps into her new role after 20 years with Momentous Institute.

By Momentous Institute | Dec 02, 2020
Letter From The Interim Executive Director Blog 01

“Stay safe!”

How many of us started using this phrase as we concluded conversations in 2020? It implies more urgency than the traditional “take care!” and communicates a heightened awareness of potential danger. This is just one of the ways that 2020—the most challenging of years—has impacted our thoughts, behaviors, and language.

As we evolve, I continue to acclimate myself to my role of interim executive director at Momentous Institute. This is a new challenge after having served in various positions over the last twenty years; starting out as manager of our Scholarship Program and working as director of leadership and governance for the last ten years. In particular, my thoughts turn to the insights we have gained that will help shape our work in 2021 and beyond. Allow me to share two truths I am determined not to forget:

With crisis, comes opportunity

As we navigated the challenges of pivoting our services during the global pandemic, it was not easy. And yet, we have learned so much. We have documented that some clients thrive in teletherapy. Undoubtedly, this will now be a permanent component of our work in mental health. Further, we have seen wide geographic participation in online Parent Education classes. Wouldn’t we be foolish to discontinue this once we return to in-person classes? We also now understand that technology can be used in so many creative and powerful ways, so our teachers and trainers will continue to incorporate this medium into their approaches.

True dedication to service matters more than the Strategic Plan

I love planning, so it’s hard for me to admit this one, but it’s true. When quick decisions had to be made in exceptional circumstances, I saw members of our team quickly embrace new and unanticipated challenges. Our annual goals for 2020 did not include distance learning, coaching teachers over Zoom, or teletherapy – yet the team turned on a dime to make these things happen. It was their commitment to the needs of students and clients that made this happen, not a directive from any preconceived plan. This dedication results in academic and emotional support for children and families – vital in 2020 as we experience a global pandemic, racial unrest and economic concerns.

So, what are your insights from 2020 that you want to carry forward in 2021?

I would love to think this new year will include our full and complete transition to a post-COVID-19 world, one characterized by less division in our society and by more racial equity. While we work toward that day, we take heart from YOU: from your encouragement, your partnership and your belief in the importance of social emotional health.

Stay safe.