Letter from SE™ Board Chair, Michele Solloway, SEP, LMT, MPA, PhD

by | Jan 9, 2023 | POINT OF VIEW

Dear Global SE Community, 

Happy New Year Everyone!! Welcome to 2023! I hope you all had a wonderful and peaceful holiday season.  

With the sun going down early these days in the northern hemisphere, it can often feel very dark and many of us tend to go inward. It can be a time to cocoon, a time for self-reflection on the lessons of the past year, a time to come home to self, to heal and restore. It is also a time to begin creating a new vision, to sow the seeds for the upcoming year, and renew our faith and commitment to ourselves and our community. It is the constant cycle of life and death – letting go of what does not serve us and moving forward with new ideas and inspiration.  

As we look back on 2022, we have a lot to be proud of: We came through the pandemic and learned much. We were able to broaden our reach by offering both online and in-person trainings, which, because of the popularity of online trainings, we will continue to offer. We did not know that was possible when the pandemic started. We expanded the number and diversity of the North American Faculty, adding five new members. We awarded scholarships to 194 Black, Indigenous, and other students of color. We also raised $96,224 from donors. 

The SE Ukrainian Task Force (SEUTF) has been incredibly effective in recruiting volunteers, garnering resources, providing free trainings, and offering resources and webinars in many languages, which also help raise funds for the program. For example, the SCOPE tool has been translated into 30 languages and regional dialects. Also, the most recent webinar with Liane Pinto, Caring for Myself and Caring for Others in Times of Extended Crisis, had 639 registrants from 54 countries and was offered in 11 languages. And, Beginner II for Ukrainian and Belarusian therapists was offered in Poland. We are also starting to develop a research project to build the evidence based for SE. A major shout-out goes to Melissa Sinclair, SEI Coordinator for the SEUTF, Rebecca Stahl and Defne Erdur, SEI Co-Directors and Board members, and Zlata Kostenjnova, EASE Co-Director and Board member, and all the volunteers and organizers of this effort! It has been a huge grassroots success for SE! We continue to seek financial and volunteer support from the global SE community for this special effort.  Go to www.traumahealing.org/donate. 

We also convened a Research Conference focused on SE for Crisis Workers and Survivors of War and Natural Disasters. Finally, we began an International Visioning Initiative to bring SEI closer to its international partners. We have had several calls with our EASE partners and begun organizing into content-focused subcommittees to better understand aspects where we can be aligned and what aspects need to stay decentralized.  

Looking forward to 2023, we will be adding trainings and further implementing our new technology platform which will improve the student experience. We are exploring new markets and creating trainings for non-therapist professionals and first responders, crisis workers, and helpers. We will move forward with plans to create an SE Professional Association, separate from but related to the existing SEI nonprofit organization. This will allow us to better address needs of students and existing SEPs, promote post-graduate specialty classes, advocate on behalf of SE at state and national policy levels, and offer more and better benefits to our SE practitioners and community. The existing nonprofit SEI will house SEI’s humanitarian efforts, research, public outreach, and fundraising. There are plans to expand the SEUTF into a broader humanitarian and outreach effort and we will continue the International Visioning Initiative. We are planning calls with ABT, our Brazilian partner, and other countries in 2023. 

These are all very concrete goals. At the same time, I am asking myself this question: what would I LOVE in 2023? Not simply to focus on goals that are knowable and attainable, but to dream big without the confines of knowing how to get there. I invite you to do the same as you vision your life this time next year. Who do you want to be and who is the person who is living the life you would love? 

While we are optimistic about what the future holds for SEI, this is also a time of transition for the organization. Our esteemed Executive Director, Marv Tuttle, is taking a medical leave of absence for his own health and to fulfill caretaking responsibilities he has for his wife. Marv’s health and well-being is paramount to all of us; so effective now, he has agreed to step away with the support of the SEI Board of Directors and staff leadership. He plans to return to SEI in some capacity when his health has improved and will be providing regular updates to us about his progress. He has agreed to be available on an as-needed basis so that we may continue to benefit from his perspective, experience, and wisdom. The board was already planning for Marv’s scheduled departure at the end of 2023 and the need to conduct a national search for SEI’s next Executive Director, so we’re well prepared to undergo this transition. We are exploring options to bring in an Interim Executive Director, but for the present time, SEI will be under the leadership of Sonja Cole, Chief of Staff, and Krysti Giese, Managing Director of Operations, with coordination and support from the SEI Board Executive Committee, Rebecca Stahl (past chair), Sangeeta Fernandes (chair-elect) and myself (chair). We will provide more information as we have it.  

We are wishing Marv a swift and full recovery and will hold him in our hearts. We wish all of you a happy, healthy new year as well. 

Sincerely,
Michele Solloway
Board Chair