Dear Global Somatic Experiencing Community,
This letter is both lovely and difficult for me to write. In some ways, it embodies so much of how SEI has shifted and changed since I joined the board in June 2018. For that reason, it is lovely. You see, in this letter I get to welcome three new board members to the SEI Board of Directors. With that, however, I also have to say thank you and goodbye to our departing board member.
I first want to welcome our three new board members: Defne Erdur, Yadira Velazquez, and Scott Palmer. They each, and together, embody Somatic Experiencing® and the shifts we are trying to make here at SEI. How does SEI meet its vision of transforming lives through healing trauma around the world? How do we make trauma healing more accessible to more people? How do we partner with people in different communities who can use SE techniques in new and innovative ways and settings? On an organizational level, how do we as a board of directors embody the ideals of servant leadership?
Our three new board members embody these ideals, and more. They come from various backgrounds, different first languages, and different professional disciplines. We are so excited to welcome them, learn from them, and see how they can influence SEI for better. Please read their bios to get to know them better.
Along with the excitement of new board members comes the more difficult part of this letter – saying goodbye to Monica Simionato. Monica has been on the SEI board of directors for seven years. She has been a colleague, a mentor, a confidante, and a friend to so many of us in this organization. Monica helped stabilize this organization and helped us find our footing, setting the stage for the ability to bring our board up to nine people.
Trying to come up with a way to describe Monica in a letter is nearly impossible. There is so much to say, so much she has given, and so much I think everyone should know about who she is and what she has brought to all our lives (yes, everyone in the SEI community). I could certainly write a book, and I also keep coming back to one single word – heart. Monica brings heart to everything she does. Anytime we were navigating difficult conversations, difficult decisions, and even the exciting conversations, Monica would always find a way to bring us all back into our hearts, into our care for each other and the larger community. She made sure we thought about everyone, especially those who were not in the room with us. More than anything else, I hope we continue to honor that on this larger board of directors.
Saying goodbye to the role a dear colleague and friend has played in an organization is never easy. Luckily for all of us Monica will stay involved on the Global Culture Committee, a committee she spearheaded to help us grow into the global organization we are becoming. Saying goodbye is also a reminder that this organization can say goodbye, that our leadership can shift, and that we can continue to hold the container we have been building together. Without Monica’s heart-centered leadership we may not have been in the space for such stability. So, while we are deeply saddened and will miss her, we also know it is a sign of growth – the “both, and” we learn to hold so well with SE.
For seven years Monica has volunteered her time to help SEI and Somatic Experiencing generally grow into the space we are in today. We hope we can continue to embody what we have all learned from her. We hope to share her heart-centered ways with our new colleagues. We hope to continue to strive to be servant leaders for this organization. The contraction we feel as we say goodbye to Monica moves into the expansion we feel as we welcome Defne, Yadira, and Scott. That is SE at its core – the contraction and expansion we feel individually and collectively. Thank you, Monica, and welcome Defne, Yadira, and Scott.
As always, if you have thoughts or questions, please feel free to email us at email@example.com.