Friends... Reflect. Reconnect. Refocus. Three simple words that hold important meaning for us over the next weeks and months. These three words represent an intentional approach to thinking about where we have been and where we are headed; reconnecting with one another and with our lived mission; and being laser focused on our future. I have been personally implementing these three things in my life, both personally and professionally. I am spending this very week participating in the Food Systems Leadership Institute where we are visiting Cal Poly in San Luis Osbisbo, California, and learning about the similar and dissimilar challenges and opportunities our peers face on the West Coast. I have been intentionally reflecting on my approach to leadership; reconnecting with colleagues from sister institutions and with our lived mission; and focusing on what matters-- moving past the noise and the fog to gain a sharper vision for our future.
I want to thank all of you in advance for engaging in these same efforts and for participating in the opportunities to collaboratively reflect, reconnect, and refocus. We have scheduled some intentional spaces and approaches for engagement. Thank you to everyone who has signed up for or already participated in the listening sessions. So far, we have completed the listening sessions with the Extension Leadership Team and one open session (where we had about 40 participants). Additional listening sessions are scheduled in August and September. We have 1:1 conversations occurring with approximately 200 stakeholders over the next six weeks. We have Extension Road Shows scheduled for early fall. And we have the opportunity to use some of these tools/processes to engage your local advisory committees. These efforts around reflecting, reconnecting, and refocusing are aimed at being intentional about who we are, what we do, and how we want to do it. I hope that you will take part early and often in the ways that make sense for you so we can move forward together toward what I know is going to be an inspiring and energizing future for us and those we serve. Thank you for continually inspiring me through all you do and the way you live the mission of Extension.