Photo: Family coming together

Holiday Wishes with Greater Collaboration

Posted on December 23, 2022 by Kellie Alexander, TPF Fellow 2022/23
Thanksgiving 2022 was an incredibly special time because my family was all together for only the second occurrence in over five years. We laughed, ate, and enjoyed special moments during the holiday break. We also decided to decorate for Christmas. It was a joyful idea and one that I was so excited about. However, I got anxious when we began decorating the tree with all my priceless and irreplaceable ornaments. Watching the decorations go onto the tree and leave my control was almost unbearable. It was silly but incredibly real.

treeOften we may feel this way in situations both personal and professional. Believing that "it would take longer to explain how to do it than it would just to get it done" or "it won't be right if I don't do it myself" limits space for creativity, collaboration, and opportunity. We've all been there though, right? We've kept to ourselves and worked in bubbles because we want to control a situation or because it just seems easier. As I explore philanthropy and innovative approaches to big questions as a Fellow with The Patterson Foundation, it's prevalent that we cannot work in silos if we are to accomplish anything further than what's already being done. The tree would have been beautiful if I had done it alone, but it wouldn't have been as special – there wouldn't be laughs, fun, or memories to share.

When we work together as partners in philanthropy, regardless of how much longer it takes, there is more accomplished. Following the Thanksgiving break, Rich Harwood, founder of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, visited the Suncoast region as part of a national tour sharing a message of hope with communities. During keynote conversations in DeSoto and Sarasota counties, Rich shared, "We can't talk our way out of big problems. We have to do something together. When we build things together, we grow trust."

At TPF we say a similar phrase, "Change happens at the speed of trust." Extending opportunities to join the conversation and collaboration can be difficult but necessary to catalyze extraordinary possibilities.

My tree is beautiful, and each time I see the ornaments overlapping and dangling in pine needles, it brings me immense joy. The time my family spent hanging ornaments will always be special and inspires me professionally to ask for help, participate in collaborative brainstorms, and learn about purposeful partnerships.

May you have a wonderful holiday season and feel encouraged to build together.

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