A Greek philosopher is known for saying, "There is nothing permanent except change." I have found this to be true in my life and I've learned to embrace change. Since I was a little girl change has had a routine presence in my life. My dad was a builder and successful commercial roofer, as his career grew and changed so did we. We lived in three different homes before I turned eight, and in the middle of second grade my family moved from Buffalo to Rochester - it wasn't particularly far but for me it felt like another world. By the time I was 15 we had moved in to another new home (my fifth), and when I was 18 I moved to Boston for college. I've lost count of all the different addressed I've collected since the beginning of college, there are too many to remember. Change, whether voluntary or involuntary, has become so routine for me that I realized I often invite it. I've lived in different houses, different cities, different states, made new friends, lost touch with old friends, changed jobs, the list goes on. All of this has taught me firsthand that some changes are easy, others are more difficult, some are unexpected, others planned, and no matter what change tends to bring a host of deep emotions along for the ride. More on this another time.
The main purpose of this blog post is to introduce you to Whitney, and to share some of the changes happening at Kindred. I met Whitney in October 2017, when I was interviewing candidates to fill a Studio Associate position. I remember she stood out to me because she wrote a concise and thoughtful email introducing herself. I could tell she really read the job description. She was a photographer and like me had a background in the nonprofit sector. Honestly, I was blown away that Kindred could attract someone with her skills and experience. She was articulate, poised, smart, organized, and mature. During her first interview I knew I would offer her the job; it was one of those times when you just know. And when I called to offer her the position she told me this...
She told me that between her first and second interview she found out she was pregnant. And what's more, her husband had just accepted a work opportunity that would relocate their family to Michigan shortly after the birth of their new baby. As she told me her big news a wave of disappointment washed over me...I was looking for someone who could be with Kindred permanently. After my initial surprise wore off my disappointment dissolved because I realized she was doing something that confirmed my initial judgement of her; she handled the situation with the utmost integrity - the one quality I value above all others. She wasn't obligated to share any of these life developments with me but she told me anyway, understanding how important this new position was to me and to Kindred. I decided I'd rather hire the most qualified candidate for the job, the one I was the most enthusiastic about bringing on board, even if it meant she'd leave after seven short months.
As you can imagine, those seven months flew by. She started work in November and through months of pregnancy was the most reliable, easy-going, patient person I've ever met. For the first several months she didn't look pregnant which made it easy for me to "forget" that she'd be leaving at the beginning of June. She jumped in seamlessly, gently offering her opinions and expertise as I made critical decisions about Kindred's future. I'm truly sad she won't be here when we launch all these exciting new projects this summer.
The months marched on, as they do, and her last day was June 1st (I can't believe that was almost two weeks ago). We were really busy that day and I was distracted by a looming deadline so I tried not to think about it being her last day. I wanted to believe she'd be back on Monday. When she left I had to fight back some serious tears. Change is hard, even for those of us who are accustomed to it. I've found that the only thing I can do is honor my feelings in those difficult moments, reflect on the things I'm grateful for, and trust that everything happens for a reason.
For me the decision to hire Whitney represents the good things the come from trusting your intuition. Your intuition won't mislead you, and I've found that making choices from this place of trust makes the changes that follow much easier to bear. Even though hiring Whitney meant once again inviting change in to my life and business I knew it was the right decision. If I had to I'd do it all over again. I say this confidently; in the past I've made decisions that seemed pragmatic even though they didn't feel right and the outcomes have been much less satisfactory than the choices made from trusting my intuition.
Whitney made a big impact on me and on Kindred, which is (in part) why I've chosen to leave her position unfilled for the remainder of the year. It's also why I felt the need to commemorate her time with Kindred in a blog post.
For the those who've read this far thank you. If you struggle with change know that you're not alone, change can be really hard. I believe in the face of sad and/or difficult changes it's important to practice gratitude, have faith that things work out in the end, and if that doesn't work, it never hurts to pay-it-forward...
If you live near Ann Arbor, Michigan, and you're looking for a fantastic photographer, check out Whitney's website!
To paraphrase Marcel Proust, here's to the people, places, and experiences who make change difficult, "they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom!"