As I listen to another night of Seattle winter rain, a little red puppy sits on my desk chewing crumpled post it notes and trying her best to sample my last cup of coffee for the day.
Every year brings new life to Fort Brooke. Last year, it was Honey, a Toy Poodle who patrols the enclosed entry of our home with the courage of a German Shepherd, ferociously heralding the intrusion of squirrels, neighborhood dogs and cats, and children walking home from school. Only the two beautiful old hens in the back yard escape her warnings. They are members of her pack. They belong.
Other years have seen baby chicks hatch and totter around like cotton balls on toothpicks. They learn to peck, scratch, fly and take dirt baths. They taste grass and flowers, chase bugs, and run for Mama Hen when the shadow of an airplane hides their sunshine. Generations of doves, sparrows, crows, hummingbirds, and blue jays pass through the sky, rest in the trees, and splash in the fountains. Barking, crowing, clucking, tweets and trills of infinite variety mix with sounds of rain, trains, and humanity.
The circle of life is easily observed in the too short lives of our little creatures who share our weary old world. It is more slowly observed as our human loved ones pass through different stages of life and death, of strength and weakness, of growth and decline. If we watch and listen carefully, these rhythms call us back to the basics of birth, growth, death, and rebirth with all its beauty and pain and blessing. It calls us to reflect on what is precious and vulnerable and how to nurture and care for both.
With these impressions surrounding my heart and home, I begin my new adventure this year. After a career that started as a teenager working at Boeing and most recently working for the third largest health system in the country, it is time to return to the fundamentals. It is time to begin anew.
It is time to create and to reimagine. Time to strengthen the building blocks of good business, good service, and a high-quality product. It is time to reconsider the worth of our teams, to tap into the diversity of their cultures and experience and empower their creativity to truly innovate. It is time to ask questions and listen deeply and carefully. By doing this, it is time to renew and re-inspire the human spirit so we may work with our hearts as well as our hands.
To that end, I start my adventure with New Canvas Advising this year with gratitude, anticipation, and joy. We look forward to sharing this journey with all of you and invite you to share your thoughts and adventures with us. What new adventure are you embarking on this year? What are you learning? What is inspiring you? If we listened, what is the one thing you want to say?
Please share in the comments below or email us.
Brooke Stegmeier has nearly 25 years of operations, finance, HR, and analysis experience primarily in the healthcare industry. She has been a licensed CPA since 2004 and received her Masters of Health Administration from Chapman University. Brooke has held directorships with several hospitals in the Seattle area, working to improve organizational structures, discover and analyze underlying business needs, and create dynamic solutions for complex problems.