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"It's not bragging if you can back it up." Muhammad Ali

I signed up for an online, nonprofit, leadership course today. The perfect snow day activity. The perfect way to refocus, regroup and rejuvenate. My attention was captured right away. The hostess, Joan Garry, was engaging, enthusiastic, genuine and wearing a hat! Her approach was short, sweet and to the point. It was conversational although online and insightful. Ms. Garry outlined 5 attributes of a leaders; fierce, passionate, creative, empathetic and a problem solver. After some explanations and analogies, she spoke 3 little words that have resonated with me regarding the depth and breath of Spirit of Discovery Park: lead with intention. She explained, when leading with intention, one needs to be focused, disciplined, nurturing, open and value partnerships.

As the talk continued, leadership steps where addressed regarding , 5 to be exact. (I'm fairly certain there's more meaning behind the number 5- attributes, ways to lead with intention and these steps. A question I should've asked when I had the opportunity!) Four of the 5 steps were subtle reminders but #3 was a dozy.

The 5 steps: 1- Practice say NO.

2- Embrace Creativity.

3- THE DOZY! MY DOZY- Brag! Brag! Brag!

4- Keep your Posse Close (through stewardship)

5- Create Excitement about the Destination

These 5 steps, again, were great reminders while refocusing and reinvesting into the calling I embarked on, 5 years ago. Ha! There's the 5 again! The question Joan asked her online audience was which one of these 5 steps is the most uncomfortable/hardest to see yourself doing? Number 3 for me, 100%! A year ago I would've said it was #1. Saying NO is difficult for a people-pleasing, type-A personality, like myself. But today, right now, in this moment, #3 is my biggest challenge! One I am willing to try and tackle! CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

Brad Pitt once said, in Missouri, where I come from, we don't talk about what we do - we just do it. If we talk about it, it's seen as bragging. So, what do you think about bragging? Is there a right way to do so? A way to not sound cocky? Not sound conceited? I believe there is! As Muhammad Ali said, it's not bragging if you can back it up so here I am, backing up some of what the Spirit of Discovery Board has accomplished in 5 short years.

Since SoDP began, in February 2016, WE, as a Board and community have: • Developed & recruited governing board & advisory board members with experience in marketing, accounting, finance, legal, and disability concerns; • Applied for & received 501(c)3 status; • Initiated a feasibility study; • Developed a website, marketing materials & social media following; • Created a mascot; Spiro, our Service Dog • Created a sister nonprofit, St. Louis Blind Hockey Association in partnership with the St. Louis Blues; • Created a sister for profit, Greenhouse at SoDP; • Created a sister entity, Infusion of Inclusion, EVERY body wear apparel and accessories; • Hired two consultants- one for SoDP and one for the Greenhouse; • Creating a sister entity, Brewery at SoDP; • Held multiple fundraising events, grossing over $215K in 5 years. - Dine & Donate hosted by local restaurants including Katie’s Pizza & Pasta: over 500 participants, 2+ with/caregiver for someone with some sort of special need - Singin’ with Squatch Live Band Karaoke Event: over 125 participants, 5+ with/caregiver for someone with some sort of special need - 10,000 Cards for our Troops in partnership with 106.5 The Arch's, Spencer's Neighborhood, and Dietz and Watson FREE Event: over 200 participants, 500+ with/caregiver for someone with some sort of special need - 5K Dash at Dusk, Run, Walk & Roll in partnership with Fleet Feet Sports: over 150 participants, 30+ with some sort of special need - FREE Stanley Cup Watch Party for Game 6 in partnership with Bar Louie: 500+ participants, 9+ with some sort of special need - Halloween Trivia Night & LIVE Auction: over 150 participants, 2 dozen with some sort of disability - Barnes & Noble Holiday Bookfair: over 1000 participants, 25+ with some sort of special need - Every body Have Fun Tonight Gala hosted at the Busch Family Mansion: over 50 participants, 5+ with/caregiver of some sort of disability - Music Trivia Night & Silent Auction: SOLD OUT event of 400 participants, 5+ with some sort of special need - Benefit Concert presented by K-SHE 95 & Delmar Hall: 100+ participants, 2+ with/caregiver for someone with sort of special need - 5K Dash at Dawn in partnership with Bar Louie-Kirkwood AND Fleet Feet Sports: 100+ participants, at least 50 with/caregiver for someone with sort of special need - Going to Bat for EVERY body Gala hosted at Busch Stadium: 150+ participants, 25+ with/caregiver for someone with sort of disability - TRADITION STARTS HERE in partnership with Warrior Transition Network Foundation, Army/Navy Game, Chili Cook-Off & Beerfest: 150+ participants, at least 25+ with/caregiver for someone with sort of special need - Music Trivia Night & Silent Auction: 300 participants, 30+ with/caregiver for someone with sort of special need - Online Raffle for EVERY body: 25 participants, 3+ with/caregiver for someone with sort of special need - 5K VIRTUAL, Run, Walk & Roll in partnership with Fleet Feet Sports: over 150 participants, 30+ with/caregiver of some sort of special need - SoDP VIRTUAL Gala: 75+ participants, 3+ with/caregiver for someone with sort of disability - Kobe Bryant Online Raffle: 10 participants, 1+ with/caregiver for someone with sort of special need

COMMUNITY SERVED: approximately 4,135 potentially 3,797

I'm excited to have accepted Ms. Garry's challenge and PROUD to be sharing this list with you! These are concrete, tangible, measurable successes but what this list isn't sharing is the blood, sweat and tears that have been extended by our Board, volunteers, families, friends, supporters and BELIEVERS! And for EVERY body who has gifted SoDP with your time, talent and funds to get us to this point, THANK YOU!

As I pursue my leadership journey and propel SoDP's growth to new heights in 2021, know, that I will continue to accept challenges to ensure ONLY THE BEST for the community we support, one that is too often overlooked and underserved! IT MATTERS!


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