Good Morning Rockstars,
Happy Tuesday! I have the incredible privilege of knowing, meeting, and getting to know AMAZING people. Yesterday was living proof. My day kicked off with a Partner meeting with AJ Tibando (@ajtibando) who is nothing short of dynamite. As opposed to me sharing her story, I’m going to let her do the “talking.” This post was originally published in March 2013 via SOJO however there is no expiry date for the inspiration, courage, and leadership that is demonstrated. Folks, this is a story about YOU, the extraordinary potential you have within and the incredible possibilities that are right in front of you. The question is, ARE YOU READY?
Written by AJ Tibando
For the last five and a half years, I’ve worked as a political aide at Queen’s Park. During that time I wore many different hats, working on legislation, communications, caucus relations and policy development.I’ve also worked as a part-time volunteer at SoJo for almost a year. I joined just before we launched out of beta and since I started, my role has constantly been evolving. At first, my focus was outreach and partnership – how to collaborate and build relationships with other organizations. Later, that role grew to include internal collaboration – working with the team to make sure we’re working well together and being productive. In the past few months, my role has evolved further to include business development and as my role at SoJo evolved and my passion for it grew, it became clearer and clearer to me that I needed to dedicate myself to this full-time.I came up with a plan to make the transition out of my job and started marking the days. A few weeks ago, I came into the SoJo office after work to meet with Kanika and discuss the transition that would begin the following week. We were both really excited about how much more we could get done now that I would be focused full time on SoJo and the opportunities that would create. I’ve had a huge ‘to do list’ running in the back of my mind and growing over the past few months; and finally, Kanika and I would be able to focus in, hunker down and start checking things off the list….It was later that day that Kanika fell and injured herself.Things moved pretty quickly after that. Since Kanika is entirely out of commission, all emails, meetings, speaking engagements and other commitments she had made fell to me to handle. I became responsible for running the company while I was still finishing up my job; executing her commitments as seamlessly as possible so as not to ruffle our partners or our users; and keeping the team calm and focused while supporting all of the emotions they are feeling, knowing that our fearless leader – and mentor to so many of us – is going through such an awful experience.
Last week I started full time at SoJo, and to say that I’ve been thrown into the deep end of the pool is an understatement… but it makes me realize I’m a good swimmer. This experience has been overwhelming and I’ve definitely had a few moments where I’ve neared the breaking point, but it’s taught me a lot about what I’m capable of and how I respond under pressure. And I’m so thankful that Kanika has spent the past year building out such an amazing team, because now that she is away, we are leaning heavily on each other to stay focused and keep moving forward.
The test of whether something is bigger than yourself is to see what happens when you step away from it. While Kanika’s injury and absence has been traumatic for everyone, the fact that we’ve been able to pull together, to keep going, and barely miss a beat is a good reminder of how incredible SoJo is and that we’ve reached a point where we’re bigger than any one person.
But boy, do I ever miss Kanika….