There is no ‘I’ in the Word ‘Team’

Michael J. Readinger

As the New Year unfolded, I had the pleasure of working with the CHHSM Staff Team on the annual review process. Some organizations find this to be a tedious and painful task. Here at CHHSM, we view this as an opportunity to recall our collective successes and shared challenges. We allow Team members to reflect on the past year by performing a self-appraisal that is centered on five questions and then discussing their written appraisals with their supervisor. While there are many models for accomplishing this important process, we have found this method to be a refreshing and insightful way to hold an open dialogue about what works, what does not work, and how things can work even better.

The purpose of this month’s column is not to share the details of these reviews but to lift up the collective work of the CHHSM Staff Team. There is no letter “I” in the word team and, as President and CEO, I often get all the credit for the good work this team accomplishes. I would like to take a little executive privilege here and encourage you all to look a little deeper at the Team members who really make this all happen!

Now that you have viewed the link to the staff page, let me tell you some things you may not know about this Team:

In addition to his role as CHHSM’s Vice President, the Rev. George Graham is a husband, a parent, a preacher, a D.Min. student, a runner, and a cherished confidante and friend. George’s administrative and financial skills are top-notch, but his attention to detail is really quite remarkable.

In addition to her role as Senior Executive Assistant for Events and Administration, Paula Barker is a mom, a daughter, a community activist, an economics major, and someone who is passionate about RDEI and justice. Paula’s ability to keep the ship operating on an even keel and the way she brings quality meetings to life seamlessly, artistically, and below budget are her special skills. Of course, we value the way she raises viewpoints that we may not have thought about in our RDEI work.

In addition to her role as Associate for Advocacy and Leadership Development, the Rev. Dr. Elyse Berry is a mother, wife, daughter, preacher, educator, ethicist, and artist (liturgy and music and more). Elyse’s role in forming and transforming leaders has really put us on the map in the last two years. The way she is able to frame advocacy and intertwine a variety of disciplines throughout her CHHSM toolkits is amazing. The depth and breadth of the curricula, writings, worship services and so much more are a treasured gift to our community.

The newest member of the team is our CHHSM Fellow Essence Ellis. She is a daughter, a life-long learner, reproductive justice advocate, new Chicago resident, writer, and preacher. Essence has infused the entire Staff Team with a renewed sense of energy and provides a refreshing lens with which we look at our work.

I have not even gotten all the way through those I have been blessed to work with and co-create projects with here at CHHSM. Perhaps I can lift up all those CHHSM Board members, our member ministry team members, our Nollau Leadership Institute graduates, and our fantastic contract consultants (Barb Powell, Tyler Hoffman and Rion Safier) in a future column. Suffice it to say, for now, that I would not be the man or servant leader I am today without all they have shared with me and taught me all these years.

I would love to go on and on about these talented, committed, and generous servant leaders but this column would end up being a few thousand words! Instead, I encourage you to try to find some time to talk to them in between our affinity group meetings, Together We Learn sessions, the CHHSM Annual Gathering, or wherever your paths may cross. They really are an amazing Team, and they are the ones who make the CHHSM world click. Thank you, Team!

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