Madoff Scam and my work

robynfrye_photosmall.jpgI choose "maverick" for this blog post because it is time for change but also to reflect.   Since I last spoke at Soul at Work in June of 2007, Michelle asked me to write up something about where I am today in my work.

As the New Year approaches, I find myself in a situation that has caused me to once again take my own advice and stop...take time...and reflect. I have had to ask myself some deliberated and soul searching questions suchas:
Have I been in this situation before?  What was the past outcome?  What am I really afraid of? What emotions are the strongest and what is the root of those feelings...and what resources are available to me based on my past experiences and present contacts?

On Monday, December 15, 2008 I was notified that the foundation which supports the Providence Reentry Initiative's work and my position; is closing its doors for good in January 2009 and that they would no longer be honoring any grants; including our 3 year grant to support this work and my position; due to the Bernard Madoff PONZI scam. Over the last 2 years I have been co-chairing and then consulting with the City of Providence to create a citywide plan for people returning from prison...

This termination of funding comes at a pivotal point in the initiative, where we are now ready to present the recommendations for the plan to the Mayor. Now, we have no funding to continue and/or implement the plan...Needless to say, its time to "stop, take time and reflect".

Some people might go immediately into "strategy mode" but its much more personal than that.  For me, I have to first address what this all means to calling, my purpose, my destiny.  Its almost like driving down a country road and enjoying the scenery, listening to good music with a predetermined destination and all of sudden you come across a tree that has fallen in the road...What does that mean for your reaching your destination?
Do you first focus on how to move the tree or do you focus on your destination. Thus, the difference between "strategy" and "purpose".

Beyond me, my position, my family, my mortgage...all the personal stuff, is a greater issue believe it or not...There are tens of thousands of people and their families who will be impacted by this citywide plan. I knew when I took this position that there was NO ONE else on the planet positioned and purposed to do this work at this time, in this city, in this season, but me. In all honesty, given the fact that there were 45 candidates for this position with various degrees and experience and the Mayor chose me; which is one of many factors which confirms what I'm trying to say. At that point, I knew this was a part of my destiny...a part of my purpose, because it defies all logic. Its my philosophical belief that everything we go through makes us what we need to be to accomplish our purpose in life.

So, I believe its important to stay focused on this curve in life's journey and on what it is that we come into life with...We do not come into this world with degrees,occupations or careers.  We do come into life with gifts, talents, purpose and destiny.  At the end of the day or "the end of our days" we should be able to say, that all of our life long accomplishments have culminated to the demonstration of a life with purpose.

So, as I stand before this fallen "tree" in life; I am still looking down the road. I am listening for sounds of opportunity and I'm getting on my cell phone of personal contacts and resources...and while I wait for help that may be on the way, I am checking my rolodex of life experiences to reflect and remember past circumstance and how I overcame them!..and I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to share the story of my journey with those I meet further down the road after hsving reached my destination.
Wisdom gained will look like the appplication of all that I have learned to what I already know about strategic planning, sustainability planning, transition planning, team building and project management. Yes, our experience give birth to our stories, which then births legacies.

It's gonna be a good year!

Robyn Frye
Reentry Coordinator
City of Providence