The Importance of Your Story

Written by Glenna Holstein
    Thursday, 24 October 2013
The Importance of Your Story

As part of my job I get to meet a lot of really interesting and wonderful people. In fact, that’s one of my favorite parts of this work! For example, I recently got to meet Surhabi Shah, the Director of the US Environmental Protection Agency Urban Water Initiative. She was in Milwaukee and wanted to meet with a few of the folks involved in the work in the Menomonee Valley to learn about what we’re doing to restore that waterway.

The EPA wants to know what we’re doing here? Amazing! But also a little nerve wracking.

As the meeting began, I was turning over all sorts of thoughts in my head about how I could tell the story of the Urban Ecology Center to this national environmental leader. This was a big opportunity.

As the meeting went on though, most of the focus turned to the economic revitalization of the Valley and the urban planning strategies that had been implemented. That conversation was fascinating and I learned a ton by listening (another part of my job I really love — but I’ll save that for another article). As the meeting ended, I realized I hadn’t gotten to tell Surhabi very much about the Center at all. I had one job at this meeting and I blew it.

I went over to Surhabi to say goodbye, still kicking myself over the missed opportunity. But as she shook my hand she said, “I wanted to tell you, I think you’re doing really good work at the Urban Ecology Center. I sat next to a man on the plane who told me all about your Center, and it just sounds like a really great place.”

Ha! Here I was so worried about how to tell the “best” story of the Urban Ecology Center and not having the chance to do it, when it turns out someone had already done it for me! My job is so easy sometimes…

That day was a powerful reminder for me of the importance of each voice in our Urban Ecology Center family. Any time you tell your own special and particular Urban Ecology Center story, it can have a huge impact. So, tell it! You never know — you might be talking to someone from the EPA, or a future lawmaker, or our next big donor. Or even better — you might be talking to someone who just really needs a way to connect with nature in their neighborhood and you might be the one to open that door. The “best” story of the Urban Ecology Center is yours!

Glenna Holstein

Glenna Holstein

Glenna grew up a mile up the river from the Riverside Park, so the Urban Ecology Center has always been important to her. Her studies and work have taken her all over the hemisphere, but her home has always been right here in Milwaukee. As Menomonee Valley Branch Manager, she is delighted to be part of the team that is working to connect a new community to the nature in their neighborhood. Her favorite things to do include hiking, exploring, cooking, singing, building forts, and trying to convince children that cockleburs are really baby porcupines!

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