On Fifteen

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli
On Fifteen

This past week, my beloved colleagues at The Leadership Program celebrated an important milestone for me, as I’m about to pass my fifteenth anniversary with the company. Fifteen years! This is a picture of (most of) the entire organization, taken in September:

I am so proud to call The Leadership Program home, and can’t imagine a better company in which to have grown up. Because in these fifteen years I’ve gotten married; had two kids; moved from New York to Indiana; and have had countless sadnesses, surprises, joys, and blahs in between. I’ve acquired and lost pets, bags, numbers on the scale, gray hairs, habits, and hobbies. With my colleagues—many of whom I’ve worked with for ten or more of these past fifteen—I’ve shared more giggles and glasses of wine than I can count, and have hugged them through their own sadnesses, surprises, joys, and blahs.

More than that, I’ve had the honor of working with countless youth, educators, business professionals, and organizations over the years, exploring the many different ways one can discover, and step into, their own personal brand of leadership. This work is more meaningful than I can possibly express, and it continues to evolve and expand, constantly pushing me to elevate my interactions and contributions. I don’t know why it takes milestones like a fifteenth anniversary to reflect on all of it… but upon reflection, it’s pretty obvious that I am in love with you, Leadership. Head Over Teakettles. Here’s a few things I love:

I love how much we love to partner with schools, organizations, or individuals and truly customize our services, constantly tinkering, creating, and innovating what we do.

I love that we have So. Much. Fun. Together. No matter if we’re working extensive hours trying to finish a project or prepare for an event or if we’re socializing over karaoke, we find the SPARKLE in it all. It is truly a joyous place to be.

I love that we have the ability to impact the lives of thousands of people every year, including our most young and vulnerable, helping them see the positive possibilities for their lives.

I love that we like to dress up in costume, just because.

I love that among us we have people deliriously committed to recycling and Harry Potter and saving the earth and music and civic responsibility and bowties and sustainable living. You all make me a better person.

I love that I have a boss that believes in me, and who has given me the ability to shape, craft, and create each and every position I’ve held within The Leadership Program: a path that started at point “coordinator” and currently rests at point “Senior Vice President” without ever having felt like my journey ever needed to be a straightforward line. If there’s no road paved at Leadership, we’re often given a shovel and the encouragement to build our own.

I love that stickers, music, flipchart paper, and toys play a regular part in my day-to-day job.

I love that it is through the vehicle of Leadership that I’ve been able to spend my Tuesdays for the past three years blogging with you.

I love that our New York office includes lime green chairs and idea paint so you can write on the walls.

I love the content we create for both our students and our professionals. I am constantly amazed by the creativity of my colleagues and the tremendous results they achieve.  I’m surrounded by brilliance, I tell you!

I love that we operate from a: “Yes, and…” state of mind.

I love having been able to watch, and sometimes be a part of, my colleagues grow and expand their own professional path at The Leadership Program, and beyond.

I love that we've developed a language all our own, so that if any of us says things like "velcro pants" or "that's a firefly moment" or "let me drop that rock," we all know what they mean.

I love that I am able to receive a constant feedback loop from the work I do, and that the kind of feedback I receive includes words like these: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me remember why I've been working in this field so long. Thank you for rekindling my passion. Thank you for giving me new tools and reminding me of some I'd buried under all the demands, deadlines, and never-ending expectations from every aspect of my work and personal life. Thank you for re-engaging me. I am very grateful!

What a gift, this life. What a joy, this job. I feel truly blessed.

So, from the depth of my heart:  Thank You, The Leadership Program.  

Here’s to fifteen more…  


Interested in having Erika’s blog come directly to your e-mail each Tuesday? Have comments to share?  E-mail her at erika@tlpnyc.com.   Find all her previous blog posts at www.tlpnyc.com/author/erika


Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.