Having the day off on January 2, 2023, in observance of the holiday, I decided to visit Spring Lake, NJ given the warmer weather. What a great way to start a New Year! Little did I realize that first thing on that beautiful morning I would run into two incredible Good Shepherd women and Sisters. As I was ready to leave the small restaurant where I was having breakfast I realized that the entire time I was sitting two feet from the chairs of Sister Paulette, the former CEO of Good Shepherd Services in New York City, and Sister Debbie, the Executive Director of Collier Services - both incredible leaders of Good Shepherd organizations.   
 
These two women have been mentors to me and exemplify the values and character that matter in Good Shepherd programs. It was a privilege to begin my year, CORA's new year, in the presence of such phenomenal leaders. 
 
Our conversation could have gone in multiple directions, however, immediately Sr. Paulette told me she has been reading our newsletters and has been intrigued by what CORA is about to embark on.   
 
It's time for us to venture with you "back to the future" of Sister Charity's original vision for this organization, over 50 years later. To know and understand what she wanted to see happen through CORA, where CORA has come, and to know that her simple vision of service delivery is more relevant today than when she began, brings me, the now CEO of seven years, incredible enthusiasm and joy for where we are headed. 
 
In the next few weeks I will be launching a diary, a memoir, of being CORA's nonprofit CEO during challenging years - walking with my incredible team, recognizing what children and families need through these times of great anxiety and grief and loss, allowing phenomenal well equipped staff to be creative to meet needs, and then to experience burnout and exhaustion. On the other side of that is a conversation to be had for leaders, a transparency that employees need to hear and see in the world we are now in, and innovation that can drive us into a creative and new future.   
 
This memoir will not only expose our experience through the last several years but will also allow for dialogue from others - from you, experiences from my team, and how all of this leads to the future of CORA as we discern not what is in place for children and families, but rather what NEEDS to exist that does not already. We are calling this our "Roadmap to Transformative Services." 
 
I wish you a beautiful, blessed 2023. I have great hopes for CORA, our city, and our nation as we move forward with lessons learned in the past. However, it will take all of us working together to get where we need to go. Thank you for being our partner and keep your eye out for our introductory memoir. Included in this newsletter is a link to where that memoir will sit. I encourage you now to check that link and make sure you are connected. 


AnnMarie McDowell  
President & CEO