Anita Smart began envisioning and working toward the concept of universities interfacing with development projects in Chiapas at about the same time the IHF was beginning. She was the volunteer facilitator of the Brown University Chapter of the IHF in Chiapas from 2007-2010, and has been the Executive Director since 2010.
Now is when I get to take a deep breath and be philosophical. Looking back on ten years of collective envisioning, focus and lots of hard work allows for a moment of gratitude and satisfaction. The biggest lessons of our past could have been considered our biggest mistakes and failures, but the collective nature of the IHF/ Natik intrinsically recognizes that as long as we learn from the past, we know that the future will be better because of it.
The mission of carving out a niche where academics, idealism and pragmatic solutions converge in the real world is a constant challenge that motivates our forward momentum in some very intense ways. With so much going on all the time, moments of philosophical reflection are rare. Therefore, these ten days of remembering the past and affirming the future have created a surprising sense of joy and celebration; we have all thoroughly enjoyed this brief respite for collective retrospection!
One of my first newsletters as ED three years ago was about the power of synergism. It was during a phase of organizational chaos and there wasn’t much concrete news to report. We were in the process of transformation; the past model was disintegrating and it was unclear what the future would bring. As I look back at that time, I am grateful that the synergism of our collaborative model has brought us to a point where the Natik family stands strong in our conviction and our operational dynamic. Fiscal and program transparency permeate every level: board, staff, volunteers, partners and project participants.
By its definition and modus operandi, Natik draws visionaries and leaders whose hearts motivate all of us to participate in something bigger than the egocentric trinity of Me, Myself and I. Collaboration is our middle name and we all contribute in whatever ways we can, to make a positive difference in a world that seems to produce more bad news every day.
We love the serendipity of each new person who asks: “what can I do to help?” because we know that every member contributes something unique, helping Natik grow stronger and wiser as our collective journey takes us into the future…