Written by Ann Rhomberg, Executive Director
Changing of the Guard at SB!
What better time to introduce new staff than Springtime! You’d never know by our fast moving medical programs, events, mailings and office operations that we’ve had staff transitions. But in the past 12 months we said goodbye to four Solidarity Bridge staff members who either retired, returned to graduate school or moved on to a larger job opportunity. Thank you, Juan Lorenzo and Sarah Hinojosa, Kira Foken, and Mara O'Brien for your loyal service and enormous contributions over many years.
At our April Fiesta gala, we honored our Founder, Juan Lorenzo Hinojosa, PhD, with our Solidarity Lifetime Achievement Award. We acknowledged his retirement from the Solidarity Bridge board and staff, noting that he will continue working in Bolivia as board president for our partner organization, Puente de Solidaridad. He will also finish his work on our newest initiative, the Institute for the Development of Neurosurgery. Sarah Hinojosa also recently retired after more than ten years of serving many vital staff roles from our earliest years through the present. Last summer, Kira Foken headed to California to undertake graduate school after leading our medical supply procurement and office operations for over four years. And, in February we congratulated our Development Director, Mara O’Brien on her new Executive Director role with another local non-profit, SitStayRead!
So who are we now?
In the past 12 months, we've had the good fortune of hiring four deeply motivated, high caliber, mission-minded team members. And our joy is soon to be yours as you meet them! Please join me in welcoming Sofi, Mary, Megan and Rachel. They are featured below through a variety of interview questions.
“You are central to our office operations and you have many different roles day to day. What has been your favorite project so far?”
I absolutely love managing our volunteer and internship program. Because our work involves serving people in Latin America, it can be challenging for our local community to feel connected, so it brings me a lot of joy when I'm able to engage people in our mission in ways that really utilize their skills. Plus our volunteers are such interesting people, and I love learning about their backgrounds and why they are passionate about global health work!
“How do our medical programs invite experiences of transformation?”
Transformation is the essence of our medical programs. The lives of patients are transformed by a healing surgery, or an intervention that may be hard to access in Bolivia due to cost or the scarcity of specialized medical professionals. At the same time, Bolivian and US medical personnel alike are energized by the rich intercultural dialogue that occurs on mission. Building on the common language of science, our doctors, nurses, technicians and pastoral workers exchange experiences across distinct medical systems, cultural environments and social contexts. With a focus on the patient at hand, this exchange stimulates reflection and generates appreciation for the spirit of care that knows no borders.
“What excites you most about your role as Senior Director of Mission and Identity?”
I am grateful to join a mission that is attentive to the sacred and deeply rooted in the tradition of Catholic social ethics - a mission that seeks to work from a true place of mutuality and solidarity in the midst of our world’s current structures of power and resources. Solidarity Bridge provides opportunities to build and be transformational community across borders and barriers. I am eager to listen to the joys and hopes of people on both sides of the bridge; to hold space for the questions, reflections and conversations that will enable us to respond more deeply to the call to be co-creators in bringing to life God’s vision for our world.
“You’re the newest member of the SB staff! What are your early impressions?”
Right after I was hired, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Solidarity Bridge Fiesta on April 9th. It was a beautiful gala honoring the legacy of Juan Lorenzo Hinojosa, but I was most impressed by the sense of community in the room. I could see that the missioners and supporters of Solidarity Bridge are a close-knit community of people who have shared a transformative experience. Through their generosity and commitment, each person at the Fiesta seemed to share a sense of ownership in this work of healing and empowerment. I look forward to joining this community and journeying with all who choose to find purpose through our mission.
Each stage of an organization’s life has different needs and opportunities. From an inspired vision, the people who have been a part of Solidarity Bridge’s first 16 years have created a solid organization with deep roots and an expansive impact. With God’s grace, we will continue responding to the call of this mission. I invite you to stop by the office anytime to get further acquainted with each of us!