A brief announcement from LEAD's CEO, Andy Duran, regarding his forthcoming sabbatical from October 17th to November 29th.
My 7th-grade daughter has gotten me hooked on Sirius XM Radio’s The Highway. Although I grew up in the South, country music was never a love of mine, despite it dominating nearly every radio station in my hometown.
While driving home from a meeting a few weeks ago, I heard a Brett Eldredge song on The Highway called “Going Away for A While.” Those lyrics seem relevant to this moment.
I’m using this opportunity to let you know that I’m going away for a while. I have chosen to take a sabbatical from LEAD, beginning on October 17, 2022. I will return to LEAD the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, November 29, 2022.
Let me answer some questions that I’ve already received from some close partners who I’ve shared the news with:
• No, I am not sick. Yes, I am okay. (I do appreciate those of you who have asked.)
• No, I am not burned out. Not even close.
• Yes, I will be working. Just working differently.
• No, I will not be traversing the Holy Land or the Amazon Rainforest or taking a pilgrimage through the Camino de Santiago (although that is on my bucket list). In fact, I don’t plan to travel anywhere of note.
• No, I will not be taking a step back from any other responsibilities during this time (i.e. school board, coaching, etc.)
• Yes, I will be back!
I very much view a sabbatical not as the absence of work, but instead, as the presence of a different kind of work. To take this a step further, I am hoping this time allows me to participate in an active pursuit of purpose.
Why now? When I start quoting country music lyrics, it’s probably a good indicator that now is the right time. In all seriousness, this time of year is typically the busiest time of year at LEAD. There is never a good time to step back, but I’ve been going non-stop for over 10 years, with very little break. Simply, I need some dedicated and intentional time to think and reflect – both on the work of the past 10 years, as well as what’s next.
What will this look like at LEAD?
In short, it will be business as usual. All of our current programs and services will continue to operate as normal. I will be mostly unreachable, and will not be checking my LEAD email or voicemail beginning on October 17th. However, in the event of an emergency, our staff will know what to do and when to bring me in if necessary. We’ve established a strong and capable team here, so I’m more comfortable than ever handing over the reigns for a bit. I am grateful for our many school and community partners who have allowed us to push some in-person events around these dates. My email auto-reply beginning October 17th will provide additional directions for how to interface with our staff and partners while I am away.
I am grateful to the LEAD Board of Directors for allowing me to take this opportunity, and to the LEAD staff for stepping up and supporting our students, clients and communities during this time. We have grown operationally to the point where I have no doubt that things will continue to be business as usual while I am away. I am looking forward to witnessing that from afar.
Over these next 2 weeks leading up to October 17, I will happily be available for meetings and to assist with anything you may need in the interim. Here is a link to my calendar if you would like to setup a meeting or call between now and October 17th. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
“Don’t worry, I’m going away for a while
But I’ll come back with a smile.”
Thanks for all you do for LEAD and for the people we serve.
Andy has been LEAD's chief executive since May 2012. In the past 9 years, Andy has taken LEAD from a small community organization into a Nationally recognized prevention organization that offers programs and services all over the country. One of his biggest accomplishments is the development of Text-A-Tip, a 24/7 crisis text line that is now available to more than 10 million people. Andy speaks hundreds of times per year in schools, churches and communities across the United States.