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Welcome Sarah, Our New Associate Principal

By Sarah Lechner

Help us welcome Sarah, our newest Associate Principal, to the Coraggio family. Learn a little bit about her background, life passions, and what really makes her tick at work.

What were you doing prior to Coraggio?
Most recently, I was working internally for PeaceHealth, a large nonprofit healthcare organization, to design and deliver system-wide organizational effectiveness and leadership development initiatives. My work ranged from close partnership with executive leaders on strategy development to a year-long quality improvement program for physician, clinical and operational leaders from across the system.  Prior to PeaceHealth, I worked with a national education organization providing coaching, consulting, training, and facilitation services to higher education leaders around the country who were implementing innovative approaches to engaging students, developing faculty leadership and forging community partnerships.

What excites you about working at Coraggio?
I’m thrilled to have found such a great fit in Coraggio and a group of colleagues with which I resonate so well. I feel incredibly well aligned with our values, culture, and the approach we take to the work that we do. I share Coraggio’s passion for considering the health of the whole system when we work with an organization and for designing high impact experiences that emphasize both the “doing” and the “being” of leader and team effectiveness. There’s a level of authenticity, integrity, and commitment at Coraggio that I find both energizing and inspiring. I’m honored to be joining such a skillful group of consultants and excited for the growth and collaboration ahead.

Can you share a bit more about something you mentioned in your interview- that your early work as a community organizer informs your work now?
Though the day-to-day work I do now is really different, I often think about how much the learning I gained as a community organizer shapes my philosophy and approach. When I’m supporting change and effectiveness in organizations, I draw on the principles of establishing mutually beneficial partnerships based in shared values, on the belief that the best solutions come from those most effected by a problem, and that those voices should be at the table before decisions are made, not after. I emphasize the power of processes and relationships in creating change and shifting cultures, including the value of broad stakeholder input and inclusive open processes as well as the influence of informal leaders. My early work is also where I came to understand my own privilege and developed a passion for social justice, equity, and finding the leverage points for systems level change. I’m incredibly grateful for the community members I worked with; who welcomed me as a guest in their community and for all the learning we did together.

Share with our readers something that you are personally passionate about.
I have a new baby at home, Zephyr, who was born last December. Becoming a parent has been the most humbling thing I’ve done in life thus far and it’s really heightened the significance of the choices I make; thinking about the beliefs and values those choices represent and also the impact they have on other people. It’s prompted a new level of passion for my own self-awareness and growth. That actually influenced my choice to come to Coraggio; choosing work that really requires me to be on my learning edge and continually advancing my skillfulness in relationships. I like that the work I do with Coraggio presents an opportunity for me to improve the quality of my relationships in the rest of my life.

What is your personal motto?
“Dive in!” I love swimming in the beautiful, clear, cold rivers of the Pacific Northwest. When I find myself hesitating in the face of a challenge, I imagine myself standing on the edge of a river. I draw on that feeling of leaping in; knowing that I never regret it, to generate trust in myself and inspire that first step forward.