Letter from the President – July 2022

by Erin McGann, Providence
EWI of Spokane Chapter President

While unusually wet and rainy this year in the Inland NW, during the 4th of July holiday weekend, people across America gathered to eat, drink, laugh, celebrate and enjoy their freedom; unselfishly provided to us by a countless number of brave souls, past and present. As I sat down to write this article, my memories drifted to the friends and family that have served this country gallantly, including both of my grandfathers, my father-in-law, my brother-in-law, and my own father. I thought about the word “freedom” – what it means to me, to my family and to this community.

While taking a break from writing, my mind (thanks to Google) wandered and serendipitously stumbled upon a rock-climbing organization called Warriors Way. I had never heard of this training group before but found myself captivated by their thoughtful approach and explanation of freedom (they were talking about the freedom to climb, specifically for their members):

There are three types of freedom. The first kind of freedom is “freedom from,” a freedom from the constraints of society. Second, is “freedom to,” a freedom to do what we want to do. Thirdly, there is “freedom to be,” a freedom, not just to do what we want, but a freedom to be who we were meant to be.

Typically, if you Google the definition of freedom, you land on “the quality or state of being free without hindrance or restraint in choice or action.”  To me, that is pretty straightforward.

However, if you re-read this broader definition as outlined by the rock-climbing group, freedom intentionally changes:  “From – To – Be.”  For me, this is an actionable, step-by-step framework that I can assign to all aspects of my life.

I guess what I’m getting at is that, at the heart of it all, is the definition of “freedom” really just mean the opportunity for evolution?

As an organization, EWI of Spokane has been evolving for 43 years. Nationwide, EWI has been evolving for nearly 100 years. Where EWI started and where we are now is noticeably different, but our mission and values have never deviated. I am proud to say that we still hold true to promoting the personal and professional development of our member reps. Again, evolution.

Time is one of our most valuable assets, but it is fleeting. So, I encourage you to keep this “From-To-Be” lens on everything, from your personal to your professional lives. Because when we combine self-awareness with intentional action and vision, we get one step closer to true purpose, and that my friends, is what I consider freedom.

Thank you to our military families and friends who sacrifice so that we may continue to have the opportunities that freedom provides us all.