From July 22-26 TSC Alliance staff members from across the country came together at our headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland for our annual Staff Planning Meetings. These meetings are incredibly important and vital as they allow the TSC Alliance team to pause from their day-to-day responsibilities and work together to prioritize the best ways to move forward our mission to find a cure for tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) and improve the lives of those affected both next year and into the future.

The week begins by turning inward and diagnosing how we are functioning as a team and whether we are holding each other accountable so that we can best serve our TSC community. This conversation is built on a fundamental trust we have in each other which makes everything else we do possible and helps set the tone for the rest of the week. From there we expand to a holistic view of the organization: Where do we stand now? What are our current challenges? And what opportunities are there to make an even greater impact? These questions inform what our top 10 goals are for 2020 and help us tackle the greatest obstacles to our organization and to the community at large, including maintaining access to vital treatments, continuing to improve the viability and functionality of our database, and raising the necessary funds to make the identified goals a reality.

Midweek we transition to inter-department meetings, which allow staff members from different teams to work together on our big initiatives for next year. One thing I find so inspiring about these meetings is how committed our team is to each other and how quickly they step up to support one another. These inter-department meetings demonstrate that we do not work in silos, but instead work together to ensure that every person on our team, and in turn the organization, is successful. Success means we provide the best in necessary resources, information and support to the TSC community and in driving TSC research forward toward a cure. Finally, the week concludes with department meetings where the big ideas from earlier crystallize into specific strategies and budgets for the coming year. We start the week defining our destination and end the week creating the road map to get us there.

The other thing I find so inspiring is that as our team continues to grow you still hear our mission shine through from every single staff member. Whether they’ve been here for over a decade or just a few months everyone shares the same refrain that what we strive for is to inspire hope, to drive research to find new treatments and a cure, and to foster a community of support for all those affected by TSC. This ultimately speaks to the incredible culture we have built and how our story and vision is reflected in our strategic plan and carried all the way down into individual performance goals so that each person knows how they fit into our broader mission.

This year’s meetings felt like they were bigger than just planning for next year, they were focused on how we transition to the next evolution of our organization. We have set some incredibly ambitious goals for the next five years, goals that will require us to further grow our team and stretch our capacity, but I’m confident in our ability to achieve those goals because of the strong foundation we have created at the TSC Alliance. I am so proud of our dedicated and passionate team and as the week came to a close, I couldn’t help but feel rejuvenated and excited to lead them forward as we all recommit to giving everything. But up.

In hope,