Jenn Hoos Rothberg -

Jan 26, 2023

Our Life Paths & A Season of Change in Our Bridging Work

a hand drawing a lion wearing a feathered head dress

There is something about a transition into the new year that brings about a ritual of reflection for me. The act of flipping the calendar from December to January can magically slow down time just enough to help me take stock of the rhythm of life. I become deeply aware of the individual pieces that contribute to a greater whole, and how each interaction, relationship, and decision all add up to one story, one journey, one life. It was in this reflection that I felt compelled to revisit an essay by Tim Urban which included an accompanying illustration about our life paths: the paths that took us to where we are today and the ones that are still before us.

life path diagram
In his reflection, Tim pointed out that our desire to reminisce about the black lines — to dwell on regrets and what-ifs — can prevent us from seeing the green forest of opportunities in front of us. On the flip side, the belief that we have “countless” time in the future can also put us in a place of complacency. So, the challenge is: How might we live fully from the vantage point of where we are today, to look back at our lives with healthy nostalgia while making decisions about how we want to shape our futures?

As an eternal optimist and tinkerer, I thrive on being at a fork in the road. I love knowing that lessons can be learned from reflection and that beautiful opportunities are right at our feet, waiting for us to take the next step. And the truth is, we don’t need to wait for the new year to do it.

In this spirit, I want to share the news that our Einhorn Collaborative team is branching into an exciting new path. I ask you to join me in celebrating our Bridging Strategy Lead Itai Dinour who will be taking on a new challenge as the Executive Director of the Carmel Hill Fund, an NYC-based foundation focused on improving youth literacy and mental health outcomes, starting in February. Itai came to Einhorn Collaborative in 2014 to lead our work first in the K-12 social-emotional learning space and then our efforts in higher education, civics education, and national service. But our friendship and partnership started many years before when he was leading the team at City Year New York.

The nostalgic part of me wants to look back at the many wonderful and hard things we have accomplished together over the past eight years: the creation of the David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement at Cornell University, the sunsetting of our previous strategies to give way to new focus areas, and the lasting and trust-filled relationships with partners past and present. At the same time, the optimist in me is beyond excited to cheer on Itai from the sidelines and bear witness to the great work he will be leading in his next chapter.

So, what does this mean for Einhorn Collaborative and our Bridging work? We are as committed as ever to our mission to help develop the next generation of bridgers by supporting and growing the fields of civic learning, community-engaged learning, and national service. In the next few months, we will be hiring a new Bridging Strategy Lead to carry this work forward. We would appreciate your help in nominating qualified candidates and sharing the job listing when it’s ready with your network. If this role makes your heart sing, please express your interest here to join our team!

I want to leave you with this quote from artist Paul Klee in hope that it will take some pressure off designing your life paths in the months ahead: “A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.” You don't have to paint complete; you just have to keep wandering to appreciate the beauty of our “one wild and precious life.

I’m grateful for all the paths we have taken to get here, and I’m excited and inspired by all the paths we have before us to travel together.

Jenn Hoos Rothberg leads Einhorn Collaborative. Learn more about our work and more about Jenn. Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter and be the first to read Jenn’s blog posts.