4word founder Diane Paddison pens her annual “thank you” note for all that 4word has been blessed with this year. Read about all the different ways God’s hand has been seen in the events that have transpired over the past eleven months, and how you, reader, have been used to change the lives of other women just like you!
Don’t have time to read this blog? Listen to it below!
As I look back on 2021, I am amazed at and most thankful for how God continues to bring AMAZING LEADERS to 4word. All of you are leaders helping me to take 4word to the next level as God continues to use 4word to CHANGE LIVES through the 4word Mentor Program, Community Groups including C-Level, and our blogs and podcast.
I learned so much from Molly Fletcher’s podcast interview with Carla Harris, Vice Chair, Morgan Stanley, in September. Molly and Carla are both friends. Carla met with me when I felt God calling me to found 4word in 2010. On this podcast, Molly asked Carla, “what is the best leadership lesson you have learned?” Carla replied, “I learned this from Meg Whitman when she was CEO of eBay. Meg said, ‘my most critical job is to have the right people, in the right seats, at the right time.‘” This has never been truer for 4word than in 2021.
God brought Mara McNeill, Hope Dmuchowski, and Lori Joe Brown to the 4word Board of Directors and Sandy Lamb, Stacy Osborne, Tonia Degner and Robin Greenlee to the 4word Advisory Board. I am so grateful for my other Board and Advisory Board members, too.
On the 4word team, God provided Marion Medina, Director of Programs which includes C-Level. God also had Molly Hegenderfer to the position of Manager of Technology. I am also so thankful for Jordan Johnstone and Trina Lee who celebrated eight years with 4word.
The C-Level Strategy team includes Marisa Feinup, Lisa Payne, Hope Dmuchowski, Mara McNeill, Emma Sharma and our fearless leader Kathryn Tack with support from our team. They will be determining an important part of 4word’s future strategy.
The only area of discouragement for me in 2021 is that I couldn’t take away the pain with which my daughter Annie deals. She and I traveled to Augusta, GA, twice with some improvement in a few areas but worse pain in one area. I went through a tough May and June with spinal pain; however, I know it was nothing compared with what Annie has dealt with every day for seven years. I have learned to take each day at a time and to be grateful, especially for my health.
My greatest surprise of 2021 was a transformational gift. I prayed and continue to pray every day, “God, please provide miraculous provision for 4word.” And He did in 2021 and for the next ten years with the Swallowtail Group’s gift. This gift allowed us to bring in Marion Medina, resources for the C-Level Brunch and Forum, and support the 4word operation. I know this was all God, because the transformational gift was never asked for; it was offered. This gift will change 4word forever!
Since Annie was struck with pelvic pain in fall of 2014, I have done two things (that I will continue to do) to remind me of God’s blessings in my life. First, I start each day with the YouVersion Bible study, then summarize it, end it with a prayer, and text it to our entire family, by their request. Secondly, I write on my calendar what I am grateful for from the day before, in Annie’s life and in my personal and professional life. Many of your names are a part of my daily calendar of gratitude. These two important morning practices will not change for me in 2022.
Again, I’m so thankful to God and to you, dear reader, for everything that 4word and myself have been blessed with and by in 2021. I am so excited to see what 2022 has in store!