Shout-Out to REI

by Bianca Neff, Executive Director

In another blog post ('My Water Just Broke'), I mentioned how Petra's gestation period was 4 whole years. (!) As you can imagine, there's a lot of water that has flowed under the bridge during this season of preparation.

A big part of Petra's pre-history has been our link to a small but dynamic organization in Colorado Springs, CO called Resource Exchange International, or REI.

REI gets a shout-out here in the Petra blog not only because of how supportive they've been of the Petra vision and mission, but also for how they have cared for me personally as the main carrier of the vision.

 With REI staff member in downtown Cairo

With REI staff member in downtown Cairo

Since 2012, I've had the privilege of acting as associate staff care provider for different field staff in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The strategic connection allowed me to build my coaching hours toward my needed ICF credentialing, while their staff got quality coaching, making them even more effective in their fieldwork.

In fact, it was to REI staff in Egypt where Petra deployed in our first field assignment, just 2 weeks after we received our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in April 2016.

During the course of the REI/Petra relationship, I've gleaned important lessons from Ron Wiley, REI's Director of Human Resources. He's modeled how a leader can be compassionate and mission-driven at the same time. He's allowed me autonomy while always being just a Skype call away if I needed intervention or assistance. He's prayed for me and with me. He's a valuable colleague and a cherished friend.

Ron Wiley and other REI leaders have provided Petra a safe place under the wings of experienced, caring professionals who share the same vision for empowering noble-hearted people to invest their lives in their communities and nations. And after a long incubation under REI's wings, Petra Peacebuilders is now ready to leave the nest and fly high!

So, to Ron and the rest of the good people of REI: Thanks for modeling servant leadership to this fledgling new nonprofit. Petra is better because of our association with you.