Nobody quite expected 2020. The only thing we knew for certain were those four digits, and the rest blew over us like a torrential storm. Every single person in the world was met with uncertainty and forced to look change in the face. As coronavirus case numbers rose, workers donned masks, and the miles between loved ones stretched on, I thought about the word wellness over and over. Stay safe. Be well. It was a simple sentiment, but it held so much weight in a global crisis like this.
Wellness meant more than a stable body temperature. It was about care. It was about the practical mindset behind pop-up testing sites, brave folks organizing and attending protests, and the swollen hearts of neighbors packing groceries for affected communities. It was about the handwritten thank-you notes from children to essential workers, supportive signs taped to windows, and even surprise birthday parties held over Zoom (a special thanks to my friends for giving me one). Wellness is about collective strength and a need to rethink how we operate in this world. And that is something we’ve sought to explore in our first issue of 2021.
As this issue came together and the stories took shape, I wasn’t just inspired . . . I was proud. I was proud of John Walker for allowing his personal story to guide him as he designs the communities at Sunrise Senior Living, proud of Jeff Cook as he embraces the nitty-gritty with his team to help them build healthcare centers in the Midwest, proud of Justin Fallon Dollard as he directs massive projects at the University of Rochester for both students and the patients who come through the university’s hospital facilities, and, of course, proud of our cover star, Sasaki CEO James Miner, who leads a firm that designs and plans grand-scale projects with special attention to the communities in which they exist—especially in relation to agricultural sustainability.
I’m also proud of my team. We’ve weathered plenty of storms before, but last year forced us to keep moving even when we couldn’t see the other side of things, to have faith in our abilities and one another, and to say a permanent goodbye to the office we called home for so many years. Still, we’ve taken the stories—both yours and our own—with us.
So, thank you to my team at Guerrero for the motivation to move forward during hard days, thank you to the leaders in this issue for letting us tell their stories, and thank you to you, our readers, our network for quite literally building the foundations for a bigger, braver, more beautiful future.