Hi friends! We're back after a long weekend away at the coast and it was so. darn. refreshing. I got to celebrate my birthday with Beau and Walter in one of my favorite places in the world and then spend the weekend with all of my favorite pediatricians at Beau's work retreat. It was good. And necessary. And now I'm happy to be back!
Today in the Celebration Series we're chatting with one of my closest friends — the lovely, kind and brilliant Sarah Forbes. Sarah works for a non-profit called The Colorado Education Initiative and as I always suspected she would, she's already thriving in her career and using her talents for the betterment of others.
Sarah is super-smart, driven, passionate about her work and her relationships, loyal, thoughtful, sincere and the most wonderful friend. And you should also know that she's probably one of the friendliest people I know with the most infectious laugh. I feel so fortunate to know her, learn from her, and call her a friend and I'm thrilled to be introducing her to you today.
Let's get into the interview!
Give us a quick background on who you are and what you do for work.
My name is Sarah Forbes, and I live in Denver with my rugged husband Jimmy and not-so-rugged dog, Clive (Sorry, pal, but you’re afraid of water). I work at The Colorado Education Initiative (CEI), a nonprofit that works with Colorado educators, schools, districts, and other public education stakeholders to improve outcomes for kids. I came to CEI two years ago, when Jimmy and I made the decision to move to Colorado from North Carolina, where I taught high school math and went to graduate school. We were a bit nervous about moving away from our families and many friends in the Southeast, but it has turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve made together (Sorry, Mom).
What about your work brings you the most joy and fulfillment?
I feel really grateful to be able to answer: so many things. I applied to CEI through its website, not knowing too much about it, and somehow that led to me being at an organization that is such an incredible fit. First, I am really proud to be a part of the work CEI does for education in the state—a large part of what we do is elevate the amazing work and expertise of educators. I think educators have one of the most – okay, probably the most – important jobs, and I love being a part of an organization that honors their work. I also learn a lot at my job. I’m on the research team at CEI, and I am constantly improving my analysis skills and learning about effective strategies in education. I love feeling challenged by what I do each day. Finally, I go to work with some of the best people I know. My colleagues are wickedly smart, passionate, and caring people, and bonus: nearly every day, I end up laughing so hard, I cry.
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
Professionally: CEI hosts Ed Talks—modeled after Ted Talks—at each of the events we organize, and we just had our large annual conference in Snowmass (not a bad gig, I know), where three educators talked about something that motivates them in their work with students. I’m not much of a crier, aside from when I’m cry-laughing (see above), but these talks get me every time.
Personally: All the moms in my life. Many of my friends here in Denver are new moms—in fact, 7 out of 10 couples in our Bible study group have had babies in the past year or so. This is pretty amazing for me not only because I get to be around many cute babies without the sleep deprivation and overall responsibility of keeping them alive, but also because I get to walk alongside these awesome couples as they go through a really exciting transition in their lives. I am so impressed with my friends who are moms and how they fiercely love this person they just met, how they still make time to be very present and thoughtful friends, how they do all of it with a ton of grace, and how many of them would disagree with that last statement because they’re so reflective and honest about their challenges as new moms. Seeing these qualities in them also makes me reflect on my own mom and how I owe nearly everything I love about my life now to her and my dad…and how I am excited to one day (not now) become a mom myself.
What has been difficult lately?
Time management. I lectured my high school students about it all the time as a teacher, and turns out, I’m really not good at it. Case in point: I was supposed to send these answers over to Lindsay a few weeks ago. I’m really loving my life in Denver right now, and that leads me to want to take full advantage of all the opportunities I have….and then, overextend myself. Oops.
What makes you different from everyone else in the world and how does that uniqueness manifest itself in your work and life?
One thing I really love is celebrating others and making them feel valued and cared for. I also love good food, shopping, and planning things…so I try to put these all together as often as I can by making sure I celebrate my friends’ and families’ birthdays, babies, house purchases, accomplishments, etc. with cards, surprise gifts, and get-togethers.
If you owned a food truck, what would you serve and why?
Pickle-forward dishes (e.g., bloody marys, fried pickles) and/or cilantro-forward dishes (e.g., Thai food, tacos). Apparently I like divisive foods….
Sarah, thank you for sharing your wisdom and for being so all-around wonderful. I appreciate you more than you know! You can find more of Sarah on Facebook (because she proudly does not have an instagram account) and you can find out more about the Colorado Education Initiative right here.
Love & Respect,