News & Events

This Is Personal – Tanenbaum CEO, Joyce Dubensky’s Reflections on 2018


For the past several years, I’ve taken time at year-end to reach out to some of the people who matter to me and with whom I haven’t been in touch. It’s become a kind of personal tradition. I don’t send cards or letters reflecting on the year’s events—rather, I write an email to some of the people in my life. It’s a way that I spend an afternoon, just before the New Year arrives.

This year, though, I realized that I also wanted to share a thought with each of you, as members of Tanenbaum’s community. For months now, I’ve been thinking about what I call the numbing of America. And in recent weeks, I’ve heard public figures ranting about this dulling down of our sensibilities. They blame it on the people who disagree with their views, and on the insistent headlines, incessant social media posts, disconcerting daily news, divisiveness, violence and outright tragedies.

Whatever the cause, the bottom line is that we’re facing a crisis in compassion. It sometimes feels that our ability—that my ability—to experience compassion, empathy and react to injustice is being blunted. And while this is deeply troubling, what I also realized today, is that my annual practice of pausing to send a caring message to some people dear to me, is an antidote for this numbness.

That’s why I invite each of you to pause for a moment as we approach 2019, and to think of someone who has touched you, shown you a kindness or moved you in some way. Then, consider reaching out—just to say hello or thank you. For me, this works as a way of remembering our shared humanity. And by remembering why caring, respecting and fighting the numbness matters, I re-claim my clarity to envision justice and the motivation to keep pursuing it.

I hope each of you find meaning in this New Year.


This article was originally posted on Medium.