In 2012 the IOCDF embarked on a new initiative — we hired Carly Bourne as our first Director of Communications! Carly hit the ground running as soon as she set foot in the door. She helped plan the rally welcoming Denis Asselin to Boston after his 500 mile pilgrimage, which subsequently led to the formation of the 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk. For the past four-plus years Carly has spearheaded an entire rebranding of the IOCDF with a new logo and four new websites. She launched the Ambassador and OCDvocate programs and countless other initiatives. Carly is off to the next chapter in her professional career, but has left an indelible mark at the Foundation for years to come. Below, please read Carly’s farewell message to you all. — Jeff Szymanski, PhD
Today is a bittersweet day for me, as my last official day working for the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF). I am sad to leave this amazing community, but also ready to tackle my next adventure, helping another organization to grow and prosper.
When I started work at the IOCDF nearly five years ago, I had no idea that this job would shape me so much as a professional and as a person. I have witnessed incredible resilience, generosity, and compassion in this community from individuals struggling with their own demons, but still willing to do anything to help others just the same.
It has been a privilege to be a part of that, and to work to help share your stories with the world at large. I remember my first OCD Conference, just a month after I started at the IOCDF, where I sat and talked at length with a mother who was struggling with the decision of whether or not to share her son’s story as part of an awareness campaign. Her 12-year old son was eager to become a vocal advocate, and to help others with his story, but she was worried that it would come back to haunt him — that his openness would make him a target in high school, or affect his college admissions, or worse still, his future career. We talked for over an hour about the pros and cons of this decision — well, I mostly just listened. But eventually she realized that she could not stop him from this. She was so proud of his desire to help others, so why should she? It was at that moment that I realized how important this job was. What a great responsibility I had — the IOCDF has — to all of you and your stories.
I hope that my work here has made a meaningful difference in the ability for individuals affected by OCD and related disorders to live full and productive lives and I want to sincerely thank all of you for allowing me to be a part of this community for the last four and a half years.