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Open letter from Joe Yancey

An Open Letter to the Board, Staff, Donors and Supporters of Places for People from Joe Yancey

Dear Friends:

Again, thank you all so much for the amazingly wonderful send off yesterday. You did truly surprise me, and I wasn’t prepared or had time to really reflect on the last ten years or adequately say what I wanted to say. As I have had time to reflect, I would like to say what I wish I had said yesterday.

It doesn’t escape me that I began this journey standing in front of another amazing building under construction, Places at Page. The past ten years have been all about building; building the infrastructure, building the capacity, building the expertise and building the culture that would allow Places for People to better serve the people of St. Louis City and County and provide them with what they deserve in quality, caring and compassionate service with the goal of improving health and building a life with purpose and meaning in spite of chronic illness similar to those living productive lives with chronic physical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and others. Together we have built an organization that serves as the leading behavioral health organization in St. Louis City and County and one of the leading organizations in the nation.

It also doesn’t escape me that we stand on the shoulders of our predecessors including Dr. Hilary Sandall, Mildred Dunn, Tim Hawley, Francie Broderick and Dr. Gary Morse who also built the infrastructure and fertilized the ground for Places for People to be where it is today. Our new CEO, Laura McCallister, begins her journey also standing on the shoulders of these amazing leaders and visionaries and I have no doubt that she will continue the course of this legacy while also charting her own. The reality is that the people we are privileged to serve deserve no less and, frankly, are dependent on a system that works to facilitate moving beyond treating illness to building lives. She is fortunate to have a workforce that believes in its mission and performs the work with incredible passion and commitment to this mission.

All of this comports with what I believe is my purpose in life and hope that others also believe. That is that I, and all of us, are here to stand on the shoulders of those before us and lay our plank on a ship that we will likely never see sail. This is a ship that is just, fair and equitable for everyone regardless of the color of your skin, your disability, your faith or your circumstance that allows all to pursue a life with meaning and purpose and provides the opportunity for all to lay their lives planks on that ship. This is our human journey.

With sincere appreciation and eternal optimism,