Originally titled A Letter of Gratitude and Passing the Torch, this is my final editor's letter I wrote to the CreativeMornings community as the Head of Content & Brand.

Dear CreativeMornings family,

After 4.5 years of serving on the CreativeMornings HQ team, I’ll be stepping down as the Head of Content & Brand and moving onto my next chapter. I feel so lucky to have worked and learned alongside my remarkable colleagues and you, the CreativeMornings community.

How CreativeMornings Changed My Life

I will never forget my very first CreativeMornings event.

At the time, I had made the difficult decision to step away from pursuing a legal career, and all I knew was that I wanted to live a more creative life. My first talk was at our Los Angeles chapter, and the speaker was entrepreneur Jim Gilliam. The event took place in a beautiful shop tucked away in the downtown area. I couldn’t believe everything — the coffee, the pastries, the inspiration — was free and felt like any minute someone would tell me I wasn’t supposed to be there. Of course, no such thing happened.

Every month after that, I began waking up at dawn to make the long drives to Los Angeles or San Diego to attend their CreativeMornings events. (It was much to my delight that the Orange County chapter got established years after I left California.) At CreativeMornings, I finally found my people.

Fast forward to 16 events, four cities, and a cross-country move later, I signed on to the HQ team full-time to serve our attendees, organizers, and generous partners in the fall of 2016.

It’s still a surprise to me that Tina and the team decided to offer me (a younger, less experienced past self) this experience of a lifetime. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful for each of them trusting me and sharing their wisdom over the years.

What I’ve Learned

Being a part of and serving CreativeMornings has challenged me to be better.

I’ve learned so much about the power of intentional gatherings, generous hospitality, flipping challenges on the head, and the joy that comes with designing spaces rich with opportunity.

More importantly, I’ve also learned that stepping out of the way and letting others shine is critical to being a thoughtful community builder. As Lexington speaker Tanya Torp stated, “Radical hospitality is ‘transformational connection through welcome.’ It’s not radical hospitality to come in and tell other people what they need to do. It’s radical when you let them lead, and you get out of the way.”

These are lessons I will carry with me far into the future.

Passing the Torch

Whether it’s serving up timely inspiration or being the voice of CreativeMornings, I’m excited to see who will carry on the torch of the CreativeMornings Content Department. If you think this role is for you, you can read the job description here and apply.

Right now, we are in a moment that has exponentially magnified the importance of human connection and support. I believe that CreativeMornings will always be a beacon of light in this regard. It was a launchpad for me years ago, and it will continue to be for many others.

Thank you for the magic, the friendships, deep conversations, and empowering me to forge new paths in whatever I do.

Waving from Brooklyn,

Emerline Ji