“Building Communities Through Our Stories”.  When we gather together as local government professionals, I find great privilege in hearing the stories of people’s experience in their communities. Each story shares a different struggle, moment of joy, and lesson that we can all learn from. Some stories are humorous and others are tear jerking. Sometimes the stories make us feel better about our roles, and inspire us in various ways. Most importantly, there are stories that must be heard. Whether we need to be reminded we are not alone, even when it feels that way, or need to be empowered to make important change, our stories showcase who we are as leaders. 

This past year has been a great reminder that the story we intimately know, our story, is not the only story out there. While I had the opportunity to work the past year from home, in peace and quiet, many of our employees did not have such opportunity. Our employees struggled with home schooling, caring for loved ones, the loss of jobs for family members, and in our very own professional organization, the loss of life. Our very nation seemed to experience a collective grief that was felt by just turning on the news. I was swiftly humbled that my story is not the only story. All of our stories together create an environment, a culture, and a sense of belonging. Yet, the individuality of each story has a positive impact on differentiating us and celebrates our uniqueness.  

TCMA has provided me the outlet to share, to give high fives and hugs, to listen, to seek advice, and to provide mentorship. Mostly, it has allowed me a seat at a table with many different stories and has opened additional seats to many more. I like to look under the table at the shoes that are at our TCMA table these days. From flip flops, to heels, to work boots, to kicks, to chanclas, to cowboy boots, and even to wing tips – we all have walked paths in those different shoes and have a story to tell. 

I hope to hear your story, please take a seat at our table. I hope you know your story, its importance, and have the courage to share it with others. I hope that you find comfort in knowing you are not alone in TCMA. Your story, whatever it may be, is welcome.

In friendship and service,

Sereniah Breland
TCMA President
City Manager, City of Pflugerville