Running Into The Fire


By: Paula Boland

I love to run.  It makes me feel alive.  It represents who I am, fun, free, hard-working, competitive and all around a passionate person. I can’t imagine my life without it.  No surprise that my first 3 ½ weeks at Ember reminds me of a 5k race.  Both are fast, intense, rewarding and give me a high (runner’s high, that is).

The Ember 5k

The night before the big day was a sleepless one, due to the high level of excitement (aka nervous energy and anxiety).  My thoughts were filled with scenarios of “what ifs” and unexpected obstacles.  Would I be able to handle them? How will I perform against my competitors/colleagues?     

The Gun Fires

As I anticipated, the obstacles came, right at mile (week) 1:  Every team member had years of event experience, were fluent in event biz lingo and Macs/ Basecamp Whizzes.  I conquered those obstacles, as I typically do, with a “can-do” attitude. 

Mile 2

I settled into a groove/stride, catching my breath, put trust in all of the training (and there was a lot of that!) and feeling pretty good about myself, surrounded by stellar runners and team members. I started to believe, and feel, that I could do this.  My confidence built as I checked my watch and items off my To Do on-boarding list.

Mile 3

I started to turn on the engines.  Everything was smooth, familiar and simply awesome!  I felt like I was a part of the Ember Family.  I realized, at that moment, the secret to success in both work and play: supportive fans /training partners and colleagues that always have your back and bring out the best in you.

The Home Stretch

I knew I was approaching my goal.  I gave it 110% and was proud at my accomplishment.  On-boarding process is over, as is this race.  Time to sign up for another race and bring on a new challenge. 

Every 5k race is unique and exhilarating, same as every day at Ember. That is what attracts me to both.  I strive to learn, grow personally and professionally, be challenged, not be content with being ordinary.  I want to be extraordinary and apply all of my passions.

What’s next? Another race, of course. The feeling of movement is what I’m working for – this job does not lend it self to stagnation. I keep going, keep pushing, keep running towards the finish line. And then, do it all over again.

Chris Gasbarro