Inspired by the Journey
Inspiration can come from different people and can manifest in different forms. It can also come from respect for struggle, perseverance, and courage on the journey. While there are many sources of inspiration for me, this moment to start a new endeavor like SGG Insight is inspired by my father Rev. Dr. P.K. Geevarghese and his journey.
I grew up hearing the stories of my father’s early life. It was one marked by both relative affluence and then poverty, joy and pain, hope and disillusionment. Two images associated with my father influenced this moment to create SGG Insight. My father and I shared a love of nature and the picturesque settings that invite deep personal reflection. My father spoke of his spiritual awakening in the mountains. I, too, found significance in my own mountaintop experiences. It is also in these moments that I gained perspective and insight into my own life, purpose and path.
Captured in the logo, SGG Insight harmonizes both of these experiences for me: gaining a broader, more strategic perspective from a higher elevation and the need to gain insight in order to make change.
My father’s life is also characterized by a long journey with twists and turns, finding courage in facing unknowns, and never losing faith. He traveled great distances in India to gain an education and then traveled even greater distances by ship to the United States to pursue his dreams.
He saw much of the world and virtually every pocket of the US in his own journey and, upon marrying my mother Grace and having a family, he shared that experience of travel with us. Those exposures and the relationships he made shaped him and us. It took us to small villages and farming towns to the largest cities and dense neighborhoods, experiencing the diversity of people and places. We were blessed.
His journey was also one marked by painful circumstances. Most of my life I witnessed my father’s struggle for justice and dignity for himself and others. He was a scholar and teacher, priest and preacher, family man and community leader. He was not always accepted, but he was always authentic, bold and truthful. He was proud and confident, even though life wounded him on so many fronts. He had supreme belief in his children’s abilities and calling to contribute and lead. His own passion to find systemic ways to alleviate and eliminate poverty was given as a legacy to me.
Then, just when my father and mother were getting prepared for the joys of retirement and rest, my father — this strong, vibrant, courageous man — was afflicted with Alzheimer’s. My mother’s patience, love, care, determination, and devotion overflowed during the over 10 years of the illness. As she had done all my life, she sacrificed herself for my father and our family, taking on the indignities and tragedies of caring for someone with this dreadful disease, often at her own expense. She carried forward his vision for what we all could do and, when I had the opportunity to serve as a leader in Obama Administration, no one was prouder than my mother and father. It was my parents who inspired me to serve, and it was my parents who modeled service to family and community. We are unable to repay these gifts of sacrificial love, but there were small moments I had to do that. I captured one of them in the Washington Post story posted on the website.
On October 17, 2018, my father passed away. While we knew that Alzheimer’s was taking its toll on him and his time was more limited, you can never be ready. I still tear up every time I think of him. That will happen for a while. It’s a profound loss. However, it was my father’s passing that also galvanized me to act. I have been blessed and humbled by the opportunity to lead organizations and work on so many fronts, but I felt more urgency and conviction to lead in different ways after he died. I needed a platform to lead and serve in my own voice, and I did something my father might never have done. I started my own consulting company SGG Insight.
I hope SGG Insight can provide a mechanism for transformative change. It will provide a way to continue my father’s legacy and journey, but it will unfold in ways that he could have never imagined. From my father’s mountaintop experiences to my own, from his journey by ship to my own journey in this new work, I am grateful, humbled and inspired. May this work bring honor to those who have come before us and lead to the impact we have all yearned to make.