Rumi, the great poet is quoted saying Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.
This aptly describes what the YPARD community felt upon the departure of Courtney Paisley having attained the age limit to be involved in a leadership position at YPARD. Investing 7.5 years in a network is no easy feat and this called for some celebrations to appreciate the great amount of work she had put into the network. We held a couple of celebrations to mark her departure. These included;
On the second day of the YPARD strategic planning meeting in Prague, we had a dinner on the second day at the Vtalva River where we presented her with a thesis of sorts from the YPARD community. Basically, this was a collation of photos and quotes that we had solicited from the network members. See below for a longer list of the quotes for the YPARD network.
In Rome, with the GFAR secretariat, we hosted a going away party where the GFAR colleagues conveyed some good wishes to Courtney as well as appreciate the time she spent with the secretariat team.
Marina Cherbonier, former Communications and Knowledge Manager, penned down a reflective piece To an unsung disruptive leader as Courtney Paisley bade farewell to the young agriculturists network. The post highlights Courtneys game-changing impact as a disruptive leader towards truly sustainable development.
Courtney penned her piece Passing on the YPARD mantle reflecting on the lessons learned from her time with YPARD and relaying her gratitude towards the vibrant YPARD community which is a source of continuous learning.
After being in YPARD already for a long time, I have been so pleased to meet you for the first time at the BCFN event in Milano, in December 2017. I would like to thank you with all my heart for your work, time, passion and availability that you have been providing to us, YPARDians. As the Director of this amazing community, you gave us the strength to pursue our missions. I hope we will continue to be in contact to create new and richer communities by working together for a better world! I wish you all the best for you and your family! Italy will always welcome you! Cheers!
I wish you all the best in your new journey! YPARD has evolved and grown incredibly under your leadership, and Im positive we wouldnt be where we are today without you. We have so many things to thank you for, but to me the most important one is to thank you for being a truly supportive peer for many youth in agriculture around the globe. They (we!) will never forget you and thats something to be very proud of. Mucha suerte!
I would like to personally let you know that you leaving your position as YPARD Director creates a vacuum but it also affords you the opportunity to explore and fulfill your destiny at another level. I have enjoyed working here with you and I sincerely appreciate having had the chance to work briefly with you. Thank you for all the loving memories, inspiration, best wishes, support. And encouragement. Those moments form the possession of our lives. Under your guidance, we learned more than we could have ever expected! Thank you for setting us YPARDians up for success in the agricultural world. Best of luck in the next stage of your career. It's difficult to bid you farewell as you leave, though my mind says you have a brighter future in store & a better life ahead... the heart can never outgrow, the pleasant experience of having you near, wherever you may go, Here's wishing you all the best. Happy cheers from YPARD Nigeria Regards
Eric Terver Nyikwagh
I had just a few minutes to talk with you and know you better during the youth halting deforestation conference and training in Rome. But it was enough for me to understand that you are a wonderful person who really tries to help us, young. I told you: I know, sometimes it feels that you cant do it anymore, important is just to keep going, even if from a million, only one person will really listen, and I know you do! Thank you very much for your work and patience.
"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in, and day-out." - Robert Collier. Dear Courtney, from YPARD Hungary we would like to thank you for the continuous efforts you made day by day to make alive our community. It is not really a farewell message, rather we wish you perseverance and success for the new tasks in your life!
Nous en sommes fier pour toi du travail abattu sur le plan global que national. YPARD RDC est aujourd'hui, l'un des chapitres le plus dynamique au sein de la région YPARD Africa. Et, nous te disons merci pour cette oeuvre et ta bravoure. C'est ainsi que nous disons, au commencement de ton nouveau départ, nous gardons dans nos coeurs " les plus beaux moments " que sont l'acceptation de commencer ce chapitre de la RDC et les webinar sur le fundraising. Mais aussi que tu gardes toujours dans ton coeur les souvenirs que nous avons partagés ensemble au sein de YPARD. Peu importe la distance, grâce aux nouvelles technologies, tu pourras toujours, être avec nous où que tu sois. Tu as laissé une équipe et tu l'as formée pour assurer la professionnalisation de YPARD. Bien encore chère Courtney. Avec les mots et la magie des mots " nous restons uni comme une grande famille" au sein de YPARD. Pour YPARD RDC, Aimé Kazika (YPARD RDC) "C'est pour toi Courtney ! S'il est plus facile de continuer une oeuvre, mais il n'est pas facile de le commencer et de le voir grandir. C'est ainsi pour YPARD que tu as vu naître et grandir jusqu'à atteindre la République Démocratique du Congo.
Im sad to hear you leave.. but I am sure you will embark on new adventures! I really liked working with you and enjoyed our trip to Mexico Thanks for all the lively discussions we had! Hugs
Farewell from us in YPARD Sweden, we wish you all the luck in your future endeavors. And if you ever find yourself in Sweden, let's grab a fika (coffee and cakes) together. Take care!
I am glad I had the pleasure to meet you in person. I know sometimes it could be hard with all our busy schedules, but I am happy it happened. I hope you acknowledge yourself for the hard work you put into developing YPARD globally. You have a brilliant future ahead of you.
Víctor Suarez Villanueva
Courtney, an outstanding leader, friend and innovator. Often said by scholars that everything we do and achieve is an outcome of a leader. Driving this world-known professional platform (YPARD) with sincerity, enthusiasm, passion, energy, fun, innovation, networking, inclusiveness and best working approach are some of the most commendable efforts. You are and remain one of the best leader who truly represents young people at every available opportunity. Your selfless service is admirable right from your amazing ways of interacting with the team across YPARD chapters and the excellent ways of composing your facilitating mails as well as sharing opportunities. Every pictures of yours is with a smiles which portray a sign that you enjoyed serving for YPARD to transform the course of youth in agriculture. I reflected on the day you came to Nigeria for the launch of the ENABLE Youth program in Abuja. Even though, I could not make it down to see you in person but am glad you came to the green land of Nigeria. Finally, I will not hide my feelings that I will miss you but in all, thank you for everything.
Thank you very much for the opportunity that you gave me and for trusting me to be a country representative. Your strong character encouraged me and motivated me. Thank you for everything you have done for the big YPARD family. I wish you boundless success wherever you go.
Ramona Mihaela Ciubotaru
YPARD Armenia team wishes you all the best in your future endeavors. We're sure you will work in new position with the same dedication and spirit youve showed throughout the years working with YPARD big team. And we are hopeful the new phase in life will bring you more opportunities and happy moments. And finally, thank you very much for the huge work you've done for the amazing network of people called YPARD. ALL THE BEST!
Dear Courtney, In April 2017, while I was presenting at 'One World - No Hunger' Conference in Berlin, you stood up to speak!! You captured my attention when you said, you are from YPARD. Inside me, I was like that lady is the reason, me a village youth from Uganda is here in Berlin. I set my mind to go back in Uganda and be more active in YPARD activities. Indeed in May 2017, I became the country representative!! I further got inspired with your leadership!! Your leadership skills make it easy for you to manage the diverse YPARD team. Many directors give orders, you gave us direction at YPARD. Many directors give targets, Courtney for you gave us a vision. Many directors lead by authority, you have always led us by respect and example. Farewell to a director, like no other. Im proud to have learned some of these qualities from you. Thank you for guiding us! You are a role model for me and many others at YPARD, and though I am sad to see you go, I know that you will further shine in whatever you do next. Im grateful for the time that weve been able to work together and am hopeful you will go on to affect many others in agriculture. Always remember that once a YPARDIAN leader, always a YPARDIAN leader. So I hope you will always be our leader wherever you will be!! See you soon in Prague, we should take a memorial photo together!! Much love and hugs from Uganda.
I want to thank you for the time you have given and dedicated to this movement so important for young people, such as YPARD. Notwithstanding that I am a new member of YPARD and I have not many memories with you, but I feel the importance of the work that you have done for YPARD and for us so far. For me, it remains a very nice memory to have your name and signature in my papers as YPARD representative for Albania. I want to wish you good luck and much success in the future and at the same time, I want to express my most sincere thanks for what you have done so far for YPARD. With much love and respect from Albania, the small Mediterranean country.
My dearest Courtney, This is not a goodbye its just a see you soon. I am so impressed by the strong person you are, work you have done in and for YPARD and how passionate you are about creating a space for youth agriculture. Meeting you in Vienna, at Tropentag 2016 made me feel proud to be a part of this exciting community you have created and most importantly you make me proud to share it with others and to see the difference it makes for young agricultural enthusiast globally. Now as you embark on a new adventure I wish you excitement, fun, lots and lots of laughter and that you continue to achieve each goal you set out to achieve. The person you are and the difference you make will continue to transcend through time and space! Cheers!!!
Courtney, thank you for your great contribution for development of YPARD. It was a huge pleasure and an honour for me to work together with you. I wish you a great success in your future career and I am sure that you will continue to impress, inspire and surprise us with your excellent performance and further activities.
Very good luck with your new upcoming adventures and thank you very much and deeply for the part of you that you have given us! It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with you. Kindest regards.
Hey Courtney, I'd like to thank you, in behalf of YPARD Philippines, for the invaluable work you do for YPARD and even for our national chapter. It has been an honor and privilege to know you as a friend and colleague in this network. I wish you the best in the next phase of your life. You are an amazing woman and a worldchanger. God bless you abundantly! Mabuhay!
Courtney, the first time I met you in person was in GCARD3 in 2016. That time I was a very fresh RC and honestly I was in trouble to clearly understand the structure of YPARD. Soon I could see that YPARD is a unique global family with its heart and shining sun in the middle with you. Under your leadership, YPARD grew incredibly, many young people around the globe, and not only us, appreciate your hard work and will have you always in their minds. From the deepest of my heart, I wish you all the best in your private and professional life. I have to say that you are everything what each organization wishes to have, and I am eager to see what will be your next mission. Thank you for your passion, enthusiasm and energy you invested in YPARD, for always being fair. We will never forget that (and also your beautiful smile.
YPARD Asia and Pacific
Dear Courtney, To work for YPARD is really a great journey for me, my career and life is totally changed. To work with you is really an exciting mission, your commitment, your capacity and even your way of talking and working influenced me. I appreciate your trust and support for my work in YPARD and I feel so grateful to be friends with you. All the best for you and the family!
YPARD Steering Committee
I am so impressed by the work and efforts you've been taken even though I just join YPARD for 8 months. I am also astonished that youve engaged in this meaningful job for over 8 years. It is a pity that I work with you for such a short period. I wish you a more successful career and wonderful life in future!
It is great to recount how youone person is so many things to us- the largest network of youth in agriculture. As a mother, you nurture each one's dreams with words of encouragement and assurance. You are the listening ear that churns out infallible solutions. As a friend, you show us how you believe in us and make us know we can succeed at every good work we set our hands to. You are our coach and yet our cheerleader; you are a super woman. As a big sister, you stand with us guiding us along the paths you have once walked and help us achieve great success. We at YPARD Africa are so blessed to know you and are so grateful for the much we have learned from you. It is not a happy moment for us watching you leave YPARD as we have watched you play your role perfectly as Director of the movement. We will miss you. But we will preserve the good memories of you by continually replicating the good qualities we encountered in you: your friendliness, confidence, resilience, passion, commitment as well as your readiness to inspire. It is now our turn to to encourage you to step out into the new life opened up before you now. Step out there and be a heroin to the world. And remember: You will always be our Courtney- our super woman.
Dearest Courtney, It's with great sadness and a smile that I sit down to write a farewell message to you. Sadness because saying goodbye is always a bit sad. it has been such a pleasure to work with you over the past 2 years to build YPARD's mentoring program. You've been one of the only bosses I've had who treats their employees with trust, and that's been an incredibly empowering and liberating experience for me. I'm also writing this with a smile remembering all the achievements and fun times we've had (so many memories that still make me giggle). I'm smiling also thinking about the post-YPARD future ahead of you that I'm sure will be full of adventure! You're a bright light in the world Courtney - thank you for all that you've given me and 15,000 others in the YPARD community just by being you. Cheers,
You know how they say we be the salt and the light of the earth? You have been a salt and a light not only in my path but in others too even beyond YPARD. This one and a half year has been interesting for lack of a better word. You shone through and I am confident you will everywhere you go. Do you as always! Thank you for being such a great leader and manager. I have learnt a great deal of humility, patience and leadership from you. Godspeed my dear friend!