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ZERO TO THREE Fellows: Where Are They Now?

Q & A with Lee Kelley and Sarah Barclay Hoffman

Editor’s Note: Over the 32-year history of the fellowship, more than 300 national and international leaders are alumni of the ZERO TO THREE Fellowship. We thought you might like to find out what some of them are up to now.

Q & A with Lee Kelley, ZERO TO THREE Fellows class of 2016–2018

Lee Kelley Headshot

Director, Military Community Support Programs, U.S. Department of Defense

Lee Kelley, LMSW, is the Director of Military Community Support Teams for Military Community and Family Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense. As director, Ms. Kelley is responsible for the leadership, management, and oversight of three centrally funded Department of Defense multimillion-dollar programs—Military OneSource, Military and Family Life Counseling, and the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities Program.

1. How has your experience as a Fellow influenced the work you do now?

The ZERO TO THREE fellowship introduced me to two pivotal frameworks for leadership: collective impact and adaptive leadership. I apply pieces of both frameworks every day. When I first came into leadership, I was nervous to bring down my walls and be myself. Collective impact showed me how a lack of vulnerability and authenticity is detrimental to the team and to the mission. It is easy to get caught up in tasks, workload, and stress, and not acknowledge the interconnectedness we all experience. Collective impact and adaptive leadership really come together to show how we can be our authentic selves in leadership while supporting the team and connecting in support of shared, collective goals.

2. What have you seen or heard lately in your work that gives you hope or joy?

I realize I am biased, but our military families give me hope and give me joy. My job is to work for the military community. I am also a part of the military community as an Army veteran. The military community is a unique group of men, women, and children who create a sense of connection and community wherever they travel and live around the world. Their perseverance and resilience inspire me. Throughout a worldwide pandemic, I still saw service men and women on installations continuing the work of the military with the same can-do attitude—just wearing a mask at the same time.

3. If you could share one message with professionals who work with babies, toddlers, and their families, what would it be?

Your work is essential. Your work is critical. Our futures and our society’s future depend on you. (No pressure!)

To read more about Lee’s work on behalf of military families, visit her bio page at Military OneSource.

Q&A with Sarah Barclay Hoffman, ZERO TO THREE Fellows class of 2016–2018

Sarah Barclay Hoffman Headshot

Assistant Director of the Early Childhood Innovation Network, Program Manager, DC Collaborative for Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care

Sarah Barclay Hoffman, MPP, is a Program Manager with the Community Mental Health CORE team at Children’s National pediatric hospital in Washington, DC, where she leads mental health policy and community engagement efforts. Ms. Hoffman also serves as Director of Policy for the Early Childhood Innovation Network.
1. How has your experience as a Fellow influenced the work you do now?

The Fellowship was a profound opportunity, and provided me numerous new tools, relationships, and perspectives that continue to guide me. In particular, I come back to a few core questions and concepts (almost on a daily basis): What is the work? Whose work is it? Where and how can I lead from my current position (all of us can lead even if we are not in positions of “authority”!)? Where can I most meaningfully and strategically contribute to a collective vision of change, in ultimate partnership with families and children? My experience as a Fellow is woven into how I strive to show up in the spaces I’m graced to be.

2. What have you seen or heard lately in your work that gives you hope or joy?

My work is primarily focused on state policy change, and I’ve seen recent prioritization by local policymakers to invest in early childhood mental health, even amidst fiscal challenges wrought by the pandemic. I’m noticing a willingness by decisionmakers to engage in dialogue and consider policy changes that will support emotional wellness for young children and families. As someone who is deeply committed to policies and budgets that meaningfully and equitably advance mental health promotion, prevention, and early intervention, witnessing these acts provides sustaining hope on the journey.

3. If you could share one message with professionals who work with babies, toddlers, and their families, what would it be?

Thank you for the transformative impact you are making on a daily basis and please be courageous in using your expertise to advocate for change and inform policy decisions! We need you, and your wisdom and knowledge make a difference!

To read more about Sarah’s work on behalf of children and families, visit the Children’s National Mental Health team page.

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