Every month, Herren Project highlights someone in our community that embodies the spirit of our mission to support, inspire and empower those affected by substance use disorder. This month, we would like to welcome and introduce you to our new Director of Development, Teresa Cobleigh.
Herren Project is getting ready to expand our programs with a soon to be released Herren Project Partners program. We knew our organization needed a person that would bring world-class professional experience as well as empathy and compassion. With Teresa’s extensive background in development paired with her family’s first-hand experience with the struggle of addiction to drugs and alcohol, Teresa was the perfect candidate to take on the new role of Director of Development at Herren Project.
Teresa likes to say there is the “Side A” of her resume, but then the “Side B.” We asked her to explain what she means in her own words.
Side A & Side B
“I grew up before the digital age when music came on vinyl. I bought an LP or a 45 because I loved a pop song on the radio. I remember moments as a teenager surrounded by purple tapestries in my bedroom late at night when I explored the B side of the albums and let the music stir between my ears. On Side B, I felt a connection to the artist through raw emotion and meandering melodies. Side B told the more in-depth story; here, the artist expressed true self, not confined by success on the charts. The unpolished tale of struggle and woe that sings to the heart — whether you listen to Pink Floyd or your inner voice. I learned to love the B side. It was all about the heart.
My early years and professional career, Side A of my resume, is polished and packaged, almost too perfect — Phi Beta Kappa, world traveler, Masters from an Ivy, VP of an international bank. I had the house in the burbs, a family, pets, yes, all the trappings of material success.
Side B of my resume explains the gaps in my employment record and says, “I’m lucky to be here with you today, to have this opportunity to bring deeper meaning to my life.” Side B cares what we’ve been through, celebrates our small triumphs, kisses the scars we wear on my sleeves.
I came to Herren Project because I was in one of those families walking the journey through addiction and recovery, struggling with Side B while trying to make Side A look good on paper. I found myself a single mom raising teenaged boys, mostly alone, and I struggled to find support and connection. I came to know the layers of brokenness in our families, our fragile hearts, and in our communities. I navigated the treatment landscape and learned first-hand the emotional and financial costs on families. I have suffered casualties and the unfathomable—a life-defining moment when I lost my beloved son, Graham, at age 17. That event left deep wounds for a mother and a brother. A year later, we suffered another loss — a dear friend of my sons. I have walked this journey and continue to stand by my remaining son, who battles one day at a time.
Up until now, I compartmentalized my personal experiences, Side B from my Side A career. I had become somewhat of an expert in an underground world, and I saw how my closeted experience could be a strength in helping others.
We might be powerless over some of the circumstances in our lives, but each day is an opportunity to tend to the work that needs to be done. I, for one, cannot stand by. I am thrilled to join Herren Project to be a part of its essential impact, bringing hope, inspiration, and empowerment to those in need. It is time for my Side B to come out of covert operations and bring my A-game. It is time to play with all I’ve got and give it all my heart.
For Graham, Brian and Nancy, and those we have loved and lost, I blow kisses to the sky. May God bless what we do for each other when we rise in the spirit of love.
As the new Director of Development for Herren Project, Teresa brings the professional and personal experience necessary in our mission of prevention and treatment of substance use disorder. We are very excited and honored to have her on the team! Read more about Teresa and our team.