As co-founders of Someone To Tell It To (STTIT), Michael Gingerich and Tom Kaden were inspired by their friendship, serving for years as each other’s “someone to tell it to”— a constant friend and listening ear in moments of challenge, uncertainty and everyday life.
Armed with a desire to design a model of listening with compassion, empathy, presence and understanding that had never been created before, the duo launched STTIT in 2012. Since then, it has had more than 12,000 interactions of compassionate listening with people in the United States and several countries around the world.
With the onset of the pandemic and the growing mental health crisis that it created, STTIT’s listening services were in demand more than ever. As a result, Chief Listening Officer Angie Dickinson created a model to raise more volunteer listeners, trainers and educators to help the world to listen with more empathy, less judgment, more care, less conflict, more compassion and less division, in the workplace and throughout the culture. Compassionate Listening Training programs were created to spread hope and relieve the incredible sense of loneliness and isolation that so many people were experiencing.
With burnout, secondary trauma and an increase in mental and emotional illness occurring in a variety of health care, senior care and other business environments during the height of the pandemic, STTIT’s training programs helped some of the most vulnerable populations, those on the front lines of the COVID pandemic, those who experienced significant stress, and those who were the most compromised amidst the pandemic.
“Angela has quickly and inherently grasped an understanding of the epidemic of loneliness and disconnection that has grown around the world and has implemented programs that are addressing it—one person, one family, one organization at a time,” said Co-Founders and Chief Encouragement Officers Gingerich and Kaden. “It is exciting to see how these programs are growing and impacting more and more people in more and more diverse communities.”