consciousness@work 23 – December 7, 2022
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Compassion Consciousness Means Holding Space for Someone Else's Pain

Written by: Carolyn V. Coarsey, Ph.D.

December 7, 2022

Compassion is the radicalism of our time.

-14th Dalai Lama (1935-present)

    Three survivors were awarded Sharing the Journey Awards at the 2022 Member-Partner Meeting, November 8-9 in Miami, FL. Kathy Johnston and Tina Siniscalco are family survivors of the Colgan/Continental Flight 3407 crash (February 12, 2009). The third survivor to receive recognition is Tracy Wholean. Tracy, and her husband Mike, survived a bus accident on December 6, 2015.  Her best friend Mary died.

    Kathy, Tina, and Tracy were recognized for their many contributions to helping others since experiencing their tragic losses.


Kathy Johnston and Tina Siniscalco

    Kathy Johnston’s husband, Kevin died in the Colgan/Continental crash of flight 3407 in Buffalo, NY, leaving Kathy and three daughters behind. Tina's sister, Mary Abraham died in the same crash, with forty-nine souls on the aircraft and one man on the ground. Tina and Kathy worked tirelessly along with other family members to raise training standards for airline pilots and increase rest breaks for flight crew. Problems with inadequate pilot training and pilot rest breaks, were identified as factors contributing to the fatal crash.

    In addition to working alongside other family members to improve safety conditions in the aviation field, both ladies joined the Foundation and began attending meetings and training programs to work with other like-minded people dedicated to improving how survivors are treated in the aftermath of tragedies.  Joining the group led to Kathy and Tina becoming part of the Foundation’s Care Team, and both have responded to multiple disasters, supporting families whose loved ones died. Both Tina and Kathy have told their story to Care Team classes and on video for training purposes.


Tracy Wholean

    Tracy Wholean and her husband Mike were vacationing on a Royal Caribbean Cruise with her best friend Mary and her husband when they were all involved in a bus accident. The couples were on an excursion in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Unfortunately, Mary and one other passenger died. Tracy, Mike and Mary’s husband were uninjured.

    Like Kathy and Tina, Tracy joined the Foundation’s Care Team and began attending training programs and meetings where she met with other survivors and industry Care Team leaders, all dedicated to improving survivor response. At the first Foundation meeting Tracy and Mike attended, they presented their story to the audience. They also told their story over video used to train cruise line employees and other responders.


Holding Space for Someone Elses Pain


Nothing liberates our greatness like the desire to help, the desire to serve.

Marianne Williamson (1952-present)


    Helping someone else who is suffering is a major part of many survivors’ healing process--and why many survivors join the Foundation’s Care Team.  Kathy, Tina and Tracy are able to respond with our team when we are called upon to help a member organization following a trauma—thereby continuing to heal, as the quote above suggests

    The three survivors honored at the 2022 Member-Partner meeting have provided testimony about what helped and hurt by the corporate responders who assisted them in the aftermath of the tragedies. These videos will be used in the Certificate in International-Humanitarian Assistance Response Program™ and will be released early in 2023. Their interviews will appear in all five of the programs the Certificate will include, i.e.,

I.  Planning and Operations

II.  Supporting Those in Harm’s Way

III.  Supporting the Corporate Responder

IV.  Internal and External Communications during Corporate Crisis

V.  The Business Side of Traumatic Loss in the Workplace

    The Foundation proudly honors survivors, including Kathy, Tina and Tracy, who help us liberate our collective greatness by serving others.

Read more of Kathy's story here.

Read more of Tina's story here

Read more of Tracy's story here. 


For more information about the Certificate and other upcoming programs, contact Cheri Johnson


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