Minnesota Recovery Connection welcomed its new Executive Director, Cynthia Garcia Magallanes, on June 16. Cynthia has been onboarding with MRC’s outgoing Executive Director, Wendy Jones, these past few weeks. We are thrilled to have her join the team and looking forward to her leadership!
MRC: Tell us a little bit about the experiences that led you to this position.
Cynthia: I began my professional career in Minnesota during the spring of 2000. My role included providing language access services for the non English speaking community. I continued that line of work until I transitioned into my role as a housing support specialist with Recovery Community Network, a St. Cloud-based Recovery Community Organization in, 2020. However, my first experience with recovery oriented systems of care came through an internship opportunity as I pursued my master’s degree for a nonprofit organization hosting MRC’s Recovery Coach Academy in June 2019 . It was this connection that opened doors and allowed me to serve the recovery community in different capacities. It was this experience that led me to Minnesota Recovery Connection and for that, I am forever grateful.
MRC: What does recovery mean to you? How has recovery shaped who you are today?
Cynthia: Recovery, for me, is freedom. Freedom to experience all the “feels” that come with being sober and not needing to use a substance of any kind to self medicate or to hide under the veil of shame. It is the freedom of being honest about who I am and where I’ve been and how sobriety has opened doors that I couldn’t see before. This freedom has enabled me to choose paths that are important to me and those I care deeply about without fear. Being a woman in long-term recovery has definitely shaped the vision for myself, altered my course, and has provided me the tools necessary to serve others within my circle of influence with a message of hope. I am fortunate to celebrate my 10th sober anniversary this September and I am extremely excited to see what life has in store for me and through me.
MRC: What are your hopes for Minnesota Recovery Connection in the future?
Cynthia: Standing on the “porch” of Minnesota Recovery Connection and preparing to open the door, walk in, and begin my tenure of service, all my hopes are captured in this one word: Strength. That we, the leadership, the staff, the volunteers, the participants, the donors, and all those that have committed to providing services stemming from our organization, would have the strength to continue to move forward. I don’t need to say how hard it’s been after COVID, because we know, we’ve felt it, we’ve lived, and we’ve seen it in those near us. My hope is that we would renew our strength individually and corporately as an organization. That we would strengthen our bonds with our fellow recovery organizations and those that represent them. And finally, that we would create and strengthen bonds with those whom we serve in love.
MRC: What excites you most about what is happening in the recovery community in Minnesota today?
Cynthia: Growth! Seeing the level of growth among recovery community organizations in the state is exciting! The network of resources is spreading rapidly across the state and this is a wonderful thing. A spider begins its web by strategically connecting its points and from there it continues to intricately build its web until it has created a masterpiece. We know when we see a web there is a spider nearby and we might be afraid of the spider. However, its design is to catch any thing that flys through or falls through. WE are that web! With recovery community organizations strategically placed throughout Minnesota, we can be the web that is intricately growing. In our state, our web of resources and RCOs have the capacity to save many lives falling through the path of substance use. Let us not be afraid of the power that this web represents or that it has. But rather understand it, know it, and use it for good.
MRC: Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?
Cynthia: As for me, I consider myself a community servant – this comes from a life of being a caretaker from a young age. I am a life learner and take on every opportunity that brings new experiences into my life; be it travel or meeting new friends. 2023 definitely brought in a new career opportunity, personal & professional development with travel opportunities, and a new home base. I also found that while I love exploring new places and things, I really do find comfort in solitude, a good book, and a delicious cup of hot coffee. I found me.
Cynthia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-584-4158, ext. 111.