CEF Staff Highlight: Hannah Lyles

Meet Hannah! Staff Support

Hannah Lyles, Staff Support

Your Role: In your own words, how would you describe the work you do at CEF and why is it important? 

As full time Staff Support at CEF, I work with Members, Advocates, and other CEF staff to respond to Member’s needs in real time. During Member meetings, I am in the office and available to answer any questions or provide additional support that may be needed. Being a flexible member of staff who works in both the Durham and Chapel Hill offices is important in order to ensure that Members and Advocates are getting the support they need in order to achieve the goals that Members have identified for themselves.

Your Background: What experiences, strengths, and skills do you bring to work at CEF?

I have been a part of and worked in the substance use and recovery community for over five years. My background working with individuals experiencing situations that are complex and mutli-faceted has given me skills that allow me to engage with CEF in similar ways. My passion for this work stems from my personal life experiences as well as my background working with communities who are systematically denied access to knowledge and resources that can help them achieve their goals.

Connecting to CEF: What led you to work with CEF generally, and also in this particular role?

I have a passion for people. One of my greatest joys in life is connecting with others. I believe that, at the core of each of us, we are seeking connection with ourselves, others, and the world around us. CEF is a place where folks can find connection in many different ways. What I love seeing is so many individuals from different backgrounds, each with their own unique lived experiences, finding ways to connect and support each other. While a lot of the work CEF does is challenging and can be heavy to carry, witnessing true human connection on a consistent basis is, I think, what makes CEF so successful in their work.

Energy: Where do you find energy and renewal?

Within CEF, I find energy and renewal by witnessing the connections that are made between Members, Advocates, and staff. CEF’s work is based on relationships and seeing those relationships develop and grow brings me a lot of joy. Witnessing injustice and oppression in such an intimate way on a daily basis can be trying, but knowing that folks who engage with CEF have a place where they can feel heard and their experiences are validated helps to renew my passion for this work.

Challenge: What are the biggest challenges in your work and how do you seek to find the best way forward?

I think one of the biggest challenges for me at CEF is witnessing the injustice and oppression that Members are experiencing. At CEF, we trust that Members are fully capable of making their own decisions about what is best for themselves and their own lives. When thinking about the situations that Members face, I believe that the best way forward is to listen to Members, hear what their needs are, and work alongside them to find solutions that feel like the right way for them.

Anything Else You Would Like To Add:

I am very grateful for the opportunity to work at CEF and to be a part of an organization that is intentional about the services they provide and the relationships they build in the community. I am looking forward to my journey with CEF and seeing how my skills and my personal experiences can inform that.

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CEF: Community Empowerment Fund

Chapel Hill: 919-200-0233 Durham: 919-797-9233