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The Power of Community & Belonging

By Heather Pace.

In today's fast-paced and interconnected world, the importance of community cannot be overstated. Human beings are inherently social creatures, and our social and emotional well-being greatly relies on the connections we forge with others. Community serves as a source of support, understanding, and validation. It provides a space where individuals can freely express themselves, share their stories, and connect with others who share similar experiences. For gifted individuals, finding a community that understands and appreciates their unique abilities and challenges is particularly crucial. Such communities create a sense of belonging and acceptance, allowing gifted individuals to embrace their talents and navigate the complexities of their giftedness.

For over forty years, SENG has made it their mission to foster inclusive and nurturing communities for gifted individuals and their families.

Which is why I am so excited to introduce myself as the newly appointed Executive Director of SENG. My personal journey with giftedness began when I was identified as gifted in Arizona's public schools. At that time, I didn't fully comprehend what it meant to be gifted or the unique challenges that accompanied it. However, as a mother/step-mother of five incredible teenagers, I have gained profound insights into the ups and downs, ins and outs of the gifted experience. Through my own exploration, I have found solace and support within the Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented and now have the privilege of extending that community through my role with SENG. I am eager to build upon this foundation and expand SENG’s reach, empowering gifted individuals and their families worldwide.

SENG's mission aligns perfectly with my own passion for nurturing and fostering emotional well-being, creating inclusive and supportive environments, and empowering people to use their voices. I am honored to be part of this extraordinary organization, and I look forward to collaborating with educators, parents, mental health professionals, and other gifted individuals to create a thriving community that understands, supports, and uplifts our experiences.

The upcoming SENG Annual Conference at Villanova University in Pennsylvania from July 21-23 presents an exciting opportunity to meet, learn from, and collaborate with advocates from around the world. This year’s theme is Authentic Voices: Community & Belonging, which couldn’t be more timely in this ever changing world we are all navigating. This is the first in-person conference for SENG since 2019, and I am thrilled to be part of this gathering of minds and hearts, where we can collectively contribute to helping each other meet our intellectual, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual goals.

During the conference, attendees can look forward to engaging in thought-provoking conversations, attending informative sessions led by passionate experts, and participating in networking opportunities such as the Commerce Happy Hour or Family Improv Night. The full event promises to be a catalyst for personal growth, professional development, and the cultivation of lifelong connections. It provides a safe space where we can share our triumphs, challenges, and aspirations, fostering a strong sense of community. If you are unable to attend in-person, SENG will also provide an asynchronous opportunity through our event app, allowing you the opportunity to watch each session at your own pace and connect with others virtually.

I hope that you will join us this summer, and I look forward to meeting each and every one of you. Let us come together, celebrate giftedness, and make a lasting impact on each other’s lives.


Heather Pace is a passionate non-profit leader and consultant, native Arizonan, and dedicated mom of two children and stepmom of three. Based in Gilbert, AZ with her husband Chris, she finds inspiration in hiking, traveling, photography, good books, food, and wine. With her expertise in the non-profit sector, Heather makes a meaningful impact while also striving to inspire those around her. Her commitment to family and creating lasting memories with loved ones completes her fulfilling life.

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