Monday, January 25, 2010

Part I: A progress report on my work, thank yous, and getting the word out about Senator Sherrod Brown's Debt Swap Proposal

The White House sends me a letter, I finally hear from the Department of Education (no word back as of yet, so I'll touch base again next week), and I am forging more relationships with people who are deeply concerned and interested in the student lending crisis. The biggest break through last week was my phone call with the ED Staffer in Senator Sherrod Brown's office. This conversation was critical, and made me realize that the hours of hard work are beginning to pay off (more on that later in Part II).

After these developments, I decided that it was important to provide all of you with a progress report on my work.

One of my readers recently told me that they respected my leadership abilities for an important reason.
He told me that they knew how hard I was working on this issue, and that meant a lot to him. But, he added, it's more than that. While I know I remain focused on this specific issue and never stray from the theme of student loan debt, I am not always sure what my readers are thinking about my work. This particular reader made me realize how important it is to (a) stay on topic and (b) remain sensitive to the needs of student loan debtors. He said, "you're personal, and that's important."

So on that note, I'd like to quickly thank a few groups and people who are either involved in this issue or supportive of my work as an advocate for student loan debtors (all of them are important and I suggest you familiarize yourself with these players and people). Here's the list:


(a) - I had an outstanding opportunity to be a part of a conference call, and am really looking forward to seeing this organization grow; it is made up of outstanding people who share a common interest in community and helping people pay down their student loan debt. (The founders of SponsorChange, Raymar Hampshire and Dr. Robert Hampshire, are exemplary leaders in the non-profit sector, and they have created a stellar cast of talented individuals for their future work). Also, they just put out a great promo here.

(b) United Professionals - this phenomenal group is a non-profit advocacy group for white-collared professionals (it is FREE to sign up); Barbara Ehrenreich is the Founder and Executive Director, and I am excited about the future of our professional relationship. Ehrenreich recently mentioned me in an outstanding article about college loan debt.

(c) United Progressives - thank you, Paul Barrow, for you interest in my work and featuring a piece I wrote about those who lack the gift of discernment.

(d) The Institute for College Access and Success (otherwise known as TICAS) - I appreciate Edie Irons' gracious willingness to correspond with me. She always provides me with insights into IBR and other policy proposals, and has a genuine interest in receiving feedback from student loan debtors. Her honesty and courteousness are emblematic of this organization's mission (founded by the Deputy Undersecretary of Education, Robert Shireman); it was also an honor and a privilege to have met the current president, Lauren Asher, in the fall, along with other important players from TICAS.

That's the short list of connections I've made. Next up is a discussion about my talk with Brown's office and another list of specific people who are helping this cause.

To be continued . . .

Readers: my apologies for any typographical errors or lack of stylistic finesse (perhaps I've never possessed that skill). I am writing these pieces from an empty house, and am heading overseas.


Matt J Stannard said...

A+++ plus dinner on me if we're ever in the same city. You're doing great work.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Cryn for all you do! You get an A++ in my book! You are truly an inspiration! Be Safe-Gail, Lexington, KY

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think you're a self-absorbed, delusional narcissist. You're obviously an amateur since you jumped for joy like a giddy school girl after receiving a form letter from the white house and all you do is write self-indulgent blog entries parroting the various compliments you've gotten from people who inexplicably look to you as some sort of leader, something you're clearly not.

This comment will probably be deleted but screw it - you asked.

Cryn Johannsen said...

Thanks for ReAding my blog. I appreciate any feedback, and I'll work on that narcissism.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for giving me hope. I check your blog weekly, and it keeps me going. I really appreciate what you do.

Tim Lacy said...

Wow, Anon 3:25 so-and-so woke up on the wrong side of hir nap bed! - TL

Leni Weisl Ellwein said...

too bad anonymous didn't have the guts to post their real name after that nasty comment-typical.

What's really important is that Cryn steps out to the front and isn't afraid to be speak her mind on behalf of others and mean it. I can say that; because I've met her, know her and consider her my friend and a friend to all those who suffer from predatory lending.

John in Boston said...

Cryn, I look to you as a leader because of your advocacy - it's what leaders do.

Anna said...

Kudos to you Cryn for taking Anonymous's stoopid comment so well. You can't please everyone but you're doing a hell of a job for us student loan debtors. No one else is standing up for us!! Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

Narcissism: -noun, inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love;vanity. (

First off, our anonymous poster was a little redundant with the name calling.

Second off, I think a little narcissism is in order with a fight like this. Otherwise every bad piece of feedback we got would keep us from moving forward; and every good piece of information wouldn't seem good enough.

Third, if he/she thinks they can do better, I'd love to see it. But seeing as how they were too cowardly to post so much as a gender, let alone a name, I doubt it possible.

Keep up the good work Cryn, as well as making the powerful connections. I will be right behind you with every step.

-Michele, NH State Support Leader for the Indentured Educated Class.