Neville Jephcote joins our CHIPS Trustees

“We are delighted to welcome Neville to the CHIPS Board of Trustees.  His knowledge of CHIPS, personal commitment to our theology of peace and his practical business and commercial skills will be invaluable to our team.  We very much enjoyed his participation and contribution at our recent Trustees’ Away Day and look forward to working closely together in future.”  

Julie Finn, Chair of Trustees

We caught up with Neville for a quick Q&A. Welcome, Neville! What prompted you to join the CHIPS board as a trustee?

Thank you, and it is an honour!  My wife Wendy and I have known CHIPS for 12 years now and sung it’s praises to friends and work colleagues. Now that I am about to retire, giving some time to CHIPS seems a good way to spend some of it – I have always been struck by its ideals and the way it punches above its weight. 

We first became aware of CHIPS through past Director Paul Maxwell-Rose (who had gone to school with our daughters) and we have previously helped out a little at events, with fundraising (my wife and I have taken part by walking and cycling to raise money for peace) and on occasion with admin at the Brixton office. Joining the board will be a logical continuation of our support for its peacemaking work. After all, who doesn’t want or pray for world peace? 

What does peacemaking mean to you?

Our Commander in Chief is the Prince of Peace and we do well to follow His example and his mandate to become peacemakers ourselves. By doing so, we can hopefully not only bring this world a little closer to the Kingdom that He desires, but in the process also learn to model a little better His grace to others in our own lives. 

I also have a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Theology, so the practical outworking of peace initiatives appeals to my own innate belief that God’s love and grace must be put to a practical purpose.

Can you tell us a little about your career background and experience?

I spent about 30 years in the bus industry and another 20 years in community development. I started as a bus conductor before later serving in senior management roles and later on I became involved with community development charities and am currently part of the senior management team with one. 

I’m also active in the local church community, enjoy serving as an itinerant preacher and was a Justice of the Peace for a time! I do not intend to be idle in my retirement, and being able to serve CHIPS will help me to put my time to good use, and I’m sure will be very enjoyable too. 

“CHIPS continues to welcome expressions of interest from other potential trustees to join our excellent Board! We would love to hear from you, particularly if you have experience in charity operations, overseas experience or people management. If you’re interested in potentially joining us, please contact me for an informal discussion!” – Julie

That’s How it Really is

‘When we’re with our friends, it looks like everything is okay. But we all have a different type of story. What are we hiding from our friends? What happens behind closed doors? Sometimes we feel like it’s just us suffering, but none of us are alone. It’s time for us to show what our reality is’.  

We’re going back to the film studio again this year with local young people, to help raise awareness of some of the challenges that teenagers growing up in Brixton face and help them to to tell the stories that no-one sees. Their stories are important, quite simply because… ‘That’s How It Really Is’.

This year’s project follows the success of our film ‘What Happened To Karen?’ in 2020. Produced by CHIPS, distributed by Million Youth Media and showcased at the Wha’Gwan Film Festival 2021, WHTK? is a YouTube hit that’s attracted more than 382K views so far.

Building on its success, this year’s short film will be a hard-hitting drama co-created with young people living in Brixton. Featuring a group of school friends heading out to the beach during their summer holidays, it doesn’t take long before a series of triggers draws out the silent battles each young person is facing in their lives. 

We get to learn the truth behind the dressed-up lives of our crew, with issues of faith, love, self-esteem, family, popularity and sexuality all arising in this emotional rollercoaster. With raw and compelling performances, humour and powerful narration, we soon see through the polished disguises of the characters’ lives, and maybe even begin to open up to our own stories. 

Our team of directors and producers are ready… our young people are raring to go… and now all we need is a bit more funding to make this project happen! Can you help us? Please consider donating to the project – and you’ll even have the opportunity to be thanked in the film credits!

You can donate quickly and securely online on our Crowdfunder page. No donation is too small and every pound will make a difference!

Your money will be used for equipment hire, insurance, crew salaries, location fees, travel (to the beach!), catering, post production costs, and ensuring the welfare of the young people while we are filming. We will also use the funds to host a film screening for the community on the Angell Town football pitch in Brixton in September. Further funds will be used to submit our film into film festivals early next year. 

Join us on 25 September!

As restrictions lift, we’re excited to invite you to our first CHIPS face-to-event for some time. This will take place in London on 25 September, the weekend following the International Day of Peace.

Following a morning thanksgiving with Elfrida for her service and commissioning of Julie as Chair of Trustees, this special event will include an afternoon discussion with the CHIPS team, and plenty of time for catching up together. 

The event will take place at St Paul’s Church Hammersmith, London W6 9JP.

Feel free to invite other members of your household, and pass on the invitation to anyone you think might like to attend.

To reply, please use this email link and include the names of your party attending, or call us on 020 7078 7439. We will then provide further details of the day.

We hope to see you there!


Brixton people stories: meet Renee

At CHIPS, helping young people to explore their talents and think about their future is an important part of our strategy in Brixton.

We know from experience that presenting positive alternatives to a lifestyle of crime and violence is key to peacemaking in our community, but for various reasons many young people often don’t have the support they need to unlock their true potential. 

Renée is 16 and she lives in Brixton with her mum and two siblings. Thanks to her involvement with CHIPS and other community projects in the area, Renée has recently been able to explore her growing passion for the arts.

Renée was volunteering at the Brixton Chamber Orchestra last year when our CHIPS first recognised her budding talent, but she was struggling to find other opportunities to gain the work experience she needed. Kamika, our youth worker, invited her to join our Summer of Film-making in Angell Town last year as a volunteer, helping to make our short film ‘What Happened to Karen‘.

Renée says: “CHIPS has given me great opportunities, and it’s because of them that I am now working in two short films! I really enjoyed helping to film ‘What happened to Karen’ which has an amazing amount of views and sent a positive message for the community about young people in Brixton.”

Our community partner Michelle adds “After getting to know Renee more as a young volunteer, I put her forward for an arts project, along with a number of young people from the Unlock project that I coordinated last year.

Along with several other local young people, her work was featured at an exhibition organised by Big Local Impact Brixton. The exhibition, called ‘Brixton Celebrates Young Art’, was curated virtually because of Covid, and was designed to give a window into young people’s creativity during the pandemic. 

“My experience with the art project has been inspiring for me”, Renée says “because it shows me how other people can view and appreciate art from their own different perspectives.” You can view the exhibition here.

Renee also took part in the Herbarium educational project organised by our community partner Michelle Killington and San Mei Gallery, a local gallery near Angell Town Estate which is keen to make their gallery accessible and inclusive to the young people who live and study in the area. Renee was part of the small film-making team, documenting the journey of the project which will be published shortly.  Renee was fortunate to work alongside an award-winning BBC film-maker, who provided training of film making techniques using a mobile phone.

Renée will also be among a number of young people we work with taking part in a new arts project, Caribbean Garden Heritage, organised by the Garden Museum in Lambeth. This project will explore the impact that people from the Caribbean have on the gardens of south London and the young people will learn how to conduct oral history interviews and be involved in recording and interviewing members of the Windrush generation about their lives and about what gardens and plants mean to them. The recordings will then be used in a public autumn exhibition, and become part of the museum’s archives as a record for future generations.

Renee’s mum says that her daughter really appreciates all the love and support she has had to help her explore her career in the arts. “As a single mother, family life can be harder than usual, so to have an organisation that provides such a great support for young people is definitely appreciated. I would like to thank the CHIPS organisation for their tremendous support for my daughter has received since volunteering with them. Thank you to all the volunteers and staff!”

Renée’s enthusiasm is contagious and she is now an inspiration for her peers in our weekly youth clubs, with whom she has been sharing her experience. “I came to CHIPS for voluntary work, and it has honestly been amazing because of the youth workers and the opportunities it has given me,” she says.

“I’ve gained a lot just by being there and I have also had a lot of fun with the people I have met. I am truly grateful for the people that have helped me on the way!”

We look forward to following Renée’s next steps and continuing to mentor other young people to consider their future through our Brixton project!

We’re going nuts in Ghana!

Every day we read a new headline about the ‘climate crisis’. But did you know climate change is also bad for peace?

That’s because climate change puts greater pressure on the resources we all need to sustain life such as food and water. In doing so, it increases poverty, damages social cohesion, and creates more refugees by displacing people from their homes and communities. Sadly, it’s the poorest who are most affected.

Climate and conflict

Of the 20 countries ranked the most vulnerable and least ready to adapt to climate change, 12 are in conflict. And in Ghana, our team believes that a changing climate is one of the key causes of increasingly unreliable and unpredictable rainfall, leading to crop failure and increasing tension over land.

“Climate change has brought serious drought which badly affects the crops of our self-help groups” says Desmond, our Ghana Team Leader “On the other hand, it has led to more wind and storms which can easily rip the roofs off homes and cause destruction for communities already struggling in hardship”.

Going nuts for peace!

Now, we are seeking to launch a new practical peacemaking project which will support smallholder farmers to plant cashew trees. More than 60% of Africa’s population live in rural areas with agriculture as their main livelihood, and smallholders are particularly vulnerable to the changing climate. But while maize, yam, groundnut and vegetable crops are most at risk from the changing climate, cashews are much more resistant.

By farming cashews, we believe Ghana smallholders can diversify their income and reduce the effects of failed crops. As it helps to alleviate financial shocks and poverty, we hope it will also reduce the tensions around land ownership that we regularly see playing out across local communities. Crucially, and in line with our other projects, it will also enable us to bring together people from all sides of the tribal and clan divides to learn and work together in peace.

Next steps

Desmond senses that local people are keen to get involved in the project, because they can see that climate change is no longer a theory but a reality. “They are increasingly concerned by the ever-changing weather, the growing heat, the sporadic rainfall and the impact this has on their livelihood and their families,” he says.

With enthusiasm building, the next step for our team is to progress discussions with local chiefs and elders to win their support and secure land. With many different stakeholders and perspectives, this is a complex process. “We would appreciate your prayers as we commit this project into the hands of God, asking for positivity and unity as we discuss with local authorities!” Desmond asks.


G is for… Goats!

In this series of short blogs, we’re working through the alphabet to highlight the approaches – some perhaps more surprising than others – that we take at CHIPS to grassroots peacemaking!

The benefits of animal rearing

In Ghana, an increasingly unpredictable climate has led to lower crop yields and more tension over land. Because rearing animals is less intensive work and much cheaper, CHIPS has been working with communities since 2011 to help them begin farming with animals in a sustainable way that allows them to diversify their sources of food and income.

Like all of our work in Ghana, the idea at the heart of this project is to alleviate poverty while bringing enemies together. Divisions, mistrust and tensions often exist at clan level, as well as at between the Konkomba and Nanumba tribes themselves. We take every opportunity to break down these barriers, through regular group meetings and training sessions that help people get to know and work alongside each other.

Why goats are great!

Goats are a particularly good option in Ghana for several reasons.

First, they reproduce fast – up to three times a year! – unlike sheep who breed just once annually, which means an almost constant supply of new goats for the groups.

Second, there is a great deal of truth in the stereotype of goats being resourceful. They thrive under simple conditions with locally-produced feed and need comparatively little TLC! Materials for animal housing are easily available locally and feed is abundant – including the countryside’s lush grass.

Third, goats provide a variety of practical uses. As well as providing meat to feed extended families or sell at the market, for example, they deliver a regular supply of fertiliser which can be used on crops and they provide leather for making shoes and other items.  

How the project works

In partnership with local community leaders, we invite some of the poorest households to take part and organise them into small groups. The main challenge for new animal farmers is a lack of technical knowledge, so the small groups provide members with mutual support.

We also give the groups access to the expertise they need. For example, we often invite a vet or community animal health worker to visit the community and educate members on feeding, water and medication (and we also train up new workers where there aren’t any). Having the right infrastructure is also key to getting started, so we focus on encouraging and supporting households to build and maintain suitable housing for their animals too.

Once things are going to plan, the CHIPS team goes to the market to buy goats, sheep and chickens and we give a total of two to each new group. When their animals are breeding, each group then donates two animals to the next generation of new groups, helping to make the project sustainable and ensuring its ongoing success. Then they are free to keep the rest to meet their own household’s needs or to sell at the market.

How goats make peace!

Animal rearing has without doubt been one of our most successful practical peacemaking projects over the past ten years in Ghana and goats have been at the heart of its success.

It has helped the communities to nurture new relationships, and to build trust and confidence. Perhaps the best proof of this is when we see members happily sharing stories with their former enemies and thanking them for their tips and advice!

Members have also begun to start to spend time in neighbouring ‘enemy’ villages, where they wouldn’t have ventured before but they now have new friends. We’ve also seen the attitudes of some community leaders begin to shift – as they see the results from the project and their people working and laughing together across the divides!

Mawong’s story: “Goats have brought us together with our enemies!”

Mawong is a wife and grandmother who lives in Lungni. Her husband is old and unable to work, while her extended family struggles to meet their rising living costs.

She was part of our first animal rearing group ten years ago. After starting with chickens, her animal rearing work has gone from strength to strength and she was soon able to buy her first goat! Since then, she has made enough money to pay school fees for her two grandsons, save a fund to protect her household against a financial emergency, and has even recently donated two goats for a traditional community funeral.

Today, Mawong is preparing to buy her first cow after five years of goat rearing and her enthusiasm is contagious. She says the project has helped her community to make peace with its former enemies and regularly gives testimonies at group meetings to encourage both Konkombas and Nanumbas to take part. She is now recognised as a local expert, and members from both tribes regularly visit her to ask for advice on rearing their animals!

Our campaign: Goats for Ghana!

Now we have an important opportunity to expand the project but we need your help!

We’ve been working with the people of Nyobido since 2019. The community there has been particularly hard hit by poor farm yields in recent years and disruption from the pandemic. The women used to farm beans or cowpeas, but after a series of disastrous harvests are now struggling to get by. Parents are unable to pay school fees for their children while there are many poor older women who are no longer able to farm crops but are still capable of rearing goats.

They women of Nyobido have heard of the success of our goat rearing project from other communities and want to start one there to help combat poverty and support their elders. To make this to happen, we need to buy 40 goats.  

Can you help us to make their dream a reality?  By donating to our Goats for Ghana campaign, you can:

  • Help a struggling household to lift themselves out of poverty and meet their rising living costs, such as school and medical fees
  • Create a sustainable community project as the kids will be passed on to help others start new groups
  • Bring former enemies together as friends and colleagues as they learn and work together

You can also choose to Give a Goat as a sustainable gift to a friend or loved one if you wish. To do this, just choose the ‘Give a Goat as a Gift’ option on our campaign page and we’ll get in touch with you to confirm the recipient’s details and take care of the rest!

Here are some examples of what your gift could achieve:

  • £12 could buy enough goat food to get a new group started
  • £30 could buy a single goat for a new group
  • £100 could pay for a goat and everything a new group needs to get started!

Please donate to our project if you are able and share with your networks. We would be hugely grateful for your support!

From my ends to your ends…

Our work tackling youth violence in Brixton received a major boost recently when, together with seven other local community organisations, we were awarded funding from the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit.

This forms part of the Mayor’s My Ends programme which provides support for neighbourhoods that are experiencing higher than normal levels of violence. The funding recognises that the Coldharbour Ward where we are based remains one of Lambeth’s most violent wards with one of London’s highest rates of serious youth violence together with high unemployment and poor mental and physical health.

Along with seven local charities, we have therefore established a new partnership, Ecosystem Coldharbour. Each of us are well-respected community organisations with experience leading violence reduction initiatives locally and we all bring our own unique strengths while sharing a deep commitment to our community.

Together, we will use the funding to strengthen our community and build its resilience. Andrew Jackson, Director of CHIPS explains: “Our strategy for the CHIPS Brixton project remains unchanged and will continue to centre on community organising and mentoring young people through our different channels. However, through this partnership, we are excited that we will be able to increase our impact and bring a Christian, peacemaking approach to a wider sphere of work locally.”

Some of the new initiatives we will partner on include:

  • Recruiting a new collective of passionate local ‘young connectors’ who will become the next generation of changemakers with the right skills, experience and relationships to make an impact on reducing youth violence and trauma
  • Providing 1-2-1 support for young people around wellbeing and mental health
  • Creating new meaningful opportunities for young people that act as diversionary activities giving them positive paths away from violence
  • Supporting a network of grieving mothers and families impacted by youth violence

Our contribution at CHIPS will include hosting a Youth Outreach Worker who will focus on the hotspots in the area for violence, gangs and anti-social behaviour, and providing one of a number of safe spaces for young people to go after school – which can be a time when many find of them themselves at risk.

There are two narratives told about Brixton. The first is of a vibrant, diverse place brimming with energy, ideas and passion. The other is of a dangerous, divided place struggling with violence, poverty and anger.  The vision for our partnership is to ensure that, for our young people and future generations, the first proves to be more powerful and attractive than the second.

“We are thankful for this opportunity to be part of a new approach connecting the many pockets of experience and innovation within the Brixton community, and to be working with other organisations who share a passion for ending youth violence,” says Andrew. “Please pray for a successful start to the project, and for us at CHIPS as we bring our Christian peacemaking approach to this exciting work!”

Jumping for peeeaaace…

Last Sunday, CHIPS supporter Lisa Rutland jumped from a plane to fundraise for CHIPS, with just a few days’ notice! We caught up with her about her experience…
Hi Lisa, congratulations on your jump! What inspired you to do it?
I had always wanted to skydive! I did it for the first time quite a few years ago for charity and enjoyed it so much that I  knew I had to do it again! My husband very kindly gifted me a jump for a ‘significant ‘ birthday I had coming up, and this is the one I did on Sunday.
Why did you decide to generously fundraise for CHIPS?
I first heard about CHIPS from a good friend who works them. And I just love what the charity stands for. I have friends who have been affected by violence and gang-related issues in London, so it was a no brainer for me to support CHIPS really!
How did you feel doing the jump?
I was really quite excited before getting into the plane, as I knew what to expect, but when sitting on the floor of the plane, the nerves kicked in!
We jumped from about 2,000 feet more than I jumped from the first time ( just over 2 miles!!) It was both exhilarating and scary as I left the plane, strapped very tightly to my tandem partner.
It was also -14°C up there, so a real shock to the system and that took my breath away to start with. My hands felt like blocks of ice – note to self, wear gloves next time!!
I then loved the 40-second freefall before the canopy opened and I could enjoy the gentle float down, taking in the beautiful scenery! We landed very smoothly. It was really quite different to the last time but still an amazing experience. 
How did you end up doing the jump with just a few days notice?
My jump was originally booked for this time last year but it was postponed a couple of times due to Covid.  As it was my husband who purchased it, all correspondence went through him and he recently told me that he had rebooked for sometime in June.
But last Thursday evening,  when we were out for his birthday I asked him to check the exact date. He checked, he laughed, and then he said, “How does this Sunday sound?” Hence the short notice!
Big thanks and congratulations to Lisa on her jump, and for fundraising for CHIPS! You can sponsor her jump here!
If you have an idea of a challenge activity that you might like to do to raise money for peace, feel free to contact us here to discusss!

Peace in Action

As I write this, we are in Lent, a time when we prepare for Easter – usually through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving, simple living and self-denial – commemorating the time Jesus spent fasting in the desert, enduring and overcoming temptation in preparation for his public ministry.

Of course, self-denial is not unique to Christians. Other faiths have their own observances and the secular world also recognises the benefits of periodic fasting – from ‘Dry January’ to ‘Stoptober’. For the Christian, however, in attempting to identify with Christ – albeit in a very small way by comparison – we aim to grow in our spiritual development with Him.

For many, the last 12 months have been an extended, collective Lenten period, being denied human companionship, what we want to do or consume, and everyday life, as Jesus was in the wilderness. However, I have a sense that our enforced isolation has also generated a greater sense of community responsibility.

The scripture I have been reflecting on is Luke 22:39 – 53, which describes Jesus going with his disciples to the Mount of Olives to face his last and greatest temptation. He exhorts them to pray alongside Him so that they will not fall into temptation. His agonised prayer – ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done’, has echoes for peacemakers, who have been called to enter situations of tension and violence, as they weigh up the dangers they will face.

It is only with realism, and prayer from the depths of the heart, that they can prepare and ensure they have all the spiritual strength and physical courage from God they need. The disciples react with violence when Judas arrives with the soldiers, as they did not prepare themselves in prayer; but Jesus then gives a beautiful example of the true peacemaker– absorbing Peter’s violence into His perfect peace, and healing the man’s ear.

As peacemakers, Jesus calls us to absorb violence into the special peace He gives us and bring healing into the situation. It can seem an insurmountable task if we focus on the negatives – injustice, inequality, poverty, fear, pain, pride and revenge. However, in John 16:33, Jesus tells us: ‘I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.’

And there it is – Easter, where the battle is done and the victory over sin, the world and death is won!

May God bless you with an especially joyous Easter this year.

Julie Finn, Chair of Trustees

Meet our trustees!

We’re blessed to have a fantastic group of trustees and following some recent changes, we wanted to introduce them to you… and we also have some opportunities to join them!

Zac Egau

Zac has been a CHIPS trustee for three years and supports the team in making sure we have the necessary funds to do our work.

Zac is a manager in the IT industry implementing and supporting finance systems, and he has four children who keep him young and creative! He is also a talented musician and, when not leading worship at his local church, can often be found helping his kids lead their own worship in Sunday School or helping as a governor at their school where he also oversees finance.

Zac says: “I often find myself in conflict situations, working to bring opposing parties together. The challenge is to fully engage with both parties, putting aside your own preconceptions and taking the time to understand their viewpoint.

We’re so limited as humans and need to draw on the Lord for wisdom and strength. It has been wonderful to see peacemaking worked out to a greater level at CHIPS and the very practical way that the teams go about it.”

Julie Finn

Julie became a trustee in 2018 and Chair in January this year.

Julie has had a long and successful career as a senior HR professional at organisations including Carillion, Boots and the NHS. In 2016 she set up her own business providing interim HR project leadership, consultancy and coaching with a focus on transition and transformation. She describes herself as an ecumenist, having grown up in the Baptist tradition and now an active member of her local Catholic church. She has been a member of CHIPS Guildford support group since 2001.

Julie says: “One of my first experiences of CHIPS was listening to Elfrida explain the Greek words for peace ‘Eiréné’ and ‘Hesychia’.

It opened my eyes to what it means to be a Christian peacemaker – we are called into situations of conflict, where our own strength is insufficient. Our reliance is on Jesus for courage to face conflict, to bear the enmity of each side and to bring His reconciliation and healing.”

Stuart Murray Williams

Stuart has been a trustee for just over three years and brings to CHIPS extensive experience of urban mission, coaching and mentoring as well as involvement in several other charitable trusts.

He is a freelance trainer and consultant, working with churches and mission agencies, including Urban Expression, the Anabaptist Mennonite Network, Urban Life and the Crucible course. He lectures at various theological colleges and has written several books.

Stuart says: “I believe peacemaking is at the heart of the gospel and needs to be practised in many different contexts. For over 35 years, I have been personally drawn to the Anabaptist tradition with its emphasis on Jesus-centred discipleship, justice and peace.

Having been a practitioner of restorative justice and a lecturer for several years, I have welcomed the opportunity to get involved with CHIPS and its unique approach to peacemaking.”

Dee Spurdle

Dee is our newest trustee, joining us in December 2020 with a focus on fundraising – a skillset she puts to great use in her day job as Head of Fundraising at Langley House Trust, a Christian charity that helps ex-offenders, prisoners, and those at risk of offending to live crime-free.

Dee has had a varied career. She began her career as a solider in the British Army, became a family liaison officer supporting the police and has since been supporting charities as a qualified fundraiser for over 15 years.

Dee says: “I believe peacemaking is so important. As human beings, we need to reach out, understand each other and work together. I have had first-hand experience of what it is like to be lost and in need when I became homeless at 15-years-old and, if it wasn’t for people with a heart to serve and reach out, I would not be here today.

I give thanks to God and hope through doing His work we can change minds, hearts and make a difference through our work at CHIPS!”

Opportunities to join our board!

Would you, or someone you know, be interested in joining our trustees? You’ll share responsibility for strategy, policy and governance and have an opportunity to shape our future! We would particularly welcome people with operational experience overseas.

Or are you a secretary looking to put your skills to good use? We’re also looking for an experienced Minutes Secretary to support us. This could be on a standalone basis or as part of a wider trustee role, depending on your preference and experience.

You’ll be a Christian and support CHIPS in prayer and we’ll ask you to commit to an evening board meeting every two to three months and a two-day away day annually, along with preparation (such as reading board papers and contributing to the agenda) and follow up. You may occasionally also provide specialist support to our Director, Andrew, depending on your experience.

To express your interest, please email our Chair of Trustees Julie to arrange an initial conversation. We look forward to hearing from you!