Josie Sewell, member of The Cary Council, and James Huffines


Finding your calling lights up your path. It gives you the capacity to push through barriers and make an imprint on our world. I am so grateful to have found my calling, one that spans both my professional life and personal life. My path lit up when a position at the Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center fell into my lap. When I became a nurse practitioner, I never knew working with patients with brain and spinal cord tumors would be my passion. But something told me to take a chance. I remember saying to my husband, “I think I’m about to learn what is really most important in life.” And I did.

Beth Kahn was one of my first and dearest patients when I began my new position. She battled glioblastoma, a rare and aggressive type of brain cancer. Through her entire journey, Beth was an inspiration. Her message was one of gratitude, when others in her position were often angry or depressed. Such positivity gave her strength even in the darkest moments. During that time, I had the pleasure of getting to know Beth’s family, including her husband, Gary, and her children, Michael Kahn and Lauren Kahn Rosenbloom. I will never ever forget the motto she repeated at every visit, words that I now live by: every day is a gift.

Every day, I see hope on the faces of patients when I walk into their rooms. They are inspired by the young, bright faces and community leaders here in this great city that care about them.

In 2015, Michael approached me with an idea to launch a new group of young community leaders whose mission would be to support Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern. Because health care in our community is so important to me, I immediately said yes. Clearly inspired by his mother’s capacity to motivate others, Michael established The Cary Council. I am so proud of what he has accomplished and I have been honored to be a part of its beginning.

Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of serving on the council’s Steering Committee. This year I joined the Philanthropy Committee, which is targeted towards funding for the early stage research of outstanding young investigators at UT Southwestern. The idea of the next generation of community philanthropists supporting the next generation of brilliant doctors continues to motivate us. Innovation translates to better health care.

Every day, I see hope on the faces of patients when I walk into their rooms. They are inspired by the young, bright faces and community leaders here in this great city that care about them. Although the Cary Council is still in its early stages, its existence allows us to send a message of positivity and faith in our health care system and our city. 

On February 20, The Cary Council gathered with guests for a very special discussion with James Huffines. The focus was how our generation can prepare itself to step up to the plate in caring for each other and for our community. Michael Kahn and I had the opportunity to moderate the discussion.  I think everyone in attendance walked away as inspired as I was.    

James reminded us that having a world class medical center like UT Southwestern is vital to a thriving, successful city. UT Southwestern is such an important part of our lives, our community, and our future. Every person will be impacted by health care at some point in his or her life, and every person should care about health care.  

As one of the architects of The Cary Council, James clearly believes in investing and having faith in young people. The future is up to us. We cannot sit and wait for progress to happen; we have to step forward and make it happen. 

My challenge for my peers is to become educated and carefully examine what matters to you. Now is the time to find the causes that stir your heart.

Being a part of The Cary Council is a natural extension of what I do for a living. But I am also committed to The Cary Council for the people I love – my family and friends. I believe it is our duty to give the gift of better health to our own families, to our community, and to future generations.

So what if you haven’t found your calling? And how does a young person balance philanthropic support and advocacy with the rest of life’s demands?

Perhaps the most effective way to manage the balancing act is to find something you really believe in. Yes, your plate will likely always be full. But if it is full of things that you deeply care about, you will find space in your routine.  It becomes a part of who you are and what you do. 

My challenge for my peers is to become educated and carefully examine what matters to you. Now is the time to find the causes that stir your heart. Your contributions mean something, whether they be time commitments or monetary gifts. You have the power to make our community the best possible version of itself. It’s up to you to get started.