As a child, Aaron Copeland was, in his words, “overly inquisitive and at times disruptive,” behavior that landed him in special education classes.
That experience left him with a deep compassion for children like him, whose special learning needs were ignored. As a result, in 1998 and by then a successful CPA, Copeland founded Alignstaffing, an organization that connects such children with educators and health professionals who can understand and help them.
Started in Washington, the organization has grown to include multiple locations.
The pandemic and other events of the past year, Copeland said, has him thinking bigger. Instead of shying away from controversy, he has taken to writing essays.
“I am not sure of the totality of my influence during the height of the pandemic,” he said. “However, the intent of my essays was to challenge silo thinking, provide a perspective of the circumstances, encourage a view to the future, remind readers that there was a reason to be encouraged — to manage your mind and to realize that although we have differences, we have much more in common.”
Copeland’s management style is to over-communicate, he said, and it proved effective during the pandemic.
“I continued to relay a sense of calm, so my team could think clearly, and provide direction with confidence,” he said. “This was felt by our talent and clients, who continued looking for us for guidance or simply a reassuring conversation to check-in.
“Although we weren’t meeting in person, we established team gatherings and events over video to keep our spirits high, support each other, and just be there.”