Believer of the Year: Megan O'Bryan

Believe in CLE honors yogi and citizen Megan O'Bryan as our Believer of the Year!

This proud Clevelander has dedicated her energy and talents to elevating our city while continuing to commit to a regular yoga practice to elevate her own soul.

Believe in CLE (BIC): What lights you up about our CLE?
Megan O'Bryan (MO): The people in our city light me up. We live in such a friendly and down-to-earth place where people support each other and lift one another up. It is the people who are creating movements like Believe in CLE, revitalizing neighborhoods and transforming our schools. CLE is a place where dreams are attainable and where people back each other up.

BIC: Share with us how you found yoga and how your practice inspires you to do the work you do for your city, your community and your family.  
MO: I found yoga and began practicing at IBY in 2010 when I was heading up the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. At that time, I had experienced a “mystery” illness that limited my physical abilities. It turns out the illness was (most likely) stress-induced, and that was a big wake-up call that I needed to manage stress very differently. So, I got onto the mat to heal my physical body, but in the process yoga healed my heart and transformed my life! The teachers at IBY and practicing yoga have helped me build my inner and outer strength to navigate some major life changes that I needed to make. Yoga helps me maintain calm and find joy in just about every moment of my life at home and at work. I am so grateful that I found this practice that helps me live more mindfully, more kindly and more joyfully.

I love practicing yoga with my kids and passing on its magic to them. At ages 9 and 10 they know what I learned at age 40! They know how to find their breath, to be fully in the moment, and rest in stillness in savasana. I think these are critical tools for a happy adulthood and a successful life.

BIC: What inspires you daily to continue to work towards lifting up our city?
MO: I wake up every day with gratitude in my heart to get to do work I enjoy, to collaborate and connect with great people, and for the opportunity to make a difference. And no matter what happened during the day I try to go to bed with that same gratitude in my heart.

BIC: Where did you begin your CLE-centric work?
MO: My professional background and training is in nonprofit management and administration. My first “real” job was with WCPN 90.3 FM public radio in the mid-90s. That was such a great learning environment as the station is connected to everything and everybody that is moving Cleveland forward. Working there opened my eyes to the many cool institutions, initiatives and people working to enhance CLE and helped set my professional path.     

BIC: How do you envision CLE as it continues to soar in rebuilding and renovating?
MO: I think CLE is continuing to evolve and become its best self. I love how we are building on our unique strengths and sense of place. We are realizing our own greatness! I can’t wait to see us take full advantage of our lakefront and to experience the revitalization of Public Square.  

BIC: How is your new role at Tri-C exciting to you?
MO: Tri-C is such an amazing asset to our city and our region. We offer accessible and affordable higher education and workforce training so that people can be successful in their careers and in life. I am excited to play a role in helping students complete their education and achieve their dreams.

BIC: If there was one thing you would encourage all Clevelanders to do to keep the progress growing, what would it be?
MO: Everyone has a role in keeping the momentum going! Keep creating, collaborating, showing up, supporting and believing!  

Congratulations, Megan! Thank you for your loyalty, dedication and commitment to Cleveland.