CIS Abroad Blog

I’m “sabbaticalling” and so can you!

Aleta Anthony (University of Rochester), Carmeisha Huckleby (Vanderbilt University) and I used themes from “Office Space” to support our presentation on Inclusive Hiring at the recent Forum Conference. This is why I love the field so much. We have fun AND do so important work!

Aleta Anthony (University of Rochester), Carmeisha Huckleby (Vanderbilt University), and Kris Holloway (CIS Abroad) are pictured at the recent Forum on Education Abroad conference. They used themes from “Office Space” to support their presentation on Inclusive Hiring. Kris notes, "This is why I love the field so much. We have fun AND do such important work!"

Below, Kris Holloway, President & CEO of CIS Abroad, explains why she's taking a sabbatical and how she plans to spend her time ~

You heard it right. I’m on sabbatical for the month of April 2024. Like many of you, I stay in this field because I deeply believe in the vision of the connected, courageous, compassionate world that we help to create. I also don’t often take the time to reconnect with what drew me to this field in the first place. I’m taking four weeks to remember my “why”. I am taking time to re-align with my ikigai. 

Ikigai: noun: where one’s passion, mission, skills and calling intersect.


I used the concept of ikigai to lead CIS Abroad into, through, and out of the pandemic. Now that the company is not just survivin’, but thrivin’, thanks mostly to our wonderful staff, I am able to take a break and to re-align so that I can better serve. 

What will I be doing?

I WANT to answer these questions:

  • Why do I do this work?
  • What have I learned over the past few years? What is calling to me?
  • How do I want to show up for my family, friends, and colleagues?

I HAVE the answer to these questions:

Am I overflowing with joy at the thought of spending more time doing what I love?  YES. What do I plan to do on sabbatical?
  • Write out a podcast idea.
  • Plan content for a leadership series with the Global Leadership League.
  • Read
    • Gravitas: The 8 Strengths That Redefine Confidence, Lisa Sun
    • Move Fast and Fix Things, Frances Frei & Anne Morriss
    • The Personal MBA, Josh Kaufman
    • Care of the Soul, Thomas MooreRead! On my shelf:
    • Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Increase the time devoted to meditation. I have a 550+ day streak thanks to our staff member Marina!
  • Trail run and gravel bike around Goshen, MA. 
Am I overflowing with joy at not waking up to an alarm clock and scheduling every minute of a day? YES to unplanned activities and dance parties, spontaneous puns, and serendipitous meet-ups.

Am I a little fearful of who I am without the meaning, urgency, and rhythm of work? YES to understanding that I am more than my skills and role.

Am I just a little fearful that folks will be relieved my energetic and striving persona is not around? YES to my colleagues enjoying a different rhythm and pace while I am out.

I know I am not the only one who has earned time away from the day-to-day. I have built the  sabbatical program to be replicable and scalable so that multiple CIS staff can take this transformative time off every year. We will be a better company, and better colleagues, for it.


Enjoying the outdoors on a hike with CIS Abroaders, Scott, Keith, and Mary Alice during our annual company "Spark Camp" training week in MA.

Is your “sabbati-calling”?

If so, email me and we’ll chat (ahem, when I’m back on May 1st). kholloway (at)