May 9, 2024
Estimated Read Time: 10 min.

Changemaker Spotlight Series – Allison Daily, Pathfinders

Welcome to Strat Labs’ Changemaker Spotlight Series! This blog series is dedicated to showcasing the inspiring journeys of remarkable individuals who have transformed their passions into purposeful endeavors, leaving a significant impact on the world around them every single day. Join us as we delve into the heart of innovation and commitment, celebrating the extraordinary stories of those who are not just dreaming of a better future but actively shaping it in their journey as a changemaker.


Allison Daily is the Director of Pathfinders, a Colorado nonprofit psychosocial support program for cancer and chronically ill patients, those suffering from grief and loss, caregivers, family members, and the community.

Her passion is working with grief and loss clients and finding ways for them to not only process all that they are feeling but also feel closer to the one they loved and lost. Allison believes that if the pain and sadness can be a part of the honoring and remembrance, then healing has begun. She has a very personal understanding of loss as she lost her dear husband, Art, in December of 2020, as well as her brother to suicide in 1990. 


What inspired you to embark on your journey in the social impact space?

I almost feel like the social impact industry chose me. I had lost a brother to suicide, and with my husband, Art, having lost his family, grief sort of found me. I ended up finding out that I felt comfortable in the space of grief, so I ended up pursuing that as my passion. It sounds silly because I don’t think of myself as a changemaker; I’m just doing what I love.


Can you tell us about a project or initiative you’re particularly proud of and its impact on the community or issue it addresses?

Pathfinders has a couple of different arms, but I think our schools program is the most impactful right now. I have a total of 23 counselors, who all have private practices, but they work for Pathfinders at a reduced rate and many of those counselors are in the schools. 

Through the program, a school counselor will call and share about a family experiencing a loss or dealing with another tough issue, and ask if one of our counselors can help. We have been able to provide the professional support required to help these kids build a sense of resilience amidst really hard circumstances.

Another unique example of support from the program is by one of my counselors who is Spanish-speaking and was an immigrant herself. She’s been helping kids who are dealing with the loss of a family member due to being sent back to their home country.

What I love is that these kids know that they have a safe place, they’ve got someone who’s showing up just for them, and especially in the case of death, they’re learning that they can make this situation something that allows me to be a stronger person in the end.


How do you define “Changemaker”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

A changemaker is somebody who chooses to live their life, whether that be a job, volunteering, or whatever, in a way that makes a difference in a part of society that may not have the normal resources to get support and help.

In other words, I feel like when we do something that we feel passionately about and we’re doing it for a part of society that really needs that support.


In your opinion, what are some emerging trends or innovations in your industry that have the potential to drive significant change?

I believe COVID deeply affected children and their ability to feel safe in the world, and as a result, many of them have really struggled with their mental health. Then, when a loss happens, or they have some kind of grief that comes up, they’re much more vulnerable in their ability to handle it.

I think mental health support is an emerging trend in general. But, with grief, I always say that when there’s a death in a family, it’s like a bomb goes off, and all of these pieces are left all around to pick up. If anyone in that family struggles with any kind of mental health issues, it only magnifies that mental health aspect.

That’s been a consistent issue with a lot of the kids that originally regressed as a result of COVID, and we’re trying to reverse that.


Where do you find inspiration when you aren’t working?

I love reading and watching a good movie or TV series. If I hear a really inspiring story of someone else, I love to read about that. When we read about what other people are doing, it brings about the positive in this world. There’s so much negative going on around us, so I do find inspiration in real-life stories.


What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own journey as a changemaker within the social impact space?

First of all, I would say to really listen to what your passion is and to not try to do something just because you think it’s going to be impactful. 

I think it’s easy to dream of doing a bunch of impactful things, but if your intention or motivation is impure in any way, it will come forward at some point and it will be a tough journey. However, if you are following your internal passion and integrity of really wanting to make a difference in the world, it can be a powerful thing. 

My second piece of advice is to have smart people around you who are willing to be truthful and honest with you to tell you when things are out of balance. 

Overall, I would say to follow your passion, look at your intention, and surround yourself with people who are integrity-minded and willing to listen.


Looking ahead, what are your aspirations and goals for the future of your work, and how do you plan to continue your journey as a changemaker?

I’ve been working on a podcast with Gretchen Bleiler. It’s not only about her Olympic and X Games career but also about her mental health. We met and then began to set up a plan to tell her story—the story of her career, her horrific head injuries as well as the mental health diagnosis she is currently navigating. That has been an interesting journey to explore with her, so I’m excited for that to come out soon. I would also like to eventually start a podcast to help share people’s stories about grief. 

My ultimate goal is to  grow in new ways while continuing my work at Pathfinders.


How do you approach collaboration and partnerships in the social impact sector, and what role do they play in achieving your goals?

Collaboration is imperative. The whole organization of Pathfinders is built on collaboration because all of the counselors who work for us also have private practices. When collaborating with other nonprofits, I believe it is imperative that we all support one another and stay informed about what each organization is doing. When we find the right missions to partner with, it’s important to collaborate on services or programs that really align with each of the organizations.

For example, right now, I’m working with True Nature Healing Arts in Carbondale to put together a grief workshop along with a couple of other organizations. This perfectly aligns with our mission, so it’s an exciting opportunity!


What are a few “Things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why?

I wish somebody had said that I could do it. I wish I could have known that I was going to doubt myself and my abilities, but to keep going and not veer off the path.  There have been times when I’ve wanted to run so far in the other direction.

I would have loved to have had somebody reassure me and acknowledge that it was going to be tough along the way but that I was going to get through it.


How do you stay motivated and resilient in the face of setbacks or obstacles in your social impact journey?

I have to do a lot of internal work myself in order to stay motivated and resilient. If I’m not in line with myself, then I don’t have what it takes to give to others. I do a lot of journaling and processing, and I see a counselor. I do the work for myself, so I’m able to show up for other people.


Why should people pay attention to the issues you work on?

The thing about grief is it’s not a comfortable subject. For most people, they would rather ignore it and think that it won’t happen to them.

I’ve had so many of my clients reflect on times when other people were going through grief and they did not show up for them. Now, when they experience it all they want is for people to show up for them. Death is something we know is going to happen to all of us. All of us are going to deal with it at some point, so that’s an important aspect of our work. Everyone needs this type of support at some point in their life. 

Additionally, our work is about our emotional intelligence as humans, which I think is way more important than our intellectual intelligence. If we can learn, grow, and meet people in their hardest times, we’re able to find out more about ourselves and show up more beautifully in this world, and we need that right now. If you look at all of the things going on in the world, not only is there war and division but there’s a lot of death that’s happening.

That’s an intense thing. What would it be like if we could tap into that part of ourselves where we’re learning, growing, and trying to make ourselves better? We show up in the world differently.

That’s why I advocate for understanding death and grief in general. When we are more emotionally intelligent, it affects how we show up in the world.


To learn more about the impactful and important work that Pathfinders is doing, visit their website at

If you are interested in connecting with Allison Daily to learn more about her changemaker journey, you can contact her at or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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