It’s Wednesday, and …

I’m tired, grateful, and excited. I’ve spent the past two days in Oakland with the most wonderful group of people you’ll ever find in one room, investigating the question: How might we generate resources differently to enable Forward Together to evolve sustainably, with agency and autonomy, toward a future in which all families can thrive? You could see and hear a chemistry of love, wisdom, curiosity, and doer-orientation working a kind of magic. Our group photo captures a glimpse of that magic.

Each ingredient was important, and there were more in addition to those four, but love was the magic, the catalyst and the glue: Love for families—all families, our own, our allies’ and even our opponents’ families—motivates and sustains this work. That Forward Together exists is an act of love, many acts of love, by its courageous leader Eveline Shen and its 20+ member staff. That these participants came together, across sectors and from across the country, to invest two days with us, is an act of love. That they leaned in with honesty, across different skills, energies, and availabilities, to offer what they could without guilt or judgment, is because of love.

There’s a lot more to share about what happened this week, but for now, my heart and mind are still expanding to hold it. How often in your work do you come away feeling your heart enlarged? Probably not often enough. I’m grateful for this feeling today, and excited about what the next three months will bring!

Please share your reflections from the workshop here in comments, or in a blog post, iterating on Tuesday’s check-in exercise, “It’s Wednesday [or whatever day it is when you share], and _________”. I’d love to hear what’s staying with you!

Photo: (left to right, standing) Amy Wu, Moira Bowman, Carmen Rojas, Christie George, Steve Ma, Alison Lin, Jon Wong, Holly Bartling, B. Cole, Dimple Abichandani, Renee Fazzari, Palak Shah, Sarah Abelow, Robin Katcher, Rini Banerjee, Brandon Hill; (sitting) Zachary Norris, Eveline Shen, Morgan Simon, Rebecca Petzel, Yee Won Chong; (behind the camera) Eugene Eric Kim.

5 comments for “It’s Wednesday, and …

  1. moira bowman
    moira bowman
    May 21, 2015 at 8:32 am

    Its Thursday and I’m feeling appreciative of all the people that came to the Innovation Challenge. It was exciting to be in a room where minds were sparking off each other. Unfortunately, my mind keeps sparking so I couldn’t sleep last night – but the renewed brain energy gave me some good ideas that I will be testing out today.

  2. Eveline Shen
    Eveline Shen
    May 21, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Its Thursday and….that glow from the meeting is still with me. I want to thank everyone who came to the Innovation Challenge and brought their full selves along with their curiosity, creativity, inspiration, pointed questions, and generosity. We created community and had wonderful discussions that I hope will have a rippling effect throughout the movement as we all grapple with how to raise more resources for social change work. Looking forward to more!

  3. Avatar
    Holly Bartling
    May 22, 2015 at 11:52 am

    It’s Friday and…I still have a million thoughts and new ideas swirling around in my head from our meeting. This was my hope! But something beyond any expectations resulted, that we could never have planned. Magic. The experience of being in such an “alive” group of people is something I will carry with me for a long time. Amy – you really captured that that feeling beautifully in this blog.

  4. Renee Fazzari
    May 22, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    It’s Friday and I have a lot I want to share, but a small snippet that just re-occurred to me… I loved that on the second day, Leslie Griep, Forward Together’s Director of Finance and Operations joined us and proved a hypothesis that Rebecca Petzel shared with me some years ago. Rebecca mentioned this in her checkout and I wanted to reiterate how cool it was! Leslie’s reflection was that she came to get a little ahead of what might emerge because as a finance and operations director, one can be a bit terrified of launching new structures and experiments that may generate (bum, bump, bummmm…) unrelated business income! Noooo! And also totally understandable on her part!

    I loved that Leslie was inspired by the experience and said it made her shift from a place of “oh no, I have to do this” to, “wow, I get to do this!” While I don’t know how Leslie is feeling today : ) I think it was a beautiful reflection of how valuable it can be to have administrative and operations people in on the exciting part, helping to shape the outcomes and building buy-in for how the organization can operationalize something new. I have certainly seen this happen in our own organization and I appreciate Leslie and Forward Together modeling what I can now call a new best practice in my toolkit.

  5. Avatar
    May 22, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    It’s Friday and….. I’m still reveling in how powerful it was to share space and be generative and grounded with you all. At a network meet-up this morning, our conversation dug into the importance of vulnerability and having others hold a space with and for you in problem solving. Every participant at the Innovation Challenge shared an authentic part of themselves, starting with sharing about what makes our families strong. Thank you!!!!!!

    Now, I am trying to be patient and lean into this pause while also allowing my curiosity to wander and wonder around what experiment we will try first. As we enter a long weekend, I’m practicing slowing down in order to speed up.

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