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Soul at Work cafe: Ann-Marie Harrington

  • Parent Category: What's New
  • Published on Tuesday, 05 August 2008 12:41
  • Written by Michelle Gonzalez
  • Hits: 1109


That is all there is to write, it would seem. Women from diverse backgrounds came together to hear Ann-Marie’s story about how she took the entrepreneurial plunge in 1997 and went from social worker to internet maven to business owner. Yeah, it took guts, and listening to her instincts telling her that this was the right thing to do. Ann-Marie bared it all, including her current challenge to unplug herself from the business to “just be”. She started with her story, and quickly went into the challenges and the position that mattered to get the business to the next level. If there ever was “self-less” ambition (see Robyn Frye) this was it: it was all about what made Embolden Design grow…and Ann-Marie grew too.

The question I had to ask was, “what is your next challenge, you Ann-Marie, not the company?” The raw response: “Working less hours on the work that kills me…” the work, I would call “do-do” work. (Moms and dog owners you know what I mean) Sometimes the work you love shifts. You get older, you take on responsibilities and well…it is just another euphemism for a “distraction” as those heavy duty obligations take over. So what do you love? And how can you get more of it and play in your work? That theme - return on value and doing what you love - became a clear thread in our conversation.

Oh yeah, did I mention conversation? Yes, really listening, coming up with our own words that matter to what we long for and want to create. Some of the women, even wondered what is a “hobby”, anyway? Clearly, doing what you love leaves no time…except playtime that matter to you. Miscellaneous, time-passing “past-times” didn’t work for these women. Read on about the key themes we honored in our conversation…convening…connecting:

Many of us stayed until well into the night, Michelle Girasole of The Sassy Ladies, Karen Of Pinnacle Peformance, Elizabeth of Pan Zhai Chinese Antiques and I shut New Commons down at 11:00 pm…wow! Lots of conversation about work, people, kids, companies and well, China! I’ll post more as soon as I get the notes, but from memory this is what I took home:

  • Growing to the next stage is more than an evolution - it is listening to what matters: being an “instinct listener” and acting on it.
  • How to make “work” work was about discipline and trust in the process, and creating the conditions, and place, for ownership for all. It is more than a “piece of the finances” but an ethos of accountability in the work.
  • Being a “socialist-capitalist” - it isn’t an “either/or”, but an ”and-both”. Who the heck made these definitions as opposing? Ann-Marie showed how her focus on adding value and listening to her social consciousness lead to a more robust bottom line. And guess what, this isn’t “corporate philanthropy” or “responsibility”. Her practice was honest, to paraphrase, “What do I care about? Let me and my company act on it…Why? Because it matters…and guess what? I am still going to analyze my revenue, project goals out for the year and say no to potential customers that may not meet the company’s social values.”
  • A suggestion to Ann-Marie’s challenge of trying to work more “life” into her life as a business owner: how about just aspiring for one minute or one hour to do nothing. That is right, nothing! Cool.

Okay, I am a bit tired at 12:45am, but did I capture the essence? Did I tell you the fun we had?? Whew, If you were at the cafe, what else did I miss? Comment, tell us what you learned from the cafe, what were your a-ha moments, and what else are you going to take away and how will you apply it to your leader-ful practice?

Special plug:

  • Read “Write it down, make it happen” by Henriette Anne Klauser and well, believe in it “god damn it”.
  • Listen to the virtual book tour and pod cast with Wendy Hanson of The Sassy Ladies and at 4:00 pm on Thursday, June 5 with Jeanna and Eva, co-authors of the “Mastering the Law of Attraction” in the Chicken Soup for the Soul “Life Lessons” series. Do check it out.
  • Aperion Institutes’s Bekhah reminded us of the up coming Sustainable Living Fest 2008 on Saturday June 7 and 8th. If you are in RI you’ve got to go!! Check it out here

Of course, there’s lots more, so please add to this and tell me what you thought of Soul at Work with Ann-Marie!



Comments from migrated blog:

  • Wendy Hanson // Jun 5, 2008 at 6:35 am

    Thanks for a fabulous night! Anne Marie was passionate, inspiring and so full of integrity. It was great! The Virtual Book Tour with the authors of Life Lessons for Mastering the Law of Attraction is today, June 5th at 4:00pmEST. Jeanna Gabellini and Eva Gregory will share some wonderful stories and the 7 essential ingredients for living a prosperous life. The Bridgeline: 712.421.8476 Pin 7777# . The call will also be podcasted on The Sassy Ladies website next week-
    Thanks again Michelle!

  • Michelle Girasole // Jun 5, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Michelle, THANK YOU for another refreshing event for women. You continue to inspire me with the people you pull together to have “conversations that matter”.

    Ann-Marie, thank YOU for sharing your story, and triggering a wonderful discussion about so many topics that are important to women (and men, too, of course.) You are a role-model, for sure.

    My biggest takeaway is a realization of an under-current of pressure (self-induced or otherwise) to be overachievers. Just because women tend to be good at multi-tasking, doesn’t mean we have to do it 24/7, right? I LOVE the “seed” that went up on the board: “Aspire to Nothing”.
    Nothing! Aaaahhhhhh…….

    So, I’m making a declaration. I’m making plans to do NOTHING in the month of August. Let’s make August national “Aspire to Nothing” month. (Hey, if the Europeans can do it, why can’t we?

    Who’s with me?!?!

  • Dale Donnelly // Jun 10, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Ann-Marie, you are another women to step outside her comfort zone and create her life her way. What an awe inspiring look into what can happen with focus, dedication and hutspa. The instincts that you talked about resonated very strongly with me. You’re talking about your roll from a creative driving force to a leader and how that has changed over the years was very interesting. Thank you for all your valuable insights.

    Michelle, yet another woman to be inspired by. You sure do know how to put together a wonder forum for information and conversation. Thank you for your ” soul work”.

  • Melissa Kearns // Jun 15, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    I’m sorry I had to miss Ann-Marie’s presentation. From Michelle’s summary and your comments, it sounds like the event was again filled with inspiring and energizing conversation. I hope to be there for the next Cafe. See you then!

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