In our first year, 2007, we featured four cafes that explore how women are leading in their own terms. Each year, we hold cafes and an unconference to amplify the concept that soulful leadership for women is successful given the conditions and changing dynamics in our world and organizations.
2012 is about sustaining the conversation and enabling change that matters. This year, Soul at Work has a variety of program offerings:
- Agora Leadership Circles: Monthly small group meetings to support, focus, and enable a participant to reach her goals in making change.
- Cafes: A featured woman tells her story about leading on her own terms. Then, we discuss key themes in small group conversations. Finally, we pull out the key actionable ideas and summarize.
- Unconference: Starting with a theme, such as "Making Change", attendees craft the agenda, and decide which topics to discuss. This is a very open format, where small groups break out and attendees are welcome to lead sessions.
We focus on 3 tenets to demonstrate how strong women lead in their own terms and create more Soul at Work.
- We introduce new role models and stories from women who have overcome obstacles and succeeded in their work by listened to their inner voice about what mattered.
- We develop and expand a network for sharing strategies and practices.
- Lastly, we gather to support each other in implementing innovative practices.
Using the metaphor of "Soul at Work", we ask you to think about what engages AND what distracts women from bringing our souls to work. For this website, it is in the stories our blog authors bring forward from the spheres of My Self, My Tribe, My Workplace, and My World. These posts are from real women, some experts some just leading in their own way, but all fully aligned with giving a story from their own Soul at Work.
Our face-to-face cafes are a tangible exploration to identify key and real leadership practices that you can implement right away. Each café explores a perspective, takes the themes to the audience, and then identify the practices.
To Be of Use by Marge Piercy
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.
Proven and emerging leaders, from a variety of industries engage in our cafe and online, to learn from the series, each other and each discipline.
Industries from which we are bringing attendees:Business Higher Education
Community Development Stay-at-home mompreneurersHealthcare administrators Advertising and Media Information Technology Public Schools Management Consulting Human Services Foundations Local and State Governments Activists Arts and Culture and more...
This series is for those women leaders who realize that:
External and internal conditions are telling you what was, will not work any more.
Have to engage staff and employees to take more responsibility
The styles of management that involves control is stifling creativity in your organization, yet is so hard to un-learn
The organization is chaotic, there is an organizational structure but it doesn’t work: everyone has his or her own agenda, no sense of common purpose, just self-protection
You are looking for a way to learn beyond your organization, from other leaders in different industries
You believe in cultivating people and leveraging conditions as means of increasing organizational effectiveness.
About New Commons, Soul at Work convener and supporter
New Commons is a ‘think, link, and do tank’ that researches, creates,and applies the next generation of thinking and processes to accelerate sustainable growth and wealth creation. Now that is the really dull definition of what we do...so please do go to our site and look around. Our partner and co-owner, Michelle Gonzalez, is the convener and founder of this initiative. Inspired by the work of Birute Regine and Roger Lewis' work, Diane Wilson-An Unreasonable Woman and Wilma Mankiller (yes mankiller- a friend from my husband's legacy), she has looked for ways to uncover the Soul work at all of our work to create a world that appreciates the feminine and balance masculine.
Basically, we are change agents--we are an "uncommon" new commons, and in this ever changing world we dare to provoke and ask "is there a better way." We also engage multiple perspectives, and values, to flesh out the new solutions--those that involve the tension of the opposites.
And yes, we are a for-profit/ for-benefit company. We are "problem-solution connectors" and Soul at Work is one series we are running to be the change we want to see in the world. Click here for more information