What's New

Cafe with Gayle Corrigan

Join us for our first 2012 cafe featuring Gayle Corrigan, Chief of Staff of Central Falls.  Yes you've seen the headlines and the effort around the receivership of Central Falls, Gayle Gorrigan, Central FallsRI.  According to Gayle this city is an amazing community and the people of Central Falls are committed and care about their 1 mile square neighborhood.  Come, hear Gayle's story about how she is leading in the midst of extreme stress for a city, its people and with the entire world watching...what is next!

NEW Date: Tuesday June 5, 2012

Time: 5:30 - 8:00 pm

Location: New Commons Studio, 545 Pawtucket Ave, Pawtucket, RI

Register HERE

Fee: $30 pp (includes drinks and a light dinner)

$15 for Champion members

Not a member, sign up today, you get discounts on our Cafe, entry to our monthly Agora breakfast meetings, and connections to other members!



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Agora Meet Up-October

Soul at Work Women's Agora met on 10/14/11: 1.5-hour conversation celebrates how women have made change.

We will be continuing these on 11/4, 12/2, and 1/10--see our EVENTS CALENDAR and register for one or all of them ($10 each for non-members)

This event is in the spirit of the ancient  Greek "Agora": a place of assembly for both political/ civic engagement – the Agora was where ideas were debated – and  commerce was transacted. The agora was where the Greeks learned how to participate in  democracy. Our exchange in the “Soul at work Women’s Agora” will center on  helping each other do the following:  make connections, access know-how, and build mutual support – all aimed at  helping you continue on your path to making positive change.

The common themes, and suggestions, we uncovered were:
How do I change perceptions to show others there is opportunity for personal growth and economic freedom with this initiative.
- Start a blog to write about what works what doesn't, become the expert who cares
- Speak at different networks

How do I Inspire and continue the energy of volunteers to keep the "cause" or "tour" sustainable for themselves and for the organization.
- Keep leading by showing them why this matters for personal growth
- Sharing in the limelight
- Maybe create a cooperative?
- Leverage your big donors

How can I be more effective and successful when I have multiple projects and priorities to keep going? 
- Can combine or merge with other's projects  or organization to create the platform for this
- Looking for sponsorship/ funders (as in the non-profit and event business) team up with another group and go for the big ask and leverage each others network and reach.
- Compile the list of corporate contacts for giving and sponsorship and keep asking

What else can I do to building personal community with food & neighbors
- Soup Sundays
- Lady Scouts

What next steps must I do to get the funding to launch a new tech company to develop the product? 
Flesh out the idea in focus groups, sign on the implementation team to be ready, and sign up short list of clients (actual) who will pay for this product when it is luanched?
- Go ahead do the RI Business Plan contest and go ahead and re-apply to Betaspring, persistance can pay off.

Below is an overview of our change projects, what we offer and what we need.  Take a look and post your comments!

Caroline Maillox, CommonCause RI

Project:  Central Fall's Library-keep the doors open!  See the NY Times article and get ready to contribute!
Capability: social media, grantwriting, organizational development
Resources needed: Input on compatible granters in community development and education equality, volunteer recruitment, connecting with media outlets, in-kind donations (technology, programming, etc)

Mary-Lou Lamontage, FreshConnections and many other projects!
Project: In Uganda, Kampala Children's Center and Destiny Africa Children's Choir, I'll be the tour Manger for Spring 2012!!
Capability:  Heartfelt performance which brings joy and hope.  Funding for a Center
Resources needed:  Volunteers in PR, Sponsorships, an Administrative Assistant

Michelle Gonzalez, New Commons
Project: Evolve Soul at Work so that we are sustainable, and a place for women to lead and make change in the world
Capability: Contacts; organizational development; health and wellness coaching; small business financing
Resources: Advisors/Partner in crime; blog content; event helper; photographer; web manager

Karen Lee, of Breathing Time Yoga
Project:  Create a referral network for Breathing Time Yoga's yoga thereapy classes and one-on-one yoga therapy.  Aiming to do this by establishing face-to-face relationships with care providers in other fields.
Capability:  Web-based marketing, email marketing, database utilization, volunteer utilization
Resources needed:  Network with precision, listing of events for care providers that I can attend

Michelle Girasole, The Sassy Ladies and Fresh,LLC
Project: Pay-per-like
Capability:  Connections, marketing brain, entrepreneurial spirit
Resources needed:  Tech brains, funding/ revenue stream for the business

Eva Anderson
Project:  Direct Sales as a retirement plan
Capability:  income generator, improved health
Resources needed:  how to overcome the stigma of MLM

Alicia Alexander, Image Werks, LLC

Project: relaunch of her business 
Capability:  Strategies and connections; accounting and non-profit org. help
Resources needed:  Networking, encouragement

Jennifer Neuguth, Festival Fete
Project:  Developing a healthy company with sponsors and guests/ attendees to my events
Capability:  Connections to artist community, creativity, marketing outreach- cross promoting
Resources needed: Sponsorship contacts, marketing outreach

Julia McDowell, Clinton Health Access Initiative
Project: Build community in Providence of diverse, engaged, passionate people
Capability:  Friendliness, interest in trying new things, desire for social and intellectual exchange
Resources needed:  people who are open-minded, patient and have time

2012 What's New

Soul at Work is convening more gatherings for 2012.

Sign up for our monthly Agora Breakfast and Agora Leadership Circles starting January 2012.  See you soon:

Agora Meet ups : Breakfast meeting with a 1.5 hour exchange where attendees showcase their change projects, share the resources each need and the capabilities each have to offer to other change projects. 

Sign up today! 1/20 Registration or for more program description

Agora Leadership Circles: We'll start on January 24  see here for details:

Special Pilot fee:
Non-Member Fee:  $125
Champion fee: $50
Angel fee: free for the pilot

Register here


Agora Leadership Circles

Building off of the Soul at Work Women’s Agora in July, we are hosting a more continuous support group called “Agora Leadership Circles”.

We are seeking women leaders who have a project to positively impact self, networks, organizations or society. You know that change has to happen and are willing to be the agent for the change you see as important for the world.

Gathering process unfolds:
In the first month, we'll meet up for 3 sessions: Tuesdays Starting in January,  from 6:00 - 7:30 pm - facilitated by Michelle Gonzalez to get you started. Each session comprises of 10-15 minutes of story from each participant, and then feedback, aspirations outline, and resource sharing for each.  If you are interested in signing up,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We will meet once a month (at a mutually convenient time for 1.5 hours) for 3 months to check in on progress with focus on two change agents per meeting specific challenges as well as a check-in from other group members with focus on sharing resources and know-how.

Also meet online through either a Facebook group or private group on Soul at Work blog.

What you will receive:

  • New Commons book “Practice of Change Agent”  a change agent fundamental workbook
  • 3 facilitated sessions and 3 monthly meet-ups for you to vet your challenges and receive group support, know-how from each participant, renewed resilience about your change project, and to renewed faith in the change process
  • Access to our Facebook group/blog

Why do this?
We believe change agents want the opportunity to drill down and really get to know each other and help each other. This is a gathering to experience the “soul” of each other and fulfill the reciprocal ask:  we each need something and have something to offer.

We are looking for 6-7 participants to join for this pilot

Fees: Pilot only, fees go up later

Non-members: $125

Online  members: $50

Angel members: Automatically registered at no cost

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. about your interest and which day/s would be good for you to meet.

Cafe with Barbara Fields

In our third cafe of 2011, Barbara Fields showed us how positions of power bring a heightened responsibility for the care of others.  Our cafe on September 20, 2011 explored Barbara's work as the executive director at the RI Local Initiatives Support Corporation for 20 years, then turning over a new chapter with her 6 month tenure as the New England Regional Administrator for HUD.

We explored key themes in how Barbara was adjusting to the new job, limited budgets, housing as a starting place (not the end), a workforce with 20 - 45 years of service as the norm, and bringing up the next generation.

Hers has been a transition of scale, geography, bureaucracy, and commute, but one in which she was bringing more humility and compassion to the workplace.  

Key lessons from Barbara's story:

  • "Simple things matter": this is where bringing compassion and the personal to the workplace is what matters in getting the work done well.
  • "Privilege as duty": it's a question of impact and making a difference
  • Pursue what is an interest as success rather than trying to "figure" out what is my singular specialty and therefore the only lever for success.
  • Creativity is everything, even though master of know-how and things seems to be overvalued.

Below are our the participants notes and the key practices we wanted to work on next in our leadership practice. Please feel free to add your comments!

How to capture your own personal passion and make a difference and the measure of success.

  • Luck is where opportunity meets preparation”- Denzel Washington. The key is to also be open to the opportunity.
  • In reference to pursuing one’s interest and whether it makes a difference, we found there is no measure, keep pushing but do it with awareness. It will continue.
  • Remember Barbara’s shared saying: life is not about completing the work, yet, nor is it to desist the work of your predecessors.

How do I learn from my mistakes and still be brave to speak my perspective?

  • Passionate and compassionate…to others’ perspective and situation
  • Moving on and moving forward - more than “letting go”, we had to get out of the way.
  • Not putting too much significance on a mistake…and not obsessing over the mistake
  • Is it a mistake or are people just not ready to hear it? Who is deciding it is a mistake? What is their criteria? Is it just something new that makes them uncomfortable?
  • We noticed that it is the audience who is not ready to hear the message; therefore the message has to be sensitive the stage of change and the message the audience will take in.
  • Learning from the past vs. hanging onto/rumination on/living in the past experience
  • It’s an event (the mistake) – not your personality or character. Worrying about a mistake already made doesn’t allow all of your energy to be in the present.  Be Passionate + compassionate.
  • Imperfection does not disqualify me from life.
  • Learning how to manage up.
  • Mistakes are actually a positive
  • Learn about reactions to mistakes 

Do we redefine what is a leader and how to recognize that?

  • Key is in making connections, relationship building along the entire hierarchy of an organization…not top down!!
  • Question the assumption of “feel like I have to do everything to do it right” – Question that generalized thought of “self-sufficient”
  • We are cooperative species, but if we don’t do it “all” we are judged failures--again the glamorization of the "rugged individual". Leadership is anyone who has a follower they are responsible for. Again, one-on-one engagement matters, in community building the big meeting doesn't work to get the unknown person
  • What do leaders look like…change the picture?...Women who have done it before (i.e. Grandma)
  • Celebrate: expand – “Natural” leadership
  • Challenge term of “imperfection” – what is perfect?
  • How to recognize Soul at Work helps us to celebrate the unknown leaders…
  • Making a difference among peers stepping up and doing what needs to be done is not gender dependent.
  • Change the picture of what leaders look like – i.e. Grandmother bringing community together.
  • Celebrate, expand making things work in “imperfect ways”
  • Leader=President, Congressman, CEO – no credit to other kinds of leaders that don't have a title of power, for example:  Mother's work
  • Giving ourselves permission to not feel like a failure if we don’t do "it all". Fail, fail again (structural process), Structured community, engagement (community organizing).
  • Cooperative work.
  • Key is in connection.

Wildcard: where attendees brought up their own open topics for conversation

  • It is about what I'll prioritize now: Self, Family, groups, it is all situational but is important in how one works and evaluates a job.
  • Acknowledge the personal and humanity not for your self interest—the work is the human dynamic and transfer it for a greater good
  • Vulnerability is a form of bravery and is strategic management.
  • Relating as a human to a human being- if only we can practice this as dutifully as getting things done.  Human element counts in our dynamic and evolving world, no need to be afraid of acknowledging this complexity!
  • Lack of middle management in our workforce? What can one do to encourage and foster a successor and give them support, opportunities to learn, and wisdom sharing that "yes, I, too get nervous when I speak to groups" it is a universal human response.  Go beyond "mentoring" showing an interest in continuing the work.  Not about a legacy, but about developing those who come next.
  • Beyond age, get out of the "20 somethings" mode as the next generation, it could easily be the person who just joined the organization or transferred from another department.  This is about acknowledging new perspectives and energy to continue the work.
  • Vulnerability is bravery, Intent is from heart and how people respond

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