Rockwood turns 15 this year!
We’ve come a long way from a few folks sitting around Rockwood co-founder Andre Carothers’ kitchen table discussing the state of non-profit leadership back in 2000. People were skeptical when Rockwood co-founder Robert Gass offered his first Art of Leadership – what were those strange people from Berkeley and Boulder doing? What was this “training” thing? Elitist crunchy-granola navel-gazing? Why the emphasis on personal leadership when there are so many crises in the world? What?
We’ve come a long way over the years, and we know that our work and the leaders we support are making a big difference. There is much to celebrate.
From an intrepid few, we are now over 5,000 alumni strong. 52% of us are people of color, women comprise 70%, and our alums lead all over the world. We work in small rural communities and huge global organizations; some are in one-person shops, and others are organizing thousands. We are civil rights leaders, community organizers, artists, unionists, dreamers, planners, and visionaries. We stir some waters and calm others. A few are taking their first leadership steps, while others have already retired. I can’t tell you how proud I am of our alums. There is so much to celebrate!
I thought long and hard about writing this piece at this particular moment, given that yet another African American man was shot and killed by the police this month. The girls stolen by Boko Haram have still not been found, and there are earthquakes in Oklahoma due to fracking. How dare we celebrate anything when things are so messed up?
We celebrate because celebration is medicine. We celebrate because we are humans, and that’s what humans do. We celebrate because it satisfies our souls and increases the overall happiness in the world. It’s also boatloads of fun.
So while our staff, trainers, and board here at Rockwood are celebrating 15 years, what are you celebrating? What milestones have you met that are worthy of a call-out? What is bringing you joy and satisfaction these days?
Think about your colleagues and partners in the work. What is there to celebrate about them and what they are bringing to the world? Who in your family, neighborhood, or region is deserving of celebration?
I think a bit of dancing in the streets is called for once in a while. This is not about denying our pressing difficulties or putting our collective heads in the sand, but mourning needs balance – we cannot only grieve. Humans need the solace and comfort of remembering and honoring the magnificent things of which we are capable.
I invite you to join us as we celebrate our 15th year. You’ll be hearing about upcoming events – online and face-to-face. We’d love to have you participate in what we’re cooking up – stay tuned.
Meanwhile, please take a moment in the coming month to celebrate something of value to you. Take yourself (or your staff) out for coffee. Get up and dance around the office or sing at your next community meeting. If nothing else, let’s celebrate the fact that we get to do work that contributes to the well-being of the world.
There is so very much to celebrate!
From my heart to yours,