How many of you have ever felt alone or even burnt out in your advocacy for sustainable building in your design, construction, planning, or policy work? I’d be surprised if you haven’t! Those of us “assigned” by life to bring forth sustainable solutions in our built environment are practicing a form of leadership that goes beyond ensuring personal or even organizational success. Emergent leadership aspires to create a greater good in society.
Thich nan Hanh, Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk, and peace activist wrote in his book “Teachings on Love” that if you are doing aspirational work including “working for the environment” you “need a sangha.” Sangha technically applies to a community of Buddhist monks and nuns, or of Buddhists in general. But Thich naht Hanh is using the term in the larger sense of a community that shares a practice for the greater good. This community can support each other in the work, practically, and emotionally. Joanna Macy, in her book “Active Hope” dedicates an entire chapter to the importance of “Building Support” to maintain a positive and effective approach to aspirational work. We can’t do it alone. And nature shows us that in order to thrive, we must engage with others who share our primary purpose. As Meg Wheatley notes, “nothing living lives alone!”
Thus a key aspect of the EMERGE Leadership Project is to offer “community” to those called to bring forth life sustaining solutions in our built environment. To date, this has been in the form of social media groups (an EMERGE Alumni Group and an open EMERGE Leadership Group on LI and the Emergent Social Media page on FB), newsletters and email news blasts, and two in-person “clinics” (one in the Seattle area, one in the Bay area).
Thanks to Hollie McIntyre, the EMERGE Leadership Project’s new Community Engagement Coordinator, alumni, faculty, newsletter subscribers, and our social media followers are about to see an even greater emphasis on connecting the EMERGE Leadership community to each other – both for moral support and for continued shared learning.
McIntyre attended the EMERGE Leadership workshop at Islandwood this last December, so has an excellent feel for what members of the EMERGE community are looking for and can offer each other in the way of a “sangha.”
McIntyre recently concluded a seven-year stint in residential energy efficiency program management. Before that she worked for the Earth Conservation Corps. In addition to volunteering for the EMERGE Leadership Project, McIntyre is taking a break from work to study Global Health Issues.
Says McIntyre, “My goal is to assist in bridging meaningful connections, to help foster study, practice, reflection, and sharing among our community members, and thus encourage the vision of emergent leadership. I’m super excited to be given an opportunity to do this work, and look forward to connecting with everyone.”
Engagement plans include check-ins, topical online hangouts and videos, and an uptick in social media connectivity. If you are an alumni, faculty member, newsletter subscriber, or EMERGE follower and have ideas for building the EMERGE community, please let us know by emailing Hollie at: firstname.lastname@example.org
And don’t be surprised if she contacts you!