Selah Sue - Fyah Fyah
Selah Sue - Fyah Fyah
It began innocently enough.
Unbeknownst to either Erin or myself, our cataclysmic friendship, sparked at a Chicago Acumen Fund event, helped thread a memorable gathering of social entrepreneurs + changemakers. With the generous support of Brandon and Emily helping host the event in their lovely home + cooking up a superb gourmet meal, our group of 11 remarkable individuals represented an inspired, sharp, and very talented tribe of young leaders.
There seemed to be, with many of us, a glaring void of community amongst social entrepreneurs. Though our paths had crossed every once in awhile, and we had begun mentioning many of the same names in the various social gatherings + networking events we attended, we felt isolated. Disconnected. Working and dialoguing in silos, rather than as a larger collective. Across pathways. Within a tribe.
We knew what we wanted.
Connection. Communication. Cross-pollination. The leveraging of…
Thus, the birth of Socent Sunday Supper. Inspired by Sunday Soup.
FEAST, a Brooklyn-based micro-granting initiative.
The sharing of a meal in an intimate setting with like-minded socents was exactly what filled this apparent void. At the end of the evening, we knew what had occurred was special. Remarkably so. The animated, thought-provoking, and humorous conversations that precipitated that evening cemented its success.
More, we said.
When is the next gathering? we reiterated.
Momentum. We should really be leveraging the momentum of interest and demand from the event. But here we are, still yet to determine what business model to utilize in order to sustain our efforts. And how to proceed—collectively—with the funds we raised that evening.
A blog post from Sunday Soup’s website speaks to the type of growth and development I had been reflecting on for the future of Socent Sunday Supper [we really need a name change, I think]: How to Grow.
Until then, your thoughts are much appreciated.
What is the need/demand?
How can we better facilitate going deep within our tribe?
Socent Sunday Supper. 2011.
“A curious person embraces the tension between his religion and something new, wrestles with it and through it, and then decides whether to embrace the new idea or reject it. [Curiosity] has to do with a desire to understand, a desire to try, a desire to push whatever envelope is interesting.”
- Seth Godin, Tribes
Imagine this: you’re at the last leg of a job recruitment process and the hiring person wants you to write one last essay. What type of essay, you ask? Tell us why you think the organization should invest in clown noses, she says.
What’s your reaction?
What does this say about the organization?
Why is this important?
What’s the value in a nose? More specifically, in a clown nose? An arguably significant amount, I’d say. And rather than explaining how I wrote the essay, here’s why I’m absolutely enthralled and appreciative of this question: the nonprofit that’s asking the question is one of those rare organizations that is reconceptualizing not only their industry and the work they are doing within the community, but of the entire hiring process as well.
Suffice it to say, this was just one of many interesting elements to their recruitment process. Here’s the run-down. I was asked to attend an informational session prior to applying for the job position in order to learn more about their program. No resume was ever asked of me. Instead, I summarized myself in a professional profile on their website. Then was asked to answer several essay questions, which I personally spent approximately 40 hours on. Blood, sweat and tears went into that, for sure! The first interview with the president consisted of 7 (but she slipped in 2 more at the very end) existential questions. The second round of interviews with 4 staff members involved responding to case scenarios and my professional experience. A follow-up third (now for a different position than I had initially applied for) included a mix of professional experience + idea-generation for future projects. And lastly, of course, the final essay question on clown noses.
Sounds like quite the journey, no? In all honesty, I’d have to say that it has been the most amazing, inspirational, and emotionally satisfying experience I’ve ever had with a job process. Their work, inherently artistic and participatory in nature, has been a great source of unconventional wisdom and engaging conversations. How often can you say that you’ve connected, shared, and better understood the perspective—no, the character—of a collective of individuals from such a professional experience?
They are exactly the type of designful organization that I have been dreaming of working with. And here I am, waiting to see if I’ll get to participate and contribute to such a community of changemakers.
To be continued…
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
- Eleanor Roosevelt
Like individuals, organizations have the ability to develop, expand, and strengthen its capacity and capabilities. As someone who works in the nonprofit sector, I continue to find myself transfixed, frustrated, and hopeful for the ways in which many nonprofit organizations operate. Basically, it’s complicated (and complex). I recently read a piece of research that focused on nonprofit process improvement, which suggested that every time an organization takes an opportunity or addresses an organizational challenge, it has the opportunity to learn and grow from the experience. Additionally, the success of process improvement is predicated on the organization’s learning ability to gain insight and understanding from experience through experimenting, observation, analysis, and a willingness to examine its successes and failures. In other words, organizational learning underlies the idea that these organizations are places where people are continually discovering how they create their reality and how to change it.
How they create their reality.
How I create my reality.
How do I want to change my reality?
So the question goes with many of us, I suppose. I have a close cohort of friends in Hyde Park who are similarly experiencing the sometimes overwhelming and risky challenges of professional+life+passion-filled pursuits. On one hand, we have either identified or been offered an incredible (and even too good to be true) opportunity that blows our mind. While on the other, we wilt in fear of the seemingly insurmountable challenge and our inability to meet the standard in accomplishing the work and its lofty goals.
But here’s what I’m learning…and desperately wanting to learn more of while putting into practice: GO BIG OR GO HOME. As in, I want to be up for every challenge that life has to offer if it means risking it for self improvement, community development, and social impact. These things, to me, undergird my life pursuit to glorify my Maker.
Perfectionists tend to have these annoying issues related to control, refining (before doing), and a sometimes unrealistic expectation of outcomes—whether they be people, society, and especially of themselves. I kind of want to get over these issues. Meaning, I just…want…to…let…go. And be fearless.
running / falling / picking up self
grabbing others to join / feeling more emboldened / strengthened / determined
There isn’t a city that fully maximizes the summer quite like Chicago. Each consecutive day seems to surpass the previous one, tasting evermore savory and satisfying than the last.
Thankful for generous friends + fair-weathered fun + a rhythmic city
We’ve all thought it.
Get this: Flash.Mob.Dinner.
With hundreds of people gathering in one, glorious location. gulp.pp.p.
You better believe I will attempt to get on this exclusive list come Aug. 1st with the rest of Chicago’s salivating gourmands.