Guest post — Ecosynomics: Improving Schools Strengthening Communities

Guest blog by Carol Gorelick

On April 16, 2014 I presented Harmonic Vibrancy/Ecosynomics at the STIA+ Conference, with an example from my ABC Connects work. ABC Connects began as a three year, Kellogg Foundation funded, action-learning project. The ABC Connects pilot used the Community School Based Learning Model as the framework to work with disadvantaged schools and communities in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and Detroit, Michigan U.S. A.

My approach was to set the stage for a new view of scarcity and abundance in the context of poverty in underserved and disadvantaged communities.  I began by asking the participants to identify their own feelings of scarcity (fear) and abundance (happiness). Then I described the situation in South Africa showing some slides, including the entrance to the Pefferville school building.  I went on to describe Detroit, including a picture of the Barbara Jordan School. (Click here for the PowerPoint presentation and here for the video of the talk.)

I asked: WHICH COMMUNITY REPRESENTS SCARCITY? WHICH ABUNDANCE?  The answer is obvious.  BUT/AND.  The answer was not so obvious when I showed pictures of children in a Detroit school and a video clip of a 9th grade South African boy, giving a passionate speech to his peers, at a community school event.  The presentation ended with the following questions:

  • WHY don’t all seeds get to fully grow and blossom?
  • WHY can’t all kids reach their full potential?
  • WHAT IF schools in need become sites of community empowerment?
  • WHAT IF all schools and communities were functioning at high vibrancy?

Carol Gorelick is co-founder and Executive Director of ABC Connects, working in the U.S. and South Africa to develop school-community partnerships that strengthen schools and build communities.  Having worked in large global companies, a consultancy, and taught at Pace University and the University of Cape Town in MBA and Executive MBA programs, Carol bridges the worlds of practice, capacity building, and research. She is founding board member of STIA+ and a former elected trustee of the Society for Organizational Learning and co-chair of the Executive Committee.

Guest post — Ecosynomics Salon at 30 Rock in Manhattan

Guest blog by Carol Gorelick and Mike Puleo

On August 1 Jim Ritchie-Dunham, Carol Gorelick and Mike Puelo co-hosted an Ecosynomics salon in a 41st floor Deloitte boardroom with a beautiful view of Manhattan. 18 interested and interesting people gathered to learn about Ecosynomics.

Individuals introduced themselves as educators, trainers, strategists, academics, consultants and authors. The common thread was experience in cross-functional, cross sector work, curiosity about groups/organizations that outperform others and deep commitment to continuous personal and organizational learning.

The invitation was to a 2-hour salon, or “tasting” to dive into one’s agreements and understanding of how they support the sustainable success of an organization as well as its extended community. Thanks to Leslie Ritchie-Dunham, participants were welcomed into an open, warm space with delicious wholesome food and drink, served with care. Deloitte generously let us use their space for the Salon. People entered the “formal” boardroom already engaged and chatting. When we ended, several people continued the conversation for more than an hour.

Jim described the Ecosynomics framework and harmonic vibrancy survey with its outcomes. The highlight was small group conversations that allowed each person to apply the framework to themselves and groups they believe were or are examples of harmonic vibrancy.

Following the salon we have offered attendees the opportunity to take the survey and the Ecosynomics ecourse. We elicited feedback from the participants. Their words are the best way to share the experience:

“I have already ‘bought’ Jim’s e-book on Ecosynomics…. I also have found a client opportunity to introduce Jim’s work to them, and want them to take the survey as a ‘family group’…and incorporate the feedback / survey results into a 3-day workshop.”

“It was utterly fascinating…and even more fascinating were the incredible group of people who were in attendance…but it was way too little time for the deep discussion we started having, and I have many more questions than answers regarding the presentation, methodology, and potential applications!”

Our intention is to continue to evolve the “Salon,” inviting people from diverse communities. We have been asked and will host another gathering to continue the conversation we began on August 1; perhaps this will be the beginning of a Harmonic Vibrancy NY community of practice.

We would be delighted to help design and facilitate if you are interested in hosting or participating in a salon event.  Please contact us if you are interested.

Carol Gorelick is co-founder and Executive Director of ABC Connects, working in the U.S. and South Africa to develop school-community partnerships that strengthen schools and build communities.  Having worked in large global companies, a consultancy, and at Pace University and the University of Cape Town, Carol bridges the worlds of practice, capacity building, and research.

Michael Puleo is a founding board member of ISC.  He is a Director at Deloitte Consulting LLP.  His passion is yacht racing, campaigning across the eastern seaboard.  He also chairs the board of the Stamford Symphony Orchestra.