As Focusing Initiatives International completes its third year, we are excited to share how our work is moving to a new level.
We have observed for some time that our projects and workshops have a far-reaching impact, as individuals typically take the tools they’ve learned from us and share them with family, friends, their own non-profits, agencies or companies, and their larger community.
Now we are seeing that the same kind of impact is possible as we explore deeper collaborations with kindred organizations.
Focusing Initiatives has always expressed an interest in such partnerships. What we are finding is that partnering with others that share our passion for social justice, community wellness and/or focusing produces a ripple effect as well – a synergy where we are able to do more together and reach more people than either of us could on our own.
For example, Rosa Zubizarreta, a Focusing professional and facilitation and conflict resolution consultant, who has worked with us in the past, introduced us to Miki Kashtan (a worldwide trainer, activist and author) who developed Convergent Facilitation – a process that re-frames problem statements into positive, shared values as a way to facilitate group decision-making and conflict reduction. Rosa had known Miki for many years and wanted to learn (and have others learn) about this method. Since Miki was based in California, and Rosa was across the country in Massachusetts, Rosa introduced her to Melinda hoping that Focusing Initiatives could help bring Miki’s workshop to the East Coast of the United States.
Melinda and Miki immediately felt a connection around shared values, including a wish to locate the workshop in a meaningful venue, and a determination not to turn anyone away who lacked the financial resources to participate. We found an appropriate location, the National Black Theatre in Harlem, NYC. Focusing Initiatives did all the organizing and administrative work and Miki Kashtan facilitated the workshop. Both Miki’s organization and FII promoted the program through mailing lists, and recruited friends to further share it.
The synergy created by this partnership emerged when more than fifty participants from dozens of community-minded non-profits attended our Convergent Facilitation workshop. The content of the workshop itself revolved around collaborative processes. Imagine breaking through group conflict and opposing opinions to find common ground, and then working together from there to develop an acceptable solution. This was a natural match with Focusing Initiatives’ values, including conflict resolution, community wellness and healing.
But beyond this, the workshop created opportunities for Melinda and Pat and the workshop participants to build new connections, share their values and experiences, and identify possibilities for future partnerships. The ripples are widening.
These occasions bring us exactly the kind of challenges we most welcome. We all share many values and are each working in our own way to address the issues and underlying structural inequities that resonate for us – social injustice, racism, sexism, and conflict. And each of us has our own approach, our own process. This is a rich treasure trove of experience for all to draw upon, so that we can teach and learn from one another.
As our perspective broadens and our work deepens, we believe we will find that each of us ends up doing more together than any of us could accomplish on our own.
Let’s Work Together!
One of our objectives is to partner with like-minded individuals and organizations whose core values include community wellness and social justice. We invite you to see if there a way Focusing Initiatives can join with you in the work you are doing or collaborate on a program, retreat or workshop. Please feel free to contact us.