“A few words well-placed can really change the trajectory of somebody's career.”Read More
Mastering growth, igniting engagement, cultivating skills through a human-centered approach (enhanced by The Art of Convening) based on kindness and accountability.
As Site Director of Public Allies Twin Cities, Jonathan’s responsibilities span from managing growth to fundraising to managing compliance standards for Federal, State, and CNCS reporting, to last, but most important, providing leadership and skills development opportunity for Program Managers that represent Public Allies to the community.
Public Allies Twin Cities is a program of Pillsbury United Communities, and a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. The core team of Jonathan, Andrea Carroll-Franck and Francisco Guzman, along with allies that are embedded into local organizations, work with nonprofits, schools, or government agencies that need support building capacity, and are known for their people and program excellence.
Craig Neal, originator of the Art of Convening Trainings, shares his interview of Jonathan’s journey of service. If you look at Jonathan’s LinkedIn profile, you’ll see these words or intention consistently throughout: provide leadership and skills development, increased engagement and participation, maximize opportunity and capacity.
In addition to work with Public Allies, Jonathan also expresses his passion as Co-Founder, Music Producer, Vocal/Studio Performance Coach at FHG Studios, and Praxis Group MN, which focuses on building capacity for organizations and systems. He’s a busy man!
Enjoy the interview!
Good morning from the lake.
You never know what is going to happen at the lake…
Good morning from the lake.
A sense of place, a sense of being, … the daily drumbeat.
I”m often asked, “Why do I come every day? What is it that drives you to the lake every day?” I come to the lake at sIt’s a sense of place, a sense of being, a sense of belonging … i experience the daily drumbeat. it’s a practice. Thank you for practicing with me.
Good morning from the lake.
Sharing the beauty…
I’ve been taking photographs here every day, every morning for seven years. So here I am, with you, my friends, those that wish to see beauty, as I do.
Last night I couldn’t sleep so I came down here and here I am with the ducks, and the geese, and you.
A man of faith and music, convening in a life of service dedicated to alleviating veteran homelessness and poverty.
Kiron R. Dawkins, Purposeful Leader, Rapper, Minister, Executive Director of Supportive Services for Veterans and Families of a Hudson Valley Multi-service Nonprofit Organization, Husband, and Dad of five daughters has led a remarkable life. Craig Neal, originator of the Art of Convening Trainings shares his interview of Kiron's fascinating journey. From the streets of New York as a 3-sport athlete, All-city All-county designations in football and a City championship, to the lessons of being shot in college, an early career as a rapper leading to the ministry, all the way to serving homeless veterans with exceptional results. He shares how the Art of Convening training helped to transform his team and redefine true collaboration.
Enjoy the interview, then read on below for more.
WestCOP SVF Regional Coordinator: Kiron Dawkins, email@example.com
Kiron stands at the forefront of the rapidly changing non-profit industry through services innovation. He’s spent the last four years evangelizing an industry-wide shift of community-based collaboration to service returning Veterans and has helped position WestCOP as a leader in the space of critical time interventions with Veterans in housing crisis.
Throughout his 12-year tenure with WestCOP, Kiron has built a reputation for developing business strategies, incubating new program models, and building out programs in key areas. He also developed and manages the largest Supportive Services for Veterans and their Families Program (SSVF) and has brought nearly four million dollars to the region over the last three years with another near two million in year four to serve Veterans under this initiative. Embracing the core values of integrity, innovation, and growth, Kiron consistently ranks among the top 5% of WestCOP employees.
WestCOP: Support Services for Veterans and Their Families
Far too many veterans are homeless in America. The SSVF Program helps veteran households (single veterans or veterans and their families) that are currently homeless or at risk of losing their housing. It provides temporary financial assistance and many other services that create stability.
It is estimated that between 130,000 and 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night; three times that many veterans are struggling with excessive rent burdens and thus at increased risk of homelessness.
One out of every three homeless men who is sleeping in a doorway, alley or box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and served this country.
By The Numbers…
40% OF HOMELESS ARE VETERANS
400,000 VETERANS WILL EXPERIENCE HOMELESSNESS THIS YEAR
97% OF THESE VETERANS ARE MALE
67% SERVED 3 OR MORE YEARS
A disproportionate amount – approximately 40% – of homeless men are veterans, even though veterans comprise only 34% of the general adult male population. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans estimates that 400,000 veterans will experience homelessness during the course of a year and 97% of those homeless veterans will be male. A large percentage – 67% – served three or more years in the armed forces protecting our country, and 47% are Vietnam Era Vets.
What do you do when everything just really works out, … when all things fall into place…
Good morning from the lake. I was in New York City at Union Square for the 1st Earth Day celebration in 1070. We constructed a plastic dome powered by giant fans with air conditioners and named it the cleanest air in NY. Today's Purpose Moment video honors our relationship to the earth and all its beings.
Cultivating Connection Across Conflict/Division
In this week’s Purpose Shared post, Art of Convening Train the Trainer graduate Tom McSteen brings us the story of a journey of life as a corporate lawyer with a growing awareness of larger global forces at play. Experiencing and being moved by the power of indigenous wisdom led to a global exploration of his own healing from a lifelong disability, to creating healing conversations through founding Sacred Discourse, an intentional, heart-centered framework for having relational and connected conversations between individuals, within groups, and across society.
Tom’s explorations and trainings have taken him Minnesota to California to across Europe, South America.
W.S. Merwin, a true master in the art of poetry and a profound ecologist
We have admired and been touched by the poetry of W.S. Merwin for many years. The line excerpted from this poem is particularly poignant in the midst of tragic events.
“Youth” by W.S. Merwin
SEPTEMBER 25, 2015 BY MERWIN CONSERVANCY
Through all of youth I was looking for you
without knowing what I was looking for
or what to call you I think I did not
even know I was looking how would I
have known you when I saw you as I did
time after time when you appeared to me
as you did naked offering yourself
entirely at that moment and you let
me breathe you touch you taste you knowing
no more than I did and only when I
began to think of losing you did I
recognize you when you were already
part memory part distance remaining
mine in the ways that I learn to miss you
from what we cannot hold the stars are made
— W.S. Merwin, from his Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Shadow of Sirius (2009), and found in the newly released collection The Essential W.S. Merwin (2017, Copper Canyon Press), used by permission of the publishers.
Copyright © 2017 by W. S. Merwin.
From the https://merwinconservancy.org/: It is with great sadness and an abiding reverence that we say goodbye to W.S. Merwin, a true master in the art of poetry and a profound ecologist. Beyond the extraordinary legacies of his poetic and botanical achievements, William has left us all deeply inspired to make the world around us a better place through word and deed, and to see and preserve the natural world as the exquisite poem it is.
The Merwin Conservancy inspires innovation in the arts and sciences by advancing the ideas of W.S. Merwin as fearless and graceful examples of the power of imagination and renewal.
Leadership inspiration one conversation at a time.
When our children were young, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was a program I could absolutely trust to be thoughtful and fun. Recently I was reminded from two different sources the many leadership lessons we received, as well.
Kudos to PBS who aired "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" and Southern Living Magazine for highlighting the leadership that Fred Rogers stood for and demonstrated. Read on for words of wisdom that inspire, offer perspective, and remind us all of our worthiness and inherent ability to make a difference in the lives of others. In other words, leadership.
"As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has--or ever will have--something inside that is unique to all time. It's our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression."
“There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”
“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
“Our world hangs like a magnificent jewel in the vastness of space. Every one of us is a part of that jewel. A facet of that jewel. And in the perspective of infinity, our differences are infinitesimal. We are intimately related. May we never even pretend that we are not.”
On Making a Difference
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
“I hope you’re proud of yourself for the times you’ve said ‘yes,’ when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to somebody else.”
“Whether we're a preschooler or a young teen, a graduating college senior or a retired person, we human beings all want to know that we're acceptable, that our being alive somehow makes a difference in the lives of others.”
“It's our insides that make us who we are, that allow us to dream and wonder and feel for others. That's what's essential. That's what will always make the biggest difference in our world.”
“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”
"Part of the problem with the word disabilities is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can't feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren't able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities."
"Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now."
I hope these words have sparked some joy, inspiration, remembering of your true value and purpose in our world.
Additional reading: 20 Gentle Quotations from Mister Rogers, Mental Floss
Changing the world one conversation at a time.
Craig joined 400+ intentional “cooleagues” at the 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation in Denver last month. He presented at the Showcase and convened an inspired Open Space breakout session on “How Do We Create Sacred Space in Dialogue & Deliberation?” with Salomeh Dastyari Diaz.
NCDD is a hub, facilitative leader & clearinghouse for a community of thousands of innovators. NCDD conferences are about having fun and enjoying the company of our field’s movers and shakers, as well as forming new partnerships, strategizing how we can tackle our field’s greatest challenges, showcasing some of the coolest arts, technologies, and methods for public engagement — and so much more.
The workshops, presentations and Open Space breakout sessions all focused on how do we create opportunities to convene people in inclusive and creative ways, to nurture and support a world that works for all.
A report on the learnings from “How Do We Create Sacred Space in Dialogue & Deliberation?”: Salomeh and I knew the word “sacred” could be edgy. We asked: how do we talk about the areas of human contact and connection that bring in our whole selves? How do we describe the whole human experience beyond our intellectual and cognitive capacities?
The people who joined us were excited to have an essential conversation around how to create spaces of depth and affinity in any situation, knowing that creating containers of mutual trust and respect is one of the greatest challenges of our time. No matter our social, religious or spiritual foundation, we found a common sense of what the word sacred meant to us and why it matters as a reminder and expression of our core values and beliefs.
Each human is viewed as a unique and beautiful bead.
Today we give thanks for dear friend and longtime collaborator Pele Rouge who introduced us to what has become a core practice in our lives and work. As a form of “Hearing All the Voices” the 6th Element of the Convening Wheel, Stringing the Beads is at once a sacred yet practical practice of joining people together in an authentic way. In our experience, it is the fastest way for people to reach connection and alignment, in what we call “The Arc of Recognition.”
By Pele Rouge
Why the name – Stringing the Beads?
Each human is viewed as a unique and beautiful bead.
As each person speaks, the talking piece goes around the circle and becomes the energetic “needle” carrying the thread of connection from person to person, “Stringing” the Beads together into a complete necklace and an energetic whole.
The talking piece and our words are the thread of connection that create the larger fabric, the “We”.
Much like a shuttle moves back and forth in a loom connecting/expanding/transforming the “independent” strings into a woven fabric that contains the beauty of each thread and creates a larger beauty.
Click here to read more.
Purpose is an expression of your gifts, talents, values and passions.
By Patricia Neal
On a chilly Minnesota day, it’s wonderful to recall the recent Fusion 2.0 Conference, hosted by Salveo Partners. The warmth and generosity of spirit made this conference a wonderful learning and sharing environment. Craig Neal and I were honored to present "The Art of Purposeful Leadership," a Learning Lab.
We followed a keynote by high-energy Ondra Berry of MGM Grand. Jennifer Gilhoi gives an excellent recap of the day here: https://lnkd.in/eUK2g9R. Her comments about our session are below.
What did we learn? There are at least 2 languages of leadership: from the head and from the heart. The head needs to create order, quantify and measure; the heart needs and gives aspiration, inspiration and connection.
The Art of Purposeful Leadership
In this session packed full of purposeful tools, Craig Neal, The Center for Purposeful Leadership, began with one simple idea: A purposeful leader is anyone who steps up to make a positive impact in the world. Craig and his wife and business partner, Patricia Neal, had a cadence to their sharing that made the experiences in this session delightful. In a U-shaped seating arrangement with a range of tactical items at our fingertips, the group practiced “stringing the beads,” where each person contributed their response to a prompt like what gets you excited to get out of bed every morning?
Beyond the straightforward response of, “an alarm clock,” each comment or bead, told a story about the person and at the end, a collective story of the group. Craig and Patricia walked us through The Napkin Test, by Richard Leider, an Art of Convening exercise to outline nine steps to thoughtful collaboration, and a Conversational Intelligence Assessment to rank ourselves and select one area to improve upon.
If you’d like to explore more about The Art of Purposeful Leadership, join us for an upcoming Zoominar. Each Zoominar is an opportunity to explore together the why and how of bringing your purpose to shared action in the world. And finding a way towards committed and shared outcomes. [45-minute, live, interactive conversation + 15 minute Q&A]
Click here to register or contact Craig @ firstname.lastname@example.org
We look at convening as purpose shared.
By Patricia Neal
Craig and I are having a blast hosting Zoominars on The Magic of Purpose Shared and introducing a new model for Convening the Purposeful Path to Commitment.
Purpose is an action verb.
Purpose alone is for the sake of what?
Convening alone is for the sake of what?
Convening is purpose shared.
At the heart of the matter of sharing your purpose is convening: the art and science of gathering and holding people in a safe and generative space, for the sake of authentic engagement, each time we invite people together, both virtually or in person.
Each Zoominar is an opportunity to explore together the why and how of bringing your purpose to shared action in the world. And finding a way towards committed and shared outcomes.
"The main challenge we are facing in the 21st century is a very busy brain." -Amit Sood, Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine; Chair of Mayo Mind Body Initiative
The 9/27/18 blog post featured the work of Dr. Sood. He notes that our brains and senses are inundated with information and demands that seem to take priority for what to pay attention to and how to act. But as human beings, and more importantly, as leaders, there is much more to be expressed as our authentic selves.
The six components of Whole Person Leadership—Purpose, Integrity, Presence, Resilience, Impact and Thriving—are key ingredients to success and fulfillment. These correlate with the concepts of trust/trustworthiness, emotional intelligence, physical well-being, spiritual expression, and professional expertise.
Being a "whole" leader calls on every aspect of our selves. It calls us to find the courage to bring all of who we are into everything we do: the brilliant parts, the messy parts, the parts we hide and the traits we feel most proud of. It offers the opportunity to connect more deeply to our power of purpose and lead more authentically from a whole person perspective, calling on all our senses and sensibilities.
Whole Person Leadership is built on your own personal values and life experiences, as well as understanding your strengths and growth points, hopes and aspirations. A focus on discovery of purpose and how to share our purpose is a great place to begin. Purpose is always about being is service to something larger than yourself: what gets you up in the morning and sustains you through the day? the week? the tough times?
What comes to mind as you think of all of what you have to offer? What does your head say? your heart? your spirit? Is anything missing?
The faculty of Whole Person Leadership for Women is hosting 2 Zoominars on Whole Person Leadership. We’d love your input and ideas.
If you’d like to explore more about Whole Person Leadership, join us for an upcoming Zoominar on October 17 or November 2
[45-minute Zoom + 15 minute Q&A]
Click here to register or contact Patricia @ email@example.com
"The main challenge we are facing in the 21st century is a very busy brain. ..."
We are repurposing this blog post from 2013. It is still pertinent today, possibly more than ever. http://www.mprnews.org/story/2013/12/23/daily-circuit-holiday-stress?from=dc
I loved this interview. Dr. Sood speaks to the power of gratitude.
Mayo Clinic stress expert Dr. Amit Sood joins The Daily Circuit to discuss the steps he recommends to lower stress and enjoy the holidays. Sood's upcoming book is "The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living."
• "The main challenge we are facing in the 21st century is a very busy brain. We're all overextended. I'm sure you have more than 20 passwords. You have perhaps a dozen or more bills to pay. Our ancestors didn't have that."
• "The three most important things in holidays are relationships, relationships and relationships. Binge on quality time with your loved ones.... Don't fall off the wellness and budget bandwagon. And do something to honor the tradition. This is a time of hope. This is a time of forgiveness. This is a time of gratitude. Be extra kind to yourself."
Purposeful Leadership is purpose shared. We are sharing the Center for Purposeful Leadership message* at these great programs and conferences this fall.
*Our Vision: A Purposeful Leader in every organization creating thriving cultures of purpose, trust, respect and collaboration.
A Journey of Purpose, Renewal & Thriving for Women
October 2018-March 2019
Patricia Neal with Vivian Jenkins Nelsen, Kimberly Kristenson-Lee, Lynn Nelson, and Claudia Eisinger welcome women leaders from across the country to participate in this unique program.
Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators
November 2-4, 2018
At the upcoming NCDD Conference Craig Neal will be participating in the D&D Showcase focusing on Healing the Divide.
The Art of Purposeful Leadership: Trust and Leadership
December 4-6, 2018
On 12/4 Patricia Neal and Vivian Jenkins Nelsen will co-convene a potent afternoon workshop.
"I knew my life would be forever changed. I hadn't bargained on transformation in its very essence."
5 years ago, my letter was published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Today, more than ever, there is a need to call our purpose into action. May Dr. King's life be a powerful inspiration to express the purposeful leader in each of us. This day 55 years ago is a constant reminder of why I do what I do.
Your reflections and comments are welcome.
Letter of the Day (Aug. 27, 2013): On the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
I was a 17-year-old self-proclaimed “jock” from suburban New Jersey when a friend asked me to join her synagogue on a civil-rights march in Washington. With parental support, I ventured forth.
Our bus arrived early, so I walked along the reflecting pool to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I witnessed the preparations and eventually the speakers and singers, and ultimately saw the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver the “I have a Dream” speech.
Separated from my group and hemmed into place by the crowd on the steps, I knew my life would be forever changed. I hadn’t bargained for transformation in its very essence.
As King spoke, I turned away to the watch the sea of people spreading across the mall and beyond, and I fixated on a man in a black suit, black tie and hat with a sign that I believe said “We Shall Overcome.”
My lasting impression was this man and others dressed in their elegant best, with tears streaming down their faces, smiling and saying “amen” after each phrase. I knew at that moment that my life’s work would be for the sake of service to a dream of a better world.
CRAIG NEAL, Minneapolis
The writer is cofounder of Heartland Inc., a social enterprise organization, and is a former publisher of Utne Reader magazine.