In March 2020, I began to re-imagine and re-vision how c.a.s.e.’s work and services could be of greater impact at this time when it seems the entire world is finally being made aware of global changes and the need for deep cultural and personal transformations. Below is a full statement of this Re-Vision and what it means for the type of work that c.a.s.e. will do now and into the future.
As a sole proprietorship, much of the work of c.a.s.e. has been driven by what I have personally learned and who I have built personal relationships with in the past 20 years. Over the past several years I have, both out of necessity and out of intentionality, been critically assessing the core mission of my consulting business as well as of my personal life’s journey. One thing has struck me over the head repeatedly— my true heart and inspirational spark lies with those who have no voice or whose voices have been denied or silenced by the current systems of privilege and power in our society. And, the type of work and actions that get me out of bed in the morning are those aimed at making the world a better place for every living being by bringing us all closer together. This means tearing down the systems (sometimes outside ourselves and sometimes within) that have created separation and oppression.
Due to my upbringing as an upper middle class white cis-woman from the deep South (coastal Georgia) with access and insider understanding of those very systems of political and economic power that oppress others, I am in a unique position to work directly with the institutions and people who have been responsible for silencing certain voices in our society. Note that, like Paulo Friere and others have taught us, sometimes these two agents– the voiceless/oppressed and the oppressor– are within the same person. Being oppressed for long enough, certain people and even institutions begin to unconsciously oppress themselves. To free everyone from these cycles of “othering” and oppression, we must be humble and honest not only with one another but with ourselves. As a result, the best way to describe how I seek to do my work is as an alchemical, quantum, and transformational agent in order that we may bring light and love into our hearts and minds to rid ourselves of oppression, whether from outside or within.
The goal of my work is to motivate and inspire a change in culture from fear-driven, greed-driven, individualistic, technocratic, and dualistic towards a culture of empathy, compassion, love, community-mindedness, and wholeness. I realize that I am more motivated by the method and process than I am by any specific issue or topic. Although, I am always more inspired by issues and topics relating to Nature. I know that I do love to learn about new issues and topics, but that I also get bored fairly easy once I have reached a certain level of understanding. I also recognize my limited capacity and enthusiasm to the smaller details. With these insights about my goals, inspirations, shortcomings, and limitations I serve most easily in roles that require vision, planning, holding space and listening, and catalysing or evaluating action. I can certainly implement and achieve final outcomes, but my greatest strength lies in the visioning and planning stages and in evaluating outcomes.
Despite the privilege and access I have been granted due to my white identity, my professional and personal experiences have taught me that working within the system does not achieve the better world I know is possible. Partly because I am a part of the broken system that needs changing and partly because it is impossible to authentically get traction to change from within. Conversely, I have learned that working outside the system is not effective either, because I am seen by those in the system as the “other” or “outsider” and so at best I garner no or little respect and at worst I am seen as a threat.
So, neither within or without, I have found that directly engaging with political, economic, and social systems at the “choke points” where persistent conflict, fear, and closed-mindedness or dualistic thinking arises may in fact be the most promising place for envisioning a different future and catalyzing change. These are not easy places to be in, much less work in, but this is the work that I believe c.a.s.e. is called to do. But, how? By appealing to our common need for respect, dignity, freedom, and love through non-violent communication practices and skills such as empathic listening and appreciative inquiry, among others.
2020 and onward, c.a.s.e.’s partner-clients will be all levels of government, corporations and businesses,and grassroots organizations. And, c.a.s.e. will not discriminate by political affiliation or beliefs, but everyone who works with us must adhere to the Four Agreements laid out by Miguel Ruiz in “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom”:
Examples of the types of Services c.a.s.e. will focus exclusively on after 2020 include:
Facilitating Organizational Meetings
Facilitating Community Engagement Meetings
Designing, Planning, and Evaluating Community Engagement Processes/Meetings (from Dialogue and Deliberation to Open Houses)
Research on Community Engagement in Risk Communication
Client Workshops on Non-Violent Communication, Risk Communication, Appreciative Inquiry, Community Engagement 101
Ethnographic Analysis and Evaluation of Organizations, Groups, and Communities
Oral History Documentation for Organizations and Individuals
Organizing, Planning, and Evaluating Integrated Mixed-Methods Research Projects on Topics in the Applied Environmental and Social Sciences
Developing and Evaluating Comprehensive and Strategic Communication Strategies for Organizations and Agencies
All of our services require adherence to local and regional Community-Right-To-Know principles and laws, norms of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Sustainable Development Goals.