Community is Medicine
2007 Echoing Green Fellow Gemma Bulos reflects on Echoing Green's recent Fellows conference:
Before arriving to my last Echoing Green Conference as a Fellow, I have to admit I had a sense of melancholy knowing that I may not see many of these inspiring people again, and that our Class of 2007 would soon become the forgotten middle child in an ever-growing family of extra-ordinaries. But, just like any other family, as Echoing Green has made very clear this past weekend, we Fellows are forever connected and supported because Echoing Green’s belief in our ideas to change the world is completely bound within their confidence in us as individuals.
Each year, I have had the pleasure of connecting with some of the sharpest and boldest people on the planet, and I’ve witnessed the conference transform from the typical information-based organizational development presentations offered by outside experts, into the current model: sourcing information and support from the wisdom of Echoing Green Fellows past and present.
From our Brain Trust sessions where carefully crafted groups were formed to support a Fellow to overcome their current issue; to the Focus Interest Groups (FIGS) that mobilized Fellows within the same sector to learn more about each others work and potentially spark collaborations and alliances—the very heart of this gathering was the open space created for genuine conversations to emerge addressing real challenges we all face. After all, who better to know than those living and breathing them. Wouldn't you want to learn from people whose answer to "thinking out of the box" is, "what box?"
I was especially appreciative of Echoing Green's bold move to invite alumni, and create a track for Fellows and alumni who are on their “second acts,” being a second actress myself. Sharing departure stories from the organization for which we were awarded the Echoing Green Fellowship, no matter how necessary or relieving, made for good medicine as we all were in different stages of healing. After all, the work we had done with our organizations could arguably, at least for me, be part of my epitaph. We shared hovering thoughts and celebrated our accomplishments, something you can't do with just anyone—at least if you're looking for deep understanding.
Nothing to me could be more exemplar of this bold support system than the kinship that the Class of 2007 has developed since we became Fellows. Okay, I’m biased. Our class started bonding at the finalist interviews before we were even named Fellows. We’ve organized our own retreats every year because we couldn’t bear waiting another year for the next Echoing Green Conference to be with each other. We came a day early this year to create our collective "goodbye" presentation after emailing for months generating ideas of how we could show our gratitude to Echoing Green. Throughout the years, we’ve congratulated, encouraged, guided, listened, commiserated and talked each other off roofs. We know the importance of community, because thanks to Echoing Green, we became one.
But the Class of 2007 is simply a strand of the bigger community web that Echoing Green has woven and cultivated. This conference is a testament to Echoing Green's commitment to not only nurture the incredible ideas of these social entrepreneurs, but to embrace those minds and hearts that dreamed them to be. And although 2005 Echoing Green Fellow Scott Sherman, introduced some fun tools to "create luck," I have to say, I believe I may have unknowingly uncovered the secret four years ago when I was welcomed into the extraordinary arms of Echoing Green.
-Gemma Bulos, class of 2007
Echoing Green Live
May 17, 2013 at 01:35 PM
Big Bold Benefit 2013: Celebrating Twenty-Five Years
May 20, 2013 at 12:35 PM
echoinggreen: Celebrating 25 years! We are humbled by your support & constant drive for #socialchange. Thank you! http://t.co/PlNMlLffmo #socent
May 18, 2013 at 02:33 PM
How do I apply for a grant?
May 20, 2013 at 11:48 AM