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We are literally counting down the hours until 2020 and I am leaving this final reflection as a reminder of what we have accomplished, what we have been challenged by and how we have grown.

Together, our team has found a bit of a better working rhythm. We try very hard to connect in-person or online for team meetings at least once a month. We attended our first big conference as exhibitors. I presented about The Stories of Us. We have begun forging some amazing partnerships to spread The Stories of Us across Canada for next year. We rounded out the year with brunch together. We still yearn for a day when we can see each other a bit more regularly and be able to chart out new ideas as well as work on our existing projects. We certainly dream of a day when we all work more consistent hours and grow our team effectively.

To bring all our voices into this final blog of the year, I asked our team to answer 2 questions for me.

  1. What are you most proud of?
  2. What are you hoping for in the next 5 years?

Personally, I am so proud of the way our team communicates and how we have found a way to be extremely truthful with one another even if that means we don’t always agree. I feel like we do a really good job of seeing each others perspectives and trying to find ways to respectfully weave in our differences.

This is what Blair shared:  I’m most proud of how much SoU has developed over the past year (thanks mostly to the hard work of Mathura!). It’s amazing to see what we’ve been able to accomplish with such a small team and limited budget. It really shows our agility as an organization and I hope that’s something we’re able to continue with moving forward as we grow (’cause we’re gonna grow). :blush:

This is what Mathura shared: I’m most proud of living the year, for the most part, in a way that feels in integrity with my body. By body, I mean my physical body but also the wisdom that comes through it – some know it as intuition, others as “a feeling in my gut”. This knowing has helped me push when I needed to push this year, and rest when I needed to rest. I can’t tell you which task was harder. In the moments where I acted against my intuition, I’m grateful for the second chances that allowed me to reflect, apologize, and arrive at internal alignment once again. In the context of work, it can be hard to justify decisions guided by intuition. We don’t yet live in a world where we trust intuition or completely understand how it functions. We don’t yet believe intuition to be a source of valuable data. I’m proud to work in an organization and with humans who understand this way of being and doing, often without explanation. Humans who create spaces for different ways of knowing to be treated as legitimate. Humans who show up to do the work of imagining the world as it could be, while building a bridge for others to cross over from the world as it is.

Look forward 5 years, seems like both a long time away and not long enough. It was only 5 years ago that Blair and I first started this work and it has zoomed by so quickly. For me, I am hoping the next five years bring our organization stability and adventure. I hope as a team we are able to be nimble and consistent. I think the next five years is our time to really forge this little organization into greater potential, we can build off the momentum and foundation we have so far and keep imagining new possibilities.

For Blair: I’m hoping that in 5 years we’ll have some sort of stable funding and developing more projects and expanding the team. I’d love to be able to be doing this full time by the end of 5 years and hope that we have a small but mighty team working to create some really fascinating projects that research who we are as a nation from the perspective of the youth and newcomers. I’d also like us to have stockpiled some ice cream in the fridge for all the grants / sponsorships that will roll in. :stuck_out_tongue: I’d like to see a small-mid size donor base that is committed to the work that we do as well.

For Mathura: Oof. That’s further away than I can typically envision, I’m still operating on a semesterly schedule…Five years from now, I hope to master the art of enough. The art of knowing when I’ve given, taken, earned, eaten, cared, loved, grieved, tried, asked for, said, done, [insert verb here] enough. The art of being satiated. I also hope housing costs go down in Toronto :grimacing:

Overall I think we proved what our small but mighty team can do together. We started the year with some fairly large ambitious goals and realized along the way that some of our dreams were bigger than reality right now. We applied for a 5 million dollar fund and were not successful. We thought that we would be able to take our small travel budget and stretch it to get us across Ontario but in the end, we had to re-imagine how we spread our work. We put out a call for new Board members in July with the goal of getting them in place by August, but ultimately we didn’t get back to people until November but are so excited about our 3 new board members. We rounded out the year with 3 more funding proposals submitted and now we wait.

Signing off for 2019,

Jenn

See ya next year!

Jennifer Chan

Jennifer Chan

Jenn has been working with nonprofits and communities for over 10 years guiding design thinking and strategic foresight processes. Jenn believes in facilitating conversations lead by the community to find pain points that drive and ground new ideas.

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