W3 Global Consulting

Global Development Consultant specializing in Program and Organizational Development as well as Network Expansion and Relationship Building for non-profit organizations and businesses.

The Service of Hope

 

 

“Isn’t it wonderful that nobody need to waste a single moment before starting to improve the world”

-Anne Frank

Hope is my cornerstone.

 

I am an eternal optimist. Inherited from my father, bolstered by an enduring light and cemented by trust, hope is my guidepost. When darkness threatens to overcome, and the world seems destined for disaster, I remain hopeful, in large part because of the incredible people I am honored to know.

 

I had the privilege of attending an event this week, held in a private home in Superior, Colorado entitled, Women at the Crossroads: Human Rights, Security and Climate Change. This unique and thought provoking event highlighted the work of three organizations doing work at the intersection of gender, environment and peace and security: Global Green Grants, Urgent Action Fund and Our Secure Future, a new initiative of the One Earth Future Foundation.

 

This complex nexus is getting more and more attention with research underscoring the impact of environmental degradation and disaster on security and women, specifically. Primarily responsible throughout the world for sourcing water, fuel for cooking and heating, and food for their families, women have a tremendous challenge and need to create more sustainable solutions.

 

According to UNWomenWatch[1]

 

“In many contexts, women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men-primarily as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent for their livelihood on natural resources that are threatened by climate change…Furthermore, they face social, economic and political barriers that limit their coping capacity…when coupled with unequal access to resources and to decision-making processes, limited mobility places women in rural areas in a position where they are disproportionately affected by climate change.

 

It is important to remember, however, that women are not only vulnerable to climate change but they are also effective actors or agents of change in relation to both mitigation and adaptation.”

 

While Global Green Grants, Urgent Action Fund and Our Secure Future approach this intersection differently, they each find commonality in messages from their local partners around the world. Over the past few years, all three organizations have received feedback that little progress on issues of climate change or conflict can be made without greater equality and without the engagement of women’s voices and leadership. In response to this need, they gathered at Women at the Crossroads  and have committed to collaborate to better understand the intersection of these issues and develop real, lasting solutions. A short synopsis of each:


Global Green Grants is the leading environmental fund that supports global grassroots action. We believe local people know best how to address the environmental issues impacting their own lives, so we support communities to protect, restore and transform their environments for a sustainable future.

Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights is a rapid response fund that supports women’s human rights defenders as they create a culture of justice, equality, and peace.

Our Secure Future is a new initiative of the One Earth Future Foundation, which works to strengthen the Women, Peace and Security movement for a more just, and peaceful future transformed by women’s full participation.

 

Each of these organizations is united by hope; hope in helping build a more empathetic culture, hope for their beneficiaries, hope for change and hope that their work is supporting and empowering.

 

Kate Kroeger, the Executive Director of Urgent Action Fund shared stories of grantees imbued with grit and tenacity through which she is inspired to continue the, at times toilsome, work of rapid response grant making.   

 

Ursula Miniszewski, the Program and Development Officer of Gender and Environment at Global Green Grants supports indigenous women in their work to protect land and communities from impending threats, bolstered by their strength, she holds hope that transformation is possible.

 

The Senior Advisor for Women, Peace and Security for Our Secure Future, Sahana Dharmapuri, is committed to amplifying women’s voices and creating solution-oriented frameworks. As such, she gathered ideas generated at the event to present to the US Civil Society Working Group.

 

In this particularly nuanced conversation, it gives me tremendous hope to learn about and connect with organizations on the forefront of research and practical application. Despite the challenges, the concerns for personal safety and the tumult, each of these organizations and their partners are committed to making their lives, the lives of their children and their community more secure. That is the service and the light of hope. As Desmond Tutu put it, “hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness”.

 

What is your source of hope and how does it serve you and those around you?

 

Interest in exploring these topics more deeply? Comment or message me directly. To learn more about Global Green Grants and to continue this conversation, check out an event co-hosted by Global Green Grants and The Global Fund for Women on Thursday October 6th at the Posner Center in Denver featuring Mexican indigenous rights activist, Bettina Cruz, on The Fight Against Climate Change and Land Rights in Latin America.

 

[1] http://www.un.org/womenwatch/feature/climate_change/downloads/Women_and_Climate_Change_Factsheet.pdf

Chief Servant

Hope Shines Here

What a concept. To be a beacon of hope for others is one of the most potent acts of service. Hope brings light, hope shines through the darkness and hope catalyzes community.

"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being."

- Carl Gustav Jung

Over the last several years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know the organization at the center of the Hope Shines Here mantra. Buckner International has a truly global vision of ‘maximizing resources and leadership to serve vulnerable children, seniors and families’. They work to transform the lives of vulnerable children, enrich the lives of senior adults and build strong families. Deeply rooted in Christ-centered tenets, Buckner International is defined by three organizational values:

·      Christ-like

·      Servant Spirit

·      Passion-Driven

Through foster-care and adoption, retirement services, hope centers and family pathways, Buckner International is dedicated to serving the most vulnerable from the beginning of life to the ending of life. Buckner is committed to domestic projects as well as international projects based in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Honduras, Kenya, and the Dominican Republic.

There are exceptional people working with Buckner International. I am elated that the President and CEO, Albert L. Reyes, DMin, PhD describes himself as Chief Servant. He is the sixth president to lead Buckner International since the founding in 1879. He is a member of the trustees of the Joint Council for International Children’s Services, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and the T.B. Mason Institute.

Despite his tremendously busy schedule, Albert agreed to sit down and share his thoughts on service with the W3 Blog community today:  

 

It would be impossible to count the number of times I have said or written these words: “Let me know how I can be of service to you.” What I mean is that I would really like to know how I can serve you. To be of service means to serve my neighbor. To treat other people the way I would like to be treated. It means I set aside my needs and wants and look to the interests of other people around me.

I learned this lesson early in life, as a nine year old, while working in the family businesses. We owned grocery stores, laundromats, and a candy wholesale distribution company. Our business was service in retail and wholesale markets. My mother impressed up us the value of a customer and what it meant to serve them. My parents would lecture us and teach us “if the customer is not happy, we don’t have a business.” Our goal was to be sure the customer had what they needed and more. I learned about serving in our businesses but I also learned about serving in church. My parents took us every Sunday, Wednesday, and during special events. We had service roles and assignments and we valued the idea of serving others. We were of service to members in the church and to the community at large.

My father and my older brother both served in the U.S. Marine Corps. They were in the “service.” I served in the U.S. Army Reserve under the motto “Pro Deo et Patria,” For God and Country. The calling to serve one’s country was something to be desired; that is, to lay one’s life down for God and country.

This early and life-long orientation to being “of service” has shaped most, if not all, of my vocational decisions. The concept of being “of service” to others is a basic requirement for success and an honorable experience. Bill Hybels, in his book Descending into Greatness, uses the example of Jesus of Nazareth, who descended into greatness by following the leadership of his father to serve. He, being God, came to earth in human form and became a servant, obedient to death, becoming nothing for us. Hybels says that Jesus taught “the way up is down.” This framework has led me to a number of “divine demotions” in vocational roles. Those decisions have led me to where I serve today.

While my title is President and CEO of Buckner International, I view myself as the Chief Servant. My role is to serve those on my team with guidance, counsel, direction, protection, and support so they can be successful in their assignments. I believe that if I serve my leaders well, they will, in turn serve our clients well, with excellence and passion. The greatest privilege I have is to kneel down in front of a child to wash his or her feet, to dry their feet, put brand new socks on and then brand new tennis shoes and ask for the privilege of praying a blessing over them. In the end, the one who serves tends to receive the greater blessing. At the core of Jesus’ inaugural sermon is the concept of serving others. No greater love has anyone that to lay down his life for a friend.

 

If this strikes you, please check out Albert’s book, The Jesus Agenda: Becoming an agent of redemption. You can learn about it at www.jesusagendabook.com

Thank you, Albert for your demonstration of servant leadership! I am humbled by your grace in supporting and serving those around you. I hope we can all explore the concepts of shining hope and becoming Chief Servants in our own lives, organizations and companies. 

 

Please connect with me if you are interested in learning more about Buckner International, Albert or any of the messages discussed today. You can also follow Albert on his blog BucknerPrez and on Twitter @BucknerPrez. 

Service-Listening and the Commitment of the Bold

I am so excited about today’s post! We have a guest today that I have admired for several years running, the incomparable, Neena Jain. Neena is currently the Executive Director and Co-Founder of EmBolden Alliances. EmBolden Alliances is driven to “improve the lives of vulnerable communities through collaborative partnerships that embolden the quality and impact of service”. 

Read More

Safe Places

I have experienced the need for a safe place, as I imagine all of you have. I know in my bones the profound power people can hold as safe places. What do I mean? We need them for different reasons at different times in our lives.

Read More

Gratitude and Guests

Greetings!

I hope those Americans reading were able to enjoy and celebrate the 4th of July yesterday. We have a lot to work on as a nation, but there is also a great deal for which to be grateful. I was nearly brought to tears yesterday watching a parade! A parade I have watched countless times over the years. But this year, when the veterans from World War II and the Korean War passed, filled to the brim with pride, despite the heat, I felt it. I was nearly overwhelmed by their sacrifice. I was led to question my own patriotism, would I serve my country? So many have selflessly served countries over the years. And whether you believe in war or a particular war or not...that act of service is filled with courage. So to those who have fought for freedom, thank you.  

 

Today I am thrilled to begin a guest interview series! I have been blessed to meet and know some truly rad individuals over the years. It’s exhilarating to get to highlight them here, to share the goodness and continue to learn from them. I hope this series brings joy in insight and perspective.

 

Today's inaugural guest is a man I am honored to call friend. Jamie Van Leeuwen knows a few things about service. He has a jam-packed resume, which I suggest you check out…seriously, it’s rigorous. I will share a few highlights! Jamie is incredibly engaged in the community of Denver and beyond. He serves on several boards, has received countless awards and is often asked to speak at events. Prior to his work in public service, he spearheaded development and public affairs for Urban Peak, a non-profit servicing homeless youth in Denver, after which he was appointed to lead Denver's Road Home. Jamie currently works as the Senior Advisor to Governor Hickenlooper after almost four years as Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Community Partnerships.

 

In 2009, after traveling to Uganda and Rwanda as part of the Livingston Fellowship, Jamie founded of the Global Livingston Institute. GLI is a non-governmental organization in East Africa designed to engage students and community leaders, with an aim to develop innovative solutions to poverty. Needless to say, he is high energy, hard working and committed to making an impact! 

 

I am thrilled he is willing to be my first guest! I have endless questions, but have managed to whittle them to a manageable three questions. I look forward to hearing your feedback and hope you enjoy!

 

What does 'being of service' mean to you?

 

Being of service for me has always meant serving the poor and underserved.  It has since I began my work in New Orleans with inner city heroin addicts as part of a study for the Center for Disease Control guided by my graduate work at Tulane.  Connecting young people with access to resources that that they need to be able to live life off the streets and enjoy a quality of life that includes access to food and housing and a social network, became a core value of the work that I have done over the past two decades. 

 

Over time it has manifested itself in my roles both with the public sector and internationally.  At the end of the day, service for me has meant identifying resources in the community through government and philanthropy and connecting them with those who need them the most

 

How has a desire to 'be of service' led you to where you are and/or influenced your life decisions?

 

For me, the desire to serve has influenced most of my life decisions.  My mother was a first grade teacher and my father was a social worker for 30 years.  And they were really good at what they did.  It was a core value in our family that we had an obligation to serve.  As my career developed at Urban Peak and I was invited by the Bonfils Stanton Foundation to receive an inaugural fellowship from John Livingston, my entire program focused on growing my work with the poor.  The Livingston Fellowship allowed me to expand my service outside the Denver community and it took on a more international lens as we began to develop the early phases of the Global Livingston Institute.

 

I expect that the next phase of my career will continue to focus on service.  Over time you learn a lot in terms of what works and how to deliver services more effectively and with more humanity.  You learn that service is not just about connecting people with resources but treating them with the same respect and kindness that we extend to the people in our own social circles.

 

How does the ethic of service manifested through your work at GLI or the State of Colorado?

 

Listen. Think. Act.  The ethic of service defines the GLI.  Our goal is to engage scholars in the art of understanding community and building relationships before we try to fix or change things.  Service does not mean providing charity to someone or enabling or “fixing”.  You learn when doing this work that service takes time.  There are no quick fixes here and helping folks move into housing or go back to work happens when you listen and think before you act.  Our complex social issues from education to affordable housing are solvable, but they take an enormous amount of time and resources if we want the service that we do to be lasting. 

 

Thank you, Jamie for sharing your well earned lessons! Your wisdom that change is complex and takes time is a much-needed reminder, may we all be diligent in Listening, Thinking and then Acting!

 

Please let me know if you would like to learn more about Jamie, GLI or are interested in being or nominating a guest for the series. 

Kosovo and other unraveling mysteries

Map for reference: kosovo-info.com

Map for reference: kosovo-info.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I travel to Pristina, Kosovo to attend a conference, meet new friends and learn as much I can about this beautiful, resilient and constantly evolving nation. The conference is called the International Leadership Conference. Throughout the next several days, people from around the globe will gather to share, learn and foster accountability around integrity-filled leadership. During this time I will be exploring what service leadership means to the participants and will share those insights here with you. I am honored to have the opportunity to glean wisdom from others and create a space for dialogue in which we can all grow in the process.

 

Travel days for me are days for reflection. Travel presents many unique opportunities—for observation, for quiet, for practicing patience and consideration. I’m often amazed observing how travel causes stress and uncertainty that can lead to quick tempers and boorish behaviors. However, today I was struck by compassion and empathy. Flying to Frankfurt, an elderly couple sat a row ahead and across the isle from me. The husband required a wheelchair and the wife, with pure care and love, gently tended to him the entire flight. Upon landing, two complete strangers eagerly volunteered to assist with their bags and help them towards the exit and down the stairs to the bus to the terminal. All too often, we rush past those who may need an extra hand, concerned about connecting flights, or that pressing email, or getting through customs. I know I can get airport tunnel vision and today was reminded that service can be exhibited especially in the spaces I overlook. The seemingly small act of kindness nearly brought the wife to tears. Service can be as simple as noticing those around us and extended a hand.  

 

"The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, and the fruit of service is peace." –Mother Theresa

 

 

This quote from Mother Theresa strikes me as particularly relevant today and in preparation for the week ahead. I wonder if small acts of kindness, of service are actually deep acts of faith and love that can lead to healing and towards peace. And if peace is built with bricks of kindness, can’t we all actively build a sustainable peace?

Contact Winter Wall: W3GlobalConsulting@gmail.com