Archive for category: Community

The Oshun Project – Rigorous Contribution to Haiti



At-ten-TION! For-ward MARCH! Pre-sent ARMS!

One may associate these strict military commands with the rigor you experience when you have Akeisha Johnson on your team as Team 2 Team Lead. She has her collection of all Team, Management, & Leadership Program (TMLP) design statements, Communication distinctions, and any tool you need at her fingertips ready to pass along to someone unknowingly craving for the information. She interrupts conversations, an accepted common practice from Team 2’s, to insert the integrity that’s missing. Nothing is left ambiguous with Akeisha holding us accountable.

Imagine what you can accomplish using this rigor in your life outside of Landmark. Akeisha applied her skills and tools to her Game in the World called “The Oshun Project”. The Oshun Project is a project in Haiti which empowers communities to rebuild their villages in a sustainable fashion. The first project started during her Team 1 term where she installed a water filtration system in Haiti. In partnership with Chavanes Casseus, Director of MP3K in Haiti, they provide education classes to inform the community how to best use their filtered water. Additionally, they deliver filtered water to nearby schools in the town of Rhe, Camp-Perrin.

Being unstoppable is no longer a concept for Akeisha; she experiences herself as unstoppable simply by being in action and having conversations.

I was standing in front of a group of about 100 people in rural Haiti celebrating installing a water filtration system that I caused for a community plagued with cholera and I was in tears. Realizing that I had achieved what I had envisioned 8 years prior.

When I first thought of doing projects in Haiti I was an undergrad and thought that empowering Haitians would empower me, but I had NO CLUE how I would do it. It was when I did Landmark’s SELP 6 years after I thought of the idea, that I had the blueprint for putting something together to make a difference for Haitians. In the program I identified that our work would empower communities already up to doing things. What our program would do is partner with these communities and bring sustainable resources to them. In SELP and later in team, I got coached around creating structures for what I wanted to accomplish. That’s how we installed a solar-generated filtration water system for over 15,000 people in a remote area of Haiti. Once I understood that what there was for me to do is tap into communities of people and then map a plan and take action on it, I was on my way!

Playing big games also mean we get hit with BIG breakdowns. So I ask Akeisha, “What’s the biggest breakdown you had and how did you overcome it?” Breakdowns are not experienced as breakdowns anymore for Akeisha because she’s gotten used to them and all it means is that something is missing.

Until people started dying.

During the installation of the water filtration system, it was rainy season high in the mountainous southwestern region of Haiti (specifically Rhe, Camp-Perrin). There’s a large river bed that the people in the community need to cross to access the market. The river bed overflows and they lose about 5 to 10 people every season when local Haitians cross this river bed. This was a breakdown that knocked out the rigorous, unstoppable Akeisha. She was scared and thought herself an idiot for thinking she could make a difference in a place like Haiti that had so many problems, where others have thrown their hands up and given up on. She felt responsible for the loss of these people’s lives.

Fortunately, with the skills she’s acquired through Landmark’s programs and, more importantly, her two coaches, she’s able to regain herself and get back into action. Her coach Clay Kilgore, who is also the program’s fiscal sponsor and Team SF’s former Classroom Leader, is the one who made the difference for her by reminding her of her commitment and the possibility she created. Her Team 2 coach, Elizabeth Miller, also reflected back to Akeisha her possibility and outcome. Additionally, her committed colleagues, Margaret and Bee, helped her see who she is for others.

Following this incident, she decided to expand on her project. She is now opening a market at Rhe, Camp-Perrin so the locals will have access to groceries and other necessities within their own community and taking out the necessity to cross the dreaded river bed. The market is being created as a social enterprise with the revenue going towards local school kids’ tuition.

When Akeisha first created her game, she knew it was big and didn’t think she would accomplish it. It didn’t seem real to her until she started talking to people and found team members. Akeisha and her team keep each other accountable and, a mere idea manifested into reality for herself and the families in Haiti.

The Oshun Project’s new website launches May 30th, please visit them at!

Photos supplied by Akeisha Johnson, with her commentary:

IMG01205-20140326-1146 (1)

Frantz St. Forte is the chief operator to the water filtration system and the Executive Secretary of MP3K, the organization The Oshun Project is partnered with in Haiti. He also conducts the educational classes to inform community members on best uses for the filtered water.

IMG01201-20140326-1144 2

Water to be delivered to local schools distributed by MP3K.


This building is where the local market will go. The building requires finishing (this is what we are working on completing now). A section of the building is where the filtration system is. Like a specific window in a store.  –Akeisha

(Building a local market in Haiti.)

Climb Any Mountain

Kim Crossman, Team London – T2Q2

Interviewed by Jennifer Douglass (Team PNW – T2Q1) on October 14th, 2013

What is the name of your game?

Climb Any Mountain

Tell me more about Climb Any Mountain.

We are transforming what is available for people with learning disabilities and mental illness in South Africa using global practices.

Possibility:  The possibility of being loving, generous and fun!

What gave you initiative to start this game?

My younger sister, Cara, needed to move out 2 years ago.  All that was available in South Africa was residential care that is essentially institutional.  The choice and voice that Cara had always had over her life was no longer possible.  It was heartbreaking to stand by and watch. I saw that the only way to ensure for certain that Cara, and others like her, get to live lives they choose in the absence of family being available, is to transform the conversation and services across the country.

When did you start this project?

I established the not-for-profit company, Climb Any Mountain, in August 2011 (since achieving charitable status in August 2012).  Initially I raised funds to prop up existing service offerings in South Africa – looking to provide work opportunities or creative opportunities for engagement of people with learning disability and mental illness, who were living within already established services.

It was at the end of my year on Team (One) that I got to see that this was insufficient; and I saw clearly what really needed to be done.  It both terrified and excited me. But by then (a year on Team) I had gotten to know myself as someone who could transform a country.  The moment I declared this, things really started to happen.

Tell me more about the game and what your intentions are for the future.

Climb Any Mountain has established a partner (The Pietermaritzburg Mental Health Society) who has provided land for us to build the first of its kind supported living facility for people with learning disability and mental illness in South Africa.  We’re calling this the Transitional Living Centre (TLC) and this will be a stepping stone for individuals to move out of institutional care into independent living space (1-bed, 2-bed or 4-bed apartments) where they get to master life skills through supported programmes.

Our next step is to roll out this blueprint across South Africa, with a target of 10 TLCs within the next 3 – 5 years.  We have met with the South Africa Federation for Mental Health and are in the process of securing partners within each of the 9 provinces across the country.  Key in this phase is extending our conversations with local and national government.  We want to ensure that disability grants and subsidies extend to these services so that they continue to be accessible for all.

And step 3 is developing supported housing programmes out in the community so that people can progress to living a life in and amongst the family and friends that matter to them, with the appropriate level of social services and personal support.

How do you keep things going in regards to funding?

Climb Any Mountain is run by a group of extraordinarily committed volunteers, so our overheads are low.

Some of our funds have come from individuals and small teams who have taken on climbing their own metaphorical mountain, whether it’s taking on a triathlon or marathon for the first time, walking across the UK or trekking through jungles.  This never fails to move and inspire me.

Because we need to raise a substantial amount (£1million) for the first TLC we’ve had to look beyond this for this type of funding and it has been serendipitous the people we have met along the way.  To date we have £600k pledged.

In addition, we are holding our inaugural annual Gala Dinner and Auction fundraiser on the 25th October this year, aligned with World Mental Health Day which was on the 10th October.

We’re at an exciting growth point where we need to start to look now at structuring our organisation and our funding for the longer term.  This will involve more engagement with companies for Corporate Social Responsibility, and with Foundation Trusts and Philanthropists.

How did you use what you learned in the Team, Management and Leadership Program to contribute to your life?

Before the Team Management and Leadership Program I used to work 14 – 16 hours days and almost every weekend.  I travelled constantly – flying from one end of the earth to the other for work assignments.  I wasn’t in a relationship, even though I really wanted to be.  I had so much I wanted to do outside of just working, but my conversation was that I didn’t have the time to do it all.

Since doing the Team Management and Leadership Programme, I have been promoted 3 times in my workplace and doing a much bigger job that spans our global operations. The difference is that I now work 9 to 5 and never work on weekends.  I have taken part in two triathlons and have vitality again. I am engaged to be married to my dream man (yes, he does exist!). And I have created a thriving charity that is transforming a country.

For me, my life is now living proof of the promise that at the end of team you will naturally go to cause teams and teamwork in everything that you do, and that you will do this with freedom and ease and having love and affinity present.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about the Team, Management, and Leadership Program or Landmark?

I am so grateful for having being introduced to Landmark.  My life was not going to turn out the way it has, not that there was anything wrong, but I just wasn’t present to that it is possible to create your life the way you want.  Life as a result has been so much more fun, and there has been so much less suffering!

The Team Management and Leadership Program is the most rigorous, on-the-court training I have ever had.  I spent a lot of money and time on an MBA degree several years ago.  While it was a fabulous degree to do and certainly leveraged my career and knowledge base, it does not compare in terms of what the Team, Management and Leadership Programme has given me regarding the practical capability to manage, lead and cause teams to deliver results effectively.

Good to Green – Healthy People, Happy Planet

Read this article in Spanish.

Good to Green is a holistic membership rewards shopping site which features environmentally and socially responsible companies. Consumers come to to learn more about companies that have made a commitment to reducing their carbon footprint and creating healthier products. If a customer chooses to purchase something, they receive a cashback reward, which can be cashed out or donated to an environmental cause. The possibility of Good to Green is Healthy People, Happy Planet. The outcome is the reversal of Global Warming.

It is important for consumers to recycle, compost, ride our bikes, etc., but these actions alone are not enough to shift the climate scoreboard. Green shopping may sound like an unlikely catalyst, yet it is incredible vehicle to shift our current climate crisis. Why? Consider the current reality of manufactured goods today:

  • Most consumer goods use 10-100 times the raw materials associated with the end product.
  • For every 1 pound of consumer waste there is an average 65 pounds of waste generated upstream.Source: Joel Makower

Good to Green exists to reduce the wasteful misuse of the Earth’s raw materials and the toxic by-products associated with many manufacturing practices.

It all started when…

Good to Green was born when Founder Sonja Price became fed up with her own guilt-ridden shopping excursions. She was tired of not knowing where and how many of our household items were made. She did some research and identified that shopping is America’s #1 past-time (2nd is watching TV, which is filled with many advertisements about what to buy when you do go shopping).

She found that many companies are starting to make positive changes, but most are still hesitant to commit resources to sustainable initiatives, and many have expressed concern the market is not yet ready to invest in eco-friendly products. Good to Green conducted some preliminary market research and found that 52% of consumers indicate it is difficult to find values-based data that would impact their purchasing decisions.

So it’s a chicken vs. the egg scenario. Which one comes first? Both. Good to Green believes that as consumers have access to the data that will better inform their green shopping decisions, their purchasing power will signal companies to respond to the market need.

Good to Green has invested numerous resources to provide that valuable research on what companies are doing to create a greener planet. They apply an Appreciative-based approach by placing more emphasis on what is working. They promote and reward companies who are doing good (vs. pointing blame at the companies who just haven’t joined the conversation yet). Good to Green asserts that if consumers build the need, the majority of manufacturing companies will eventually join in this movement.

The Good to Green team is also involved in many political actions to help introduce a carbon tax which will impose standards and enforce the largest offenders to pay taxes on greenhouse gas emissions. While we are waiting for government policy to be officially introduced and to take effect, Good to Green aims to reward the market leaders by promoting a plethora of earth friendly products including green cleaning supplies, eco-friendly clothing, travel accommodations and many more.

The 5 Year Plan

Good to Green will eventually begin consulting with businesses to help create and implement Sustainable Strategies which will encompass Manufacturing Process Improvements, Employee & Customer Engagement, and Change Management tactics. The ultimate goal is to aid companies in revitalizing their product offerings that will create a healthy future for the world and all of it’s creatures.

The Power of TMLP

Sonja joined the Team, Management and Leadership Program in August 2012 to provide structure and a support system to get Good to Green off the ground. As Sonja shared “TMLP has kept me present to an empowering context and has helped keep this game on track to winning in the marketplace. There is no possible way I could have launched this company on my own. I used to be a lone wolf, but because of this program I am continuously enrolling more people to join this project. We are having so much fun and I am grateful to TMLP for helping me understand the benefits of shedding my ego and allowing other people to contribute to this very important movement!”

“Our customers are just as much a part of our team as staff members. Every customer is invited to participate in our Advisory Committee. We understand that if we are to transform ‘Climate Crisis’ into ‘Climate Clarity’ it is going to take each and every one of us to create the change we wish to see in the world.”

You may remember hearing about this game under a previous name. This TMLP Game in the World, previously known as ‘Green To Your Mother Earth,’ was featured at the November 2012 Orlando weekend.

A “Reasonable/Unreasonable” Request

Sonja requests “Every person reading this article to be conscious of where you invest your dollars. Take little steps everywhere and anywhere. It is possible to reverse global warming, but it will take a concentrated effort of each and every one of us working together to invest our dollars wisely in companies that are doing good in the world. Through education and action, we can all be part of the solution, rather than being blind to problem. Thank You!”

Interviewee: Sonja Price – Team Seattle
Interview by: Michelle Santucci – Team New England

Africa Redefined

Zindie Nyirenda – Team Heartland

Interviewed by Jennifer Douglass – Team Pacific Northwest – June 2013

Princess Zindaba Nyirenda known as Zindie by her friends, is originally from Zambia, Africa. She was educated in Africa and attended catholic convent boarding schools there; travelling 200 miles away from home to attain a formal high school education. She qualified and proceeded, being one of a few selected 100 girls and 900 boys from the whole country, to pursue undergraduate studies as freshmen entering the University of Zambia, the only university in her country at that time (1980).

When she first came to America in 1985, she was overwhelmed by the big gap and the disparity in educational standards between the African Society and the United States. Africa it seemed to her, was so far, far behind America, that it broke her heart. She lives in Palatine, Illinois; a northwest suburb of Chicago.  She was amazed at how many universities, community colleges, high schools, etc the city of Chicago alone has in comparison to her entire homeland.

She remembers clearly, when twenty years ago, her daughter Charlotte’s 1st grade class in Elk Grove Village, Illinois were the first students to be introduced to desktop computers. All suburban schools that I know about have computers in their classrooms. To this day, in my African village, school children have never seen a computer; they lack the basics of even a simple colored crayon!

Princess Zindaba realized that the African Societies may never catch up to American standards. However, she still saw that she could create a new beginning and do something to make a difference. She established the non-profit organization Light On the Hill for Africa ( to do so.

Zindie did the Landmark Forum in 2005.  From that weekend led by Jerry Baden, she wrote her manuscript for “Ta Lakata…The Tears of Africa”. Her first book was soon published in 2009, after completing the Introduction Leadership Program led by Angie Mattingly and Cookie Breaudeaux.

She then returned to do her graduate studies at Roosevelt University, while doing the Self Expression Leadership Program led by Joe Pugiano. During that course, she developed the ” Sister- Schools Link Up Project”, which she designed further for her Master’s thesis. Her inquiry was how to eradicate illiteracy in Africa and end poverty through education. She created linking up schools in the United States with schools in Africa; utilizing the e-learning technology that can educate the world virtually – she thought was a thrilling possibility!

In June of 2012, she joined the Team, Management, and Leadership Program, and brought up the Sister Schools Link Up Project – “Operation Container Shipment” as her Game In The World. She wanted to attain skills, tools and techniques in creating teams and teamwork to support her non- profit organization connect schools between the continents and  send computers and school supplies to Zambia, Africa.

The possibility of the game she created is Compassion, Excellence and Contribution.  She wanted to attain the skills of masterful listening, recreating  teams and embracing a deep love of people. She was enrolled in the possibility of creating the transformation of Africa and life itself where “all” people got a chance of “Life before Death”;  living a life that they love and loving the life they lived.

The Intended  Outcome was to improve the quality of life through education, where everyone is empowered through education to rise out of poverty with Freedom, Choice and Joy!

CONCLUSION: The Distinction-“Causing multiple Outcomes from a Single Conversation”

The outcome of the game  has been met and beyond her wildest imagination: “To experience the distinction of Causing Multiple Outcomes from a Single Conversation has blown my mind away”, she says.

The University of Zambia is now linked to The William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. The students in Africa participating in the program are widows, the forgotten majority of 99% of high school graduates who never had a chance before to enter and study at the University of Zambia and never attained business skills, but with Harper College partnerships,  will do so NOW!

There is an Agreement of Joint-Instructional Systems for classroom curriculum planning and design. Distance learning online classrooms will run synchronously, asynchronously,  and in real-time utilizing blackboard, Skype and web-conferencing joint discussions and chat sessions starting this fall 2013.

What is so cool is that as an icebreaker, students, “all” get acquainted and read an authentic African write’rs perspective from Zindie’s book, “Ta  Lakata… The Tears Of Africa!”

Furthermore, desk-top computers, crates of textbooks and school supplies from 3 different school districts in Schaumburg and Arlington Heights, Illinois will be sent to the poorest and most neglected African Village Schools participating  in the program ie: Chief Mphamba Basic Elementary School, Mapiri Primary School and Lundazi Township Primary School in Lundazi and  Sishemo Educational Trust in Libala, Lusaka.  Children helping children, beyond the continental divides, acting local, going global in attaining a global mindset, making a difference globally! Team rocks!

Zindie has been the cause for multiple outcomes, by her actions and not only has she transformed the country of Zambia but she has transformed her own life,  as well!  Africa is no longer defined by poverty, Africa is now defined by the possibility Zindie has created by the actions taken from participating in the TMLP; creating teams and teamwork in any situation and causing her word to create her world.

Beauty is a Possibility


Beauty is a possibility

Ashley Kuich, Team Los Angeles, T1Q3

Interviewed by Pamela Heath (Team LA – T2Q3) on May 12th, 2013

What is the Name of your Game?

The Beauty Conversation.

What is the Possibility of your Game?

Being Authentic, Inspiring and Empowering

Tell Me More About


The Beauty Conversation is a series of online interviews with women speaking about beauty and about themselves and their own self-worth.  These women share their concept and relationship to beauty and allow us (the audience) to listen in as they distinguish their thoughts about what beauty is and whether they accept themselves as beautiful.  As long as I can remember, I just had a series of questions that I had in my own head about myself and always wondered if other women had the same questions.  Working in the beauty industry I noticed that women are not very happy about their appearance and that even the men are not very happy about their appearance.  Women spend a lot of time trying to convince folks that they are beautiful, yet not really truly convinced that they are beautiful.  I realized that we can be accepting of ourselves AND of other women by inquiring into what it means to be beautiful.  I guess I look at it as something that starts very young.  People tell me they were worried about their looks in the fourth grade!  I want to give women a chance to hear other women say how they feel about ‘beauty.’  How they have dealt with and actually overcome the conversations regarding beauty over the years.  What I intend is that young women can grow up without questioning themselves so much.  That they can grow up in a world understanding that beauty looks a lot of different ways.  I’m committed to impacting the conversation that women have about beauty.

What was your initiative to start?

There were many things I wanted to accomplish when I started Team but I work in the beauty industry and when I joined Team I saw what my commitment to women really was.  Team gave me the access to get clear about what my project or game was and how to go about getting down to it.  I have ALWAYS known I wanted to make this difference in life.  My resources were exactly the same and everything was in place but my structures became solid on Team.  Creating a team and getting started became easy.  I have shot a number of interviews already and we are on target to shoot and edit and have these videos available to view.  This conversation of beauty will rock our conception of what it beauty really is.  It is an intriguing conversation and engaging to watch and participate in.  Many of my subjects report that the questions I ask put them in an inquiry where they are able to distinguish what decisions they made in life about whether they are beautiful or not.  I am moved to hear the feedback and reaction to The Beauty Conversation and the effect it has not just on the women who are interviewed, but the participants who watch the videos.

When did you start?

It came to me over a year ago.  I started the project after I joined the Team Management & Leadership Program.  It was just an idea before that.  So that would be August 2012.

How did you use what you learned in the Team, Management and Leadership Program to contribute to your life?

I would say team is almost everywhere in my life now. It seems like it is becoming second nature to create teams now. Whether with my friends, family or at work ¬– being the source of teamwork makes life is so much easier.  And it’s a lot more fun to play with a team than taking the lone wolf route!

What are your intentions for the future?

The game started as something that I intended would live on the internet.  The interviews provide questions that have the participants actually grapple with the conversation of what it is to be beautiful.  The project has grown with every person I have shared it with, in ways that I did not foresee.  I now have a producer on board who sees the possibility of me traveling the country giving lectures.  It is becoming a much bigger project than I ever anticipated.  With every step that I take to fulfill on what I started to do, I start to see what is available for women globally.  It has turned what was initially a project just for me into a MOVEMENT.

Have You Got Anything Else To Share Regarding The Beauty Conversation?

The flood gates have opened and people have been unbelievably generous and it has been so much fun to be a part of.  The sky is the limit and I can’t wait to do more interviews!

The Remarkable Love Letters

The Remarkable Love Letters by James Wong

Love doesn’t have to be epic. I know this, because I’ve tried. In the past, I didn’t do anything unless it was something worth talking about, so cute, or absolutely brilliant. You know what eventually happened? I ended up not doing anything at all. I showed up careless, thoughtless, and too independent.

When I pushed myself to do one small thing every day though, I found the most mundane things I did touched my loved ones the most. I think it’s because I’m just being human everyday. I don’t have to be epic. Being human everyday is epic enough.

My name is James, I’m 19 years old, and I’m a professional writer. If had to explain what I write about in what statement, I’d say, I help you fall in love with yourself and others. How did I get into this work? It all started when I realized in the Communication: Access to Power that love doesn’t have to be epic. I wanted to share that with the world. So I started writing emails to 27 of my friends and family. As I got feedback that my email letters were making a difference, I wanted to expand and reach more people. The only problem was I was an individual artist, I didn’t know how to get the word out, and I played by myself.

A month later, I joined the Team, Management, and Leadership Program and made writing these emails my team game in the world. The game was to have 500 readers subscribed by the end of the quarter. Weeks went by and I kept missing my milestones, I kept coming in ineffective because I was doing it alone. Fed up and resigned, I spoke with my coach and he mentioned something that I never thought was possible. He said,

“Did you know your readers are a part of your team?”

Bam. I popped. I screamed. I ran to my computer and began concocting a letter that would touch, move, and inspire my readers to partner with me in sharing my letters. Inspired by the simple idea that being human everyday is epic enough, we began sharing and forwarding my letters around the world. By the end of the quarter, we hit a home run past our milestone and reached +650 subscribers. Today we now have +1000.

The Remarkable Love Letters and my readers will travel with me as I travel through life. This whole experience taught me something I’ll hold dearly forever: playing alone is endless, having a community to play with is priceless.

If you’re interested in checking out the Remarkable Love Letters and joining our community, visit


“I want nothing from you except for you to know that you are someone who has impacted me and thank you for your expression. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” –Carole Asswad, certified massage therapist.

“Wow! Very profound and the timing couldn’t be more appropriate for me. Thank you, wise one!” –Cerraeh Laykin, professional photographer,

“Freaking awesome. I love it. Nailed it. Naked. Honest.” –Scott Blevins, product designer,

“Wow! I just have to say. James I have no IDEA what planet you’re from but you are incredible!!! Way beyond your years!!! Thank you for your letters!!” –Jino Cabrera, Keller William’s office leader, Los Feliz

Las Cartas Extraordinarias de Amor

Las Cartas Extraordinarias de Amor de James Wong

El amor no tiene que ser épico. Lo sé, porque lo he intentado. En el pasado, yo no hubiera hecho nada a menos que fuera algo que valiera la pena, tan lindo o absolutamente genial. ¿Sabes lo que finalmente sucedió? Terminaba haciendo absolutamente nada. Mostraba ser descuidado, desconsiderado y demasiado independiente.

Cuando cada día me proponía hacer un cosa pequeña, encontraba que las cosas más mundanas que hacia inspiraba a mis seres queridos. Creo que esto se debia a que era humano cada día. No tenía que ser épico. El ser humano cada día era suficientemente épico.

Mi nombre es James, tengo 19 años de edad y soy un escritor profesional. Si tuviera que explicar lo que escribo diría, les ayudo a enamorarse con si mismo y con otros. ¿Cómo llegue a este trabajo? Todo comenzó cuando me di cuenta en el curso de Comunicación: Access to Power, que el amor no tiene que ser épico. Yo quería compartirlo con todo el mundo. Así que empece a escribir correos electrónicos a 27 de mis amigos y familiares.

A medida que recibía comentarios sobre la diferencia que mis cartas por correo electrónico hacian, quería expandir y llegar a más gente. El único problema era que yo era un artista individual, yo no sabia como comunicar la palabra, y seguía solo en el “juego”.

Un mes después, me uní al Programa de Equipo y de Liderazgo (TMLP) e hice escribir estos mensajes vía correo electrónico mi “juego” para el mundo (GITW). El juego era tener 500 lectores suscritos para finales del trimestre. Pasaban las semanas y seguía sin logar mis metas. Era ineficaz porque lo hacia solo. Harto y renunciado, hable con mi entrenador y el mencionó algo que nunca pensé posible. Me dijo:

¿Sabias que tus lectores son parte del equipo?

¡Caray! ¡Se me prendió el foco! ¡Grite! Corrí hacia me computadora y comencé a urdir una carta que tocara, moviera, e inspirara a mis lectores para asociarse conmigo en compartir mis cartas. Inspirado por la simple idea de ser humana cada día era suficientemente épico, y empezamos a compartir mis cartas alrededor del mundo. Al final del trimestre llegamos a sobrepasar nuestra meta y logramos obtener 650 suscriptores. Hoy en día tenemos mas de mil.

Las Cartas Extraordinarias de Amor y mis lectores viajaran conmigo en mis viajes por la vida. Toda esta experiencia me ha enseñado algo que llevaré siempre conmigo, “jugando solo es interminable”, “tener una comunidad para jugar no tiene precio”.

Si estás interesado en leer las Cartas Extraordinarias de Amor y unirte a nuestra comunidad, visita


“No quiero nada de usted excepto que usted sepa que es alguien que me ha impactado, y gracias por su expresión. Gracias desde el fondo de mi corazón.”
–Carole Assward, terapeuta certificada en masajes .

“¡Caray! Muy profundo y el momento no podría ser más apropiado para mí. Gracias sabio!”—Cerraeh Laykin, fotógrafo profesional,

“¡Impresionante! Me encanto. Derecho, sin censor y honesto.” –Scott Blevins, diseñador de producto,

“¡Caray! Sólo tengo que decir. James no tengo ni idea de qué planeta vienes pero eres increíble. Mucho más allá de sus años, Muchas gracias por sus cartas!!” –Jino Cabrera, líder de oficina de Keller Williams


Operating from My Own Agenda

Written by Tammy Stanley

Most adults know what it means to have an agenda, and it is not uncommon for us to talk about others who have one. However, at my first Team Management and Leadership Program weekend in November I was introduced to a slightly different concept, namely, operating from my own agenda. As I had never considered this concept, I quickly assumed it probably did not apply to me. Yes, yes – I suspect that you immediately see the inauthenticity of that thought!

When I awoke on Saturday morning I felt incredibly excited to get started and attend the session in the big ballroom, until I was stopped at the ballroom doors and was asked to leave my cup of tea outside. The opportunity was right there for me to see how my disappointment and frustration all resulted from operating from my own agenda, but I missed the opportunity in that moment because I knew the hotel would allow me to drink my tea in the room as long as I had purchased it at the hotel. This was not about me operating from my own agenda; I had a “good reason” to be upset!

During the lunch break on Sunday our team had much to accomplish, and when I arrived in our meeting room I learned that we were going to accomplish those things before having someone go and retrieve the food we had ordered. To say that I felt unhappy about that would be a gross understatement. After our team reached a point of completion, I muttered, “All right, can we eat now?” Yes, I withheld that comment from the rest of my team because I did not want to discuss another thought or emotion that would delay lunchtime any longer! Hmm… I wonder if I could have been operating from my own agenda! Do I need to mention that I told myself that I was not because I had a good reason – I was hungry!

When I returned home after that first weekend, I experienced a couple of breakdowns in communication, and more specifically around requests from my team. For example, a request came by email to get our Game in the World to our committed colleagues and to our coach by a specific time and date. I got mixed up about the correct time and date. I told myself that could easily happen to first quarter on Team participant. However, when I finally chose to look at what was so, as opposed to my story and my reasons, I saw that operating from my own agenda was what had gotten in the way – when the email request came through, I was busy with a writing project and chose to put that request into existence later. That “later” never happened, but I was not concerned because I have a great memory. I invite you to consider that my great memory is really great at remembering requests in terms of how they work best for my schedule, and therefore my own agenda!

When I finally became present to the way in which I was operating, a whole new possibility opened up for me – the possibility to set my own agenda aside and to fully commit myself to being the distinction Team! A delightful situation arose – space and room showed up in my schedule. I suddenly found myself seizing opportunities to reach out to people and make a difference where before I felt certain I did not have the time. Opportunities showed up as opportunities as opposed to “One more thing I have to do.” I felt relaxed about taking on accountabilities because the conversation that I did not have time for such things in my schedule was no longer the conversation in which I was engaged.

I not only experienced freedom in this new way of being, but I also experienced the real difference I began to make for others by taking on requests without hesitation and offering support where before it occurred as though I was too busy. But the most amazing transformation took place quite unexpectedly. For years I had wanted my daughter-in-law feel completely free to talk to me and be with me like one of my own daughters, but no matter how many times I authentically shared my inauthentic ways of being, I felt as though something remained in the way. Indeed there was something in the way – my own agenda! I never realized how my generosity was always inside my own agenda. Once my own agenda was out of the way, my daughter-in-law had no trouble expressing deep gratitude for who I am for her, and in a moment our relationship transformed – love and affinity fully present!

How wondrous that there is no room for your own agenda in the distinction Team!  By releasing your own agenda to express Team, a whole new world of possibility and opportunity presents itself.

Operando desde mi propia agenda

Escrito por Tammy Stanley

La mayoría de los adultos sabemos de lo que significa tener una agenda en nuestras conversaciones, y no es raro de que hablemos de que otras personas la tienen. Sin embargo, en mi primer fin de semana en el Programa de Equipos de Gestión y Liderazgo (TMLP) en Noviembre, fui introducida a un concepto ligeramente diferente, de que yo funciono desde mi propia agenda. Ya que como nunca había considerado este concepto, rápidamente asumí que probablemente no se aplicaba a mí misma. Sí, sí – Me imagino de que puedes ver la falta de autenticidad en este pensamiento!

Cuando me desperté en la mañana del sábado me sentía muy emocionada de empezar y asistir a la primera sesión en la gran sala de reuniones, hasta que me detuvieron en la puerta de entrada; me pidieron que dejase mi taza de té afuera. La oportunidad estuvo exactamente allí para que yo pudiera ver de cómo mi decepción y frustración eran resultado de operar desde mi propia agenda, pero en ese momento perdí la oportunidad de verlo, ya que yo sabía que el hotel si me permitía tomar el té en el salón siempre y cuando lo hubiese comprado en el hotel. Después de todo, esto ya no era que estuviese operando desde mi propia agenda, yo tenía una “buena razón” para estar molesta!
Durante la pausa del almuerzo del domingo, nuestro equipo (team) tenía muchas cosas que hacer y completar, y cuando llegué a nuestra sala de reuniones y me enteré de que íbamos a lograr todas esas cosas antes de que alguien fuera a recoger la comida que ya habíamos ordenado. Decir que me sentía infeliz por eso sería una subestimación muy grande. Cuando finalmente nuestro equipo llegó a completar todas las cosas que tenia que hacer, murmure: “muy bien, ¿podemos comer ahora?” Sí, retuve ese comentario de el resto de mi equipo, porque ya no quería hablar de otro pensamiento o emoción que retrasara la hora de comer por más tiempo! Hmm… Me pregunto, ¿Pudiera haber estado yo operando desde mi propia agenda? Necesito mencionar que me dije a mí misma que no lo era así porque yo tenía una buena razón – tenía hambre!

Cuando regrese a casa después del primer fin de semana, tuve un par de crisis en mi comunicación, específicamente alrededor de las peticiones de mi equipo. Por ejemplo, una petición que llegó por correo electrónico fue la de mandar nuestro proyecto juego en el mundo (GITW) a nuestros colegas comprometidos y a nuestro entrenador para una fecha y tiempo específico. Me confundí sobre la hora y fecha correctas. Me dije a mi misma que fácilmente podía justificarse eso en el primer trimestre del participante. Sin embargo, cuando finalmente opte por mirar lo que realmente era, a diferencia de mis historias y razones, vi que operar desde mi propia agenda era lo que me había estado frenando en mi camino – que cuando la petición llegó a través del correo electrónico, yo estaba muy ocupada con un proyecto de escritura y que decidí poner esa petición en existencia para otro momento. Ese “después” nunca sucedió, pero decidí que yo no estaba preocupada porque “tengo muy buena memoria”. Los invito a considerar de cómo mi gran memoria es muy buena para recordar las peticiones en términos de la forma en que funcionan mejor para mis horarios, y por lo tanto para mi propia agenda!
Cuando finalmente estuve presente a la manera en la que yo estaba operando, toda una nueva posibilidad se abrió para mí – la posibilidad de poner a un lado mi propia agenda y comprometerme completamente a ser la distinción Equipo! Surgió una situación encantadora – espacio y tiempo se presentó en mis horarios. De repente me encontré aprovechando las oportunidades para llegar a la gente y hacer una diferencia, en lo que antes yo estaba segura de que no tenía tiempo. Las oportunidades se presentaron como oportunidades en lugar de cómo “una cosa más que tengo que hacer.” Me sentí relajada acerca de tomar responsabilidades porque las conversaciones que yo no tenía tiempo para esas cosas en mi agenda ya no eran conversaciones en las que yo estaba envuelta.

No sólo experimente libertad en esta nueva forma de ser, sino también experimente la diferencia real que comencé a tener en los demás, al aceptar pedidos sin dudas y ofreciendo apoyo, donde antes me ocurrían como si yo estuviese demasiada ocupada. Pero la transformación más asombrosa se dio en una forma bastante inesperada. Durante años he querido que mi nuera se sintiese totalmente libre para hablar y estar conmigo como una de mis hijas, pero no importaba de cuántas veces auténticamente compartí mi falta de autenticidad de ser, sentía como que si algo estaba en el camino entre nosotras. En realidad, si, algo había en el camino – mi propia agenda! Nunca me di cuenta de cómo mi generosidad fue siempre dentro de mi propia agenda. Una vez que elegí que mi propia agenda estuviera fuera de nuestro camino, mi nuera no tuvo problemas para expresar su profunda gratitud para quien yo soy para ella, y en un instante nuestra relación se transformo – el amor y la afinidad se hicieron plenamente presentes!

Qué maravilloso que es el poder lograr de que no haya espacio para nuestra propia agenda en la distinción Equipo! Al liberar nuestra propia agenda para expresar Equipo, se presenta un nuevo mundo de posibilidades y oportunidades!

Green Worker Cooperatives as a Business Model

Tell me about the Green Worker Cooperatives.

The Green Worker Cooperatives are a non-profit organization that I founded in 2003 . It’s based in the Bronx, and our focus is to develop a strong local

justice. We are out to support and create businesses that empower  their  workers  to improve their health and quality of life in the Bronx. We do that exclusively through worker owned green businesses, known as worker cooperatives.

Cooperatives are any business owned collectively by its customers. In the case of worker cooperatives it’s any business owned by its workers. With the workers making the decisions, it’s all about seeking alignment. The team has to be aligned on the future of the business and the direction of the company.

 Profits made by the business stay in the community longer because the workers/owners are local to the community, spend their money there, and offer jobs to other members of the community. The other aspect of our work is making sure that the businesses are environmentally friendly. We specialize in transforming people’s ideas for improving environ-mental conditions into reality. We walk them through the specific ways their businesses can have a positive impact on both the environment and the community.

 How did you use what you learned in the Team, Management and Leadership Program?

I had been looking for something like the Team program for years.

 The 2 years before joining team were the most difficult. I had started a cooperative that was my brainchild, I had done the business planning, raised almost $1,000,000, and formed a team of people to run it. It lasted about 2 years, while suffering the whole time. It wasn’t making the sales it needed to and in 2010 we closed the business. It was really an emotionally hard time for me.

 When I took the Communication Curriculum and then joined Team, I found what was missing.  I wasn’t being accountable, holding others to account, and operating with integrity to make things happen. I’ve always been good at enrolling people initially and getting their support, but I was never really able to make it last.

 Being on Team this past year has been amazing in what I’ve seen for myself and how I ran my business. I had been around the country talking about these cooperatives, but I didn’t really have a functioning team myself! I was completely out of integrity that whole time.

 I had a group of people who were really dedicated but I wasn’t holding them to account for the work that they were doing. I was more concerned about being nice to the extent that I couldn’t hold myself and others to account or really honor my word.

 I got the structure and the distinctions of Team to apply. Since then I’ve been able to build a much wider base of support. Before, it was just myself and 2 other people putting on the 16-week course. Now there are 3 different universities that supply classroom space and 2 colleges supplying students for researchers and support as graphic artists.

What kind of businesses are involved in this cooperative?

I started a training program called the Coop Academy. This has been my project on Team for the past year. We’ve been developing programs for participants to become leaders and to start up their own cooperatives. In order to go through it, they must have a team of at least 3 people. They start up the business and we work with them over the course of 4 months. They take courses together as a team and we supply them with support including lawyers, graphic designers, and web designers. The goal is to be able to launch their business by the end of the 4-month period.

 You were mentioning before about how you came up with this project…

 I had worked with several non-profit environmental organizations that were based in the Bronx and in other parts of the City. I spent a lot of time fighting against companies, the City and the State, challenging them on their plans to let dirty companies in our communities.

 The idea for the Green Worker Cooperatives came out of a realization that there had to be some way of creating an economy run by those affected by it. One directly in our community, creating an economy that is local, able to empower people in their work place, and operates in a way that sustains life instead of harming life. That is what I was out to cause, and that’s what we are still creating.

How do you create jobs within clean companies? How does it work?

 People come to us with an idea, saying “I want to start a business with my friends.” For example a woman who went through the Academy wanted to start a catering business that provided healthy food in the community. So that’s the business she started, a family business that has now become a cooperative. They cater events throughout the City and in the Bronx and they use locally grown food. They are really conscious of waste, not wasting, and using biodegradable products, things like that. Basically being conscious of what goes into their food, avoiding fat and things that can be harmful for you and the environment.

There are two things that we specialize in – being green and being cooperative. When it comes to being green, to being environmentally friendly, we work with the entrepreneurs to make sure that they look at every piece of their business and figure out things that they can do that will reduce the impact on the planet and the community. The other part of it is that we specialize in operating cooperatively, as a team.

We have lots of classes and workshops on how to work together, really looking at communication, how they are communicating with each other and with the people in their lives. Essentially looking at working together effectively in the same context as what we do on Team. Having them be there and supporting each other in what they are out to create. Doing it in a way that they have structures in place for all aspects, and people are accountable with those structures so things don’t fall through the cracks. As a result there are not unmet expectations for people to get frustrated about. We also partner with other organizations to provide training in the more traditional business fundamentals of sales, marketing and finance.

Does  the  government  fund  this program or is it self-funded? Do the people who take your classes have to pay for the courses?

We get funding from private foundations and individual donations. The people do have to pay and the registration fee that we charge is $500 per person. We require that each team fund-raise for the money and we ask them not to pay out of their pocket up front, but that their first assignment is to fund-raise so that each member of the team can go through the course.

Is this the only Coop organization in the United States?

No, but the worker-owned sector is extremely small in the US. It is estimated that there are only 400 businesses that are structured this way, where the workers own the business entirely. In the non-profit world, there are only a handful of such non-profits in the US. Green Coop is one of those that are dedicated to the creation of worker-owned cooperatives. So we are at the forefront of creating this new sector in the economy.

We provide training for entrepreneurs, but the distinction is that they are working as a cooperative, a Team. There are lots of opportunities to train people to be sole entrepreneurs of a business as an individual, but there is practically nothing out there for people to start a cooperative organization. 

So where do you see this Green Coop in 5 years?

In five years I see our work extending beyond the Bronx. In five years the Bronx will become one of the largest centers of worker-owned businesses in the country. The program we have created, the Coop Academy, will be replicated in other cities around the US .

Five years from now the concept of worker-owned businesses will not be something alien. It will be some-  thing  that  is  commonly  understood as another way of doing business and will become an option for many people as a result of the work we are doing.

Let’s say I want to start a company and I want to use Green Worker Coop model living in California. What would you recommend for me to learn to start a company using your model, and how does that relate to what you learned on Team?

Number one is to seek out resources that are local to you and other cooperatives support organizations. In the Bay Area there are actually a few worker-owned cooperatives.

If there is a team of people, have a conversation with them and have them lay out what it is that they want to accomplish, as a team, for the business and community. Create a plan of how they are going to do it, how to divide up the work, and      have a number of conversations about how they are going to approach decision-making and division of profits. Those are the big things to consider. For the day to day, the distinctions we make on Team are what make any business work. They are even more important in a worker cooperative because workers are coming together as people who are invested in having a say.

In TMLP, the way people listen to us and we listen to others is very important, the same exists in a worker cooperative. You own the business with a team of people, so your team members, your cooperative members are not there strictly to get a check and leave. They have an interest in the business and they see each other as sharing common interests in the business. This is very different from just being an employee.

What’s the difference between a team and a group?

In a team there is direction, and there is  movement  in  one  direction.  That’s a difference I see between a team and a group. I’ve been involved in many groups, and there are occasional moments when team was present, but there was not always movement in a cohesive direction, that’s the difference. Before being in the TMLP, I was more concerned about looking good, than actually being in communication and getting things done.

Is there something you’d like to share about your experience on Team?

I joined Team because I really wanted to create teams in my life. I wanted to be able to create something and form a team of people to make it happen. Through the TMLP I got that, in new ways that I hadn’t gotten it before. I got what it means to be accountable, to hold people to account, and to be my word.

Greenworker Coops:

Interview by Kimchi Chow, Team San Jose
Written by Jan Marijag, San Jose Alumna and Kyle Bizon, Seattle
Edited by James Marchand, NY