I returned from the leadership gathering from Necker Island two weeks ago week, and I am still being carried by the events that took place on the Island.
From the content shared by the speakers to the connections made with the other leaders who attended the gathering, to the ideas that formed (one of the participants suggested that Richard Branson turn his books into children’s books and, within 3 hours, he had called his publisher, and the idea was set in motion).
The atmosphere was ripe for contribution in so many ways, and when a group of people are not afraid to give to one another, magic happens.
When a group of people are gathered for the common good, magic happens.
On the last day of the gathering, the actor Alyssa Milano spoke. Alyssa was the first public figure to tweet about the #metoo movement. One of the things I respect about Alyssa is that although the press wanted to make it look as if she had started the #metoo movement, she always gave credit to Tarana J Burke, the African American woman who started the movement many years earlier.
In the spirit of contribution, Unite – British Virgin Islands Foundation invited the Family Support Network to attend. Extending that invitation Alyssa also asked that the female Necker staff come to her talk as well. She wanted an intersectional conversation; she wanted to hear from many voices.
That day there were women from many different backgrounds, all gathered with the purpose to connect through the contribution of story and intention.
One of the women present had been in a domestically violent relationship that ended with her serving a prison sentence: she had been defending her life. Since leaving prison, she now tours around schools to share her story, to emphasise that domestic violence is not normal. She said, “I know that God made this horrible thing happen to me because he knew I would share my story. Some women are not able to use their voices. I am. I have work to do to share my story so that no one goes through what I went through. “
Sasha, the director of the Family Support Network in the BVI’s stood up to tell us about the work of that organisation.
She told us that the bulk of their work involves giving out food and clothing to women and children in dangerous situations and that the clothes and the food go very quickly. She also shared that they did not have a shelter for the women. That all they could currently offer a woman wanting to leave her situation was 5 days in a hotel for her and her children. The problem with that is that when the 5 days are over, the woman has to return back home. When she does, her partner is angry and humiliated, she has stepped back into a more volatile situation than she left. For this reason, many of the women stay at home.
It was sobering to hear the obstacles the support centre is challenged with, and it was powerful to be witness to the intention and commitment of these women to contribute to their sisters; it was tangible. They knew the work that had to do, they knew the obstacles in the way, and the staff were giving everything they had to keep these women safe.
Emma Isaacs, the global CEO and founder of business Chicks asked, “What do you need right now? What would make the biggest difference in the work you are doing?”
Sasha replied, “We need a shelter.”
Emma looked to all of us and asked “Ladies?” and in unison, we said “YES.”
There was no conferring. There was no hesitation.
We did not assume what was needed. We asked. And we were able to give.
And that ask has given our leadership gathering a commitment to building a shelter in the BVI’s for survivors of domestic violence and abuse. A memorandum was signed the day afterwards.
To be able to contribute energy and resources to an idea, to a possibility, to be able to be a part of making other people’s lives better, is the most significant gift any of us have to give.
It is not always about finances. We each have many resources: time, energy, skills, talents and material means.
Every time we share our stories; every time we see ourselves in another; everytime we use our voices, we create the opportunity for magic.
Wishing you moments of magical contribution.
NOTE: This is my final post for 2018. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your generosity and feedback over this year. I write for us all that we may all navigate our humanness together.
Wishing you a glorious holiday season and an ignited start to 2019.
I will be back with ‘weekly words’ in mid February. xxx