Rejoice! Then Let’s Get to Work.

Taking a break from posting about the Community-Driven Tour to just share what everyone else is feeling – such pride and excitement!

As an American and as a mom, my excitement extends beyond our having an African American president.  My joy is heightened as I picture an African American family in the White House, their kids growing up playing on the White House lawns and in those hallowed halls that have, to date, been reserved for white families only.

Imagine such a thing!  Just imagine!

It took 200 years to get here.  It took the cause and effect of change after change, ripples in the pond, building on other ripples.

It took people of all shades of skin tone fighting to end systems that were wrong, and fighting to create what was just and fair – fighting to create a world where people are not judged by the color of their skin, but indeed by the content of their character.

Today, that strength of character feels overwhelming.  Imagine such a thing!

My daughter called from in front of the White House last night.  (Lizzie is quoted near the end of this article – that’s my girl!)  She screamed into the phone, “I don’t know if you can hear me over the noise, but you cannot imagine what it feels like to be here!”

But of course I can imagine.  We have turned a corner.  My daughter’s generation is more naturally colorblind than my generation could have ever hoped to be.  They are far more accepting of differing sexuality.  Having grown up with the world at their extended fingertips – their keyboards – they are instinctively global thinkers.

We always give lip service to “children being our future.”  This generation is that and more.  It is all the result of cause and effect.  The ripples in the pond.

I am speaking in Williamsburg, Virgina this afternoon.  I will start my talk with the same message I have used to start every talk along this tour:  Creating visionary change in our communities and our world is not only possible; it is practical and doable.

Today, and for the next few days and weeks,we will bask in what is possible.  From there, though, it will be time to make things practical and doable.  This will require that we aim our work squarely at the world we want to live in, and that we align our steps in that direction – that we consciously create  the future we want for tomorrow and for the thousand tomorrows that lie ahead.

We have much work ahead of us.  It is time to get started.

Image of the Obama Family thanks to the Chicago Tribune.  Image of my daughter’s friends rejoicing, thanks to Tom Lotito (bottom left.  Lizzie is bottom center.)

3 Responses to Rejoice! Then Let’s Get to Work.

  1. Hildy…

    I can’t tell you how moving it was for me to not only watch this happen, but that also for me, that it happened while I was a guest on Florida soil.

    I find it interesting though, how much emphasis there is in the press around having an African American in the White House. While I don’t discount the significance one bit, nor the impact this will have on the mindsets of not only Americans but the whole world…

    My preference, and I will repeat that this is only my personal preference, would be to see the emphasis of our interest (and perhaps even our exploration?) shift over to shedding further light on what we know is the true, underlying reason that Obama won.

    …That reason being, his transformational leadership style. A way of thinking and being that informed the doing that he and his key team members embraced and embodied from the beginning, and that in essence from my perspective, represents all of what the Community Driven Institute and your teachings is all about.

    If anything, THAT is the change. THAT is the shift that moves us from what is possible to not only what is practical and doable but also to what now becomes, dare I say… PROBABLE?!

    It is so easy for us to view or perceive our challenges to be about the systems – about “tackling” the systems that quite honestly, were created based upon what we knew at the time (life-giving or not) and which now are being seen as “unfair” or “unjust”. I guess my motivation here, and all I want to do, is plant the seed that we need to look deeper and allow ourselves THAT conversation.

    In some ways perhaps it is too obvious; an assumption that we all just… make. I know you are not blind to it yourself, Hildy. You’ve already touched on it by mentioning the content of Obama’s character. I find myself compelled to question though, for those who are reading, do we really know what that means?

    And for those who emphatically say “Yes!” to knowing what that means, are we aware and articulate enough to share what we see so that others can learn and begin to see it for themselves? Most of all to replicate it, model it, and evolve it in their own lives for their own unique and wonderfully creative reasons?

    Hildy, I would encourage you as you are engaging others on this amazing tour of speaking and teaching, that you have the opportunity to do just that. To draw the attention of our hearts and minds, no matter where you are or with whom you are sharing, to what the “heart” both figuratively and literally, of this work is all about, and how Obama and his team are a living, breathing, current and relevant example to us all.

    This I believe, is more than just a matter of which em-PHA-sis we put on the syl-LA-ble. It is our philosophy and the foundation of the Community Driven Institute and for those of us at the helm. And it is up to us as transformational leaders ourselves, to have as many conversations as we can about it…

    …About our beliefs, our thoughts, our words, our actions, and our habits – Those pieces of the puzzle that ultimately LEAD us transformationally, to our character and our destiny.

    In Spirit,
    Tracey L. Sisson
    Belief Re-patterningTM Practitioner
    Personal Development Coach
    Facilitator in Training
    The Sequana Initiative

  2. Ah, my dear Tracey, we are always so pleased to have your refreshing wisdom by our side as we head down this path! Many abrazos to you, my friend!

  3. Thank-you for your kind words Hildy,

    I JUST received a posting from Non-Profit Quaterly’s e-newsletter today that is leaping out at me as being one which illustrates this VERY point… in particular, it truely shows how easy it is to focus on building a better mousetrap vs. the philosophy around using the moustrap at all.

    NPQ have welcomed comments, and admittedly I started to write one. And then I thought about it a little further, and I believe (and with some urgency I might add) that what needs to happen is for you as the voice of the Community Driven Institute, and in light of Polyanna and your travels these last months, that you are most appropriately the one to lend your pen to this conversation.

    …At least at first, and if others who are following your lead choose to do so, we can contribute our views after the fact. (wink!)

    The posting starts out with a letter from the Editor, Ruth Cambridge (the content posted below) and then follows with an article at

    Please accept this as a request coming in full respect for all your and Dimitri’s work and dedication toward shifting the mindset of the community benefit sector this last decade. I know you are extremely busy, so I am hoping that you will consider my request,(combined with the support of Dimitri and the rest of us on your advisory team) so that you can appropriately weigh and address the perspectives of these articles with the same grace as you did with
    a very large funding organization earlier this year… (hint, hint)

    Tracey L. Sisson


    Dear Tracey,

    For those of us who think every day about why citizen action is important to the health of our communities and our nation, Tuesday was an historic moment on any number of levels.

    For one thing, I do not remember any other U.S. election where, once the results were in, we saw masses of young people in the streets raising an extended cheer. I have to hope that a big part of who they were cheering for was their own powerful selves. It is a good thing that thousands of young people all over this country have had a vivid experience with political change in which they are the agents of that change.

    Just this, in and of itself, is a profoundly good thing for our democracy.

    There are so very many things about this election that call us to a new future but if the future is showing itself to be radically different, we must become different too — or we quickly become irrelevant — and endangered.

    So we asked Paul Schmitz from Public Allies to look at what this campaign did radically differently that might hold lessons for nonprofits. We found the resulting article thought-provoking to say the very least.

    Let us know what you think by clicking on the comments button at the end of this article and please stay tuned for the Cohen Report which will cover this story in a different but enormously interesting way.

    Your friend,
    Ruth Cambridge
    Harvard Business School