Seriously Joyful

Seriously Joyful

By Jodi Clark

“Children play earnestly as if it were work. But people grow up, and they work with a sorrow upon them. It’s duty.”

-Mary Oliver

How should we be behaving in beloved community? What are the practices? How do we even start the conversation? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his infamous call, inspiring so many with his vision of how to live in celebration of our diversity every day: “Our goal is to create a beloved community and his will require a qualitative change in our souls and a quantitative change in our lives.” The key, like with so many shifts in our world, is to start with ourselves.

I am a part of the faculty in the management program at Marlboro College Graduate and Professional Studies, along with Lori Hanau, who is also a co-chair of the program. The program is one of blended learning, including online studies and monthly residency weekends. The residency weekends are the one time a month in the academic trimester where the students, staff and faculty (along with occasional family and friends in the mix) convene in person. Being cognizant of building a vibrant community, both on line and in person is a core value at Marlboro. We eat our meals together. We share what is happening in the rest our lives, take short hikes on the trails, have the occasional dance party and otherwise make space for impromptu shared moments beyond our coursework.

Flash to January 2017’s opening trimester residency weekend. Our deep community time is always a priority no matter the weekend.This residency had a particular weight to it, being both the opening of the new trimester as well as coinciding with the Million Woman March on Washington. Both impromptu and designed community time was filled with space to take in both the national and local events including viewing live coverage of the march along with some members attending a local Sister March Vigil. In the middle of the Residency on Saturday, we held Community Circle in the Management program. This practice, a rarity in any academic setting, is one of our core community building practices. Imagine masters program students, staff, and faculty, guests and family including children along with the occasional and very welcome dog coming together in the middle of a rigorous academic day to taking time to share quiet meditative moments, reflections, challenges, celebrations, and generally focus on being together rather than doing together. We embody our values of seeing each other as equal learning partners in our shared humanity first and foremost. Our value of wholeness is served when we open with silence and sometimes integrate moments of play, such as an improv game. We practice our value of collective wisdom when gathering input on challenges that are offered into the group of us by any of us attending. We always share about ourselves through an opening inquiry after the silence and/or play. This time, we were sharing around the circle in response to the inquiry of: What is inspiring you to action in this new year?

I was facilitating this Circle. I am deeply honored to show up in this way for the community. It is a sacred space. It is also the practice that inspired me to join Lori in the work of shared leadership out beyond Marlboro. I do not take the responsibility lightly. Given the weight of what was already in the room, I knew that holding a strong space was key. I was open. I made certain to make gentle eye contact with everyone. I was tuning in while each member shared. Then it was my turn. I said that what was inspiring me was how my communities were generously sharing and acting together in a time filled with uncertainty. And what I am inspired to do is remind us that in the midst of intensity and our deep community work, we remember our joy.

Within moments of my reminder of lightness and joy dropping out of my mouth, Lori leaned over and proceeded to tickle me, whispering, “So be joyful! My goodness, if you could see your face!” Busted! I was so busy being strong, I completely left joy by the wayside. Not only that, joy and playfulness are things I stand for, or rather, tend to instigate and giggle along with. I had totally forgotten.

Observing myself over the following weeks, I realized that not only had I forgotten it in that moment, but I had been forgetting it elsewhere in my life. I had been saying the words, but my words and my actions were not aligned. I was forgetting my humor, my easy smile, my groan-worthy puns, my playfulness.

Laughter and joy are strong. I had gotten so caught up with getting this time and other times perfect that I was leaving out a major portion of myself. This is another key role of beloved community. We can help each other to remember and see what is best in us. Doing this with joy and laughter, we can move a step further into lifting each other up along the way.

Comedian Negin Farsad said recently in a TED Radio Hour, entitled Painfully Funny, that “the way humans get through these really terrible times is by flipping the script on themselves.” By remembering to laugh. Point taken. But how does that make a difference for a whole community? Sandi Toksvig from the same TED program reflected that, “When we laugh out loud and we realize that there are others who think the same as us, then we feel better. And maybe it encourages us to keep going and not to just sit at home and lock the door and think, I’m not coming out till this is over. . . I saw that when I was in the theater last night, and I heard 700 people all laughing together, and I thought, we don’t even know each other but we’ve been brought together by that wonderful noise.” In our beloved communities, let’s remember to make some joyful noise together.

A Beloved Community is Seriously Joyful #culture #sharedleadership #joy #wholeness @ChampionJodi Click To Tweet

Here are some simple ways to bring in joy that we practice at Marlboro that can bring some instant joy to a work day elsewhere:

  1. Be mindful of how you greet everyone. Offer gentle eye contact. An open expression. Smile when it feels authentic. Words may or may not even be needed. Rather than say “How are you?” Which can carry an unintentional expectation to respond, “I’m good, how are you?” whether we are in fact “good” or not. Smiles are authentically contagious.
  2. Start a meeting by asking: “What made you smile recently?”  The contagion of smiles around the room will light everyone up and help your meeting start off on an undeniably joyful note.
  3. Take a 5 minute dance party break. Not only is this a great little workout, you can learn more about your group very quickly, getting to know the types of music individual members love and the memories they have associated with those songs. Here is a guide on how to host and integrate them into your work day.
  4. Share a corny joke, especially one from your children or your childhood. When are we ever too old to enjoy these? Whether you are groaning together or laughing or a little of both, it provides a moment of deeper connection to your whole self. Can’t quite remember a corny joke in the moment? Here’s one from my four-year old “messy food obsessed” brain to get you started:

Knock, knock

(Who’s there?)


(Bologna who?)

Bologna all over your head!

We will share more ideas and practices during our Building Beloved Community Webinar session: Making a Joyful Noise on April 25th 11:30am-12:45pm EST

What ways do you bring joy into your workplace? Share your favorite practices and stories with us in the comment section below!

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Building Beloved Community at Work

Building Beloved Community at Work

By Lori Hanau

Recently, while listening to an interview between Krista Tippett and Vincent Harding, I felt like I was opened in a very particular way.

I literally sat straight up and became afire when I listened to Harding’s statement that we have yet to understand the spiritual nature – or deeper essence of Dr. King’s call to us to build a beloved community: “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”

Say what? Somehow, Harding’s comments had me realize with immediate clarity where I care to put a stake in the ground with my work in 2017 and beyond. The ground is love. The stake is the strength to love.

Vincent Harding went on to say that Dr. King had a vision he was inviting us into that went far beyond the call of a civil society. Certainly the times we are in are stirring up the deeper essence of our capacity to not only remember but to lead with the grand genius – with the wisdom of our humanity.

How does this pertain to our workplaces?

How can it not?

Our workplaces, where so many of us spend up to 2/3rds of our waking hours in many ways is our exercise rooms, our yoga mats, our dojos, our places of practice for how we cultivate the capacities and skills of the best of our humanity. With the people we work with. Day in and day out.

I invite you to come and learn how to build beloved community at work through the use of our Shared Leadership Framework. It is an offering to possibly take literally, and also to spark your own ways of being with these concepts and practices. Much more importantly, this is an invitation to come and co-create and participate together in a container and in ways that may delight us and open us, beyond our current imagination, in service to our humanity in the workplace and in all directions.

My sparkling team and I look so forward to greeting you,


The Webinar series will kick off on Tuesday, February 28th at 11:30am EST.

Find out more here:

PS: You can find the conversation between Krista Tippett and Dr. Vincent Harding here: OnBeing Is America Possible?
What does it take to build #belovedcommunity? The strength to love. And practice.… Click To Tweet

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Standing with Standing Rock

Standing with Standing Rock

Global Round Table Leadership stands in solidarity with Standing Rock. In this time of giving thanks for the bounty of the harvest, we know that there is a bounty of resources and wisdom available to us to guide and allow us to be of service. We also offer you Hopi Elders Speak as wisdom for our actions now and into the future.


Hopi Elders Speak

You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.
And there are things to be considered:

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

This could be a good time!  There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.  They will feel they are being
Torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination.  The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep your eyes open, and our heads above the water.  See who is in there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally.  Least of all, ourselves.  For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.  The time of the lone wolf is over.  Gather yourselves!

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.  All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

The Elders, Hopi Nation
Oraibi, Arizona

Standing with Standing Rock #NODAPL… Click To Tweet

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Creating a Yes, and Culture

Creating a Culture of Yes, and. . .

By Jodi Clark

(Originally published for NHBSR’s November 2016 Newsletter )

“Would you lead us in an improv game right now?” That was the question I received at the conclusion of a panel discussion on how to build a network at the recent Sustainatopia conference in Boston. I responded with, “Yes, I would be glad to!” I had not known that would be asked of me. I had simply shown up to the session wanting to participate, to be informed, enlightened, and make new connections. I was delighted to be invited to co-create the end of the session! I was grateful that I had something I could readily contribute and that it was so openly and enthusiastically received. All of the participants took part in the activity. It was a magical, emergent moment of group co-creation.

This is the essence of the improvisational theater concept of “Yes, and. . .” One person makes an offer of an idea. Another person in the scene accepts that offer without question, and then builds off of it with their own. The scene continues in this way, birthing into being one offer after another until the actors collectively decide it has come to an end. There is never a moment of “No, and. . .” or even “Yes, but. . .” as the ethos of those statements is to negate, shut down, and exclude. Improv theater is about accepting what is brought, building off of it and unequivocally supporting everyone in the scene, no matter what, in order to co-create the best possible story together.

“Yes, and. . .”  and weaving the principles of the ensemble or what we call Shared Leadership is something we are committed to supporting in our work with organizations and teams at Global Round Table Leadership. In our definition of Shared Leadership, everyone is equally responsible for the vibrancy and high function of the whole, no matter their role, status or expertise within their team or organization. When everyone in your organization shows up leading with your full selves in support of and in relationship to everyone else’s success in the organization, there is greater purpose and meaning for the team and the whole company. Your team experiences greater creative sparks in the work itself and greater capacity to create positive impact in the world with your work.

W. S. Badger is one of these workplaces where you do not need to leave parts of yourself out. The company has said “Yes, and. . .” to all who work for them by the nature of their everyday practices with each other. Recently named as one of NH Business Magazine’s Best Places to Work and also named Best for the World and Best for the Environment by B-Lab, Badger’s culture reflects their commitment to the wholeness of their employees, accepting the offer of everything that’s brought. In addition to the initiatives my colleagues, Lori Hanau and Claire Wheeler featured in their recent spotlight article in Conscious Company Magazine: 3 Lessons From a Case Study from a True Sharing Model, there are a number of practices and initiatives which honor the wholeness of each employee in their everyday lives with the company. When an employee asked if there could be a labyrinth on site for meditation, Badger said “Yes, and…” by supporting the employee to construct it. They have said “Yes, and. . .” to families being an essential part the work environment by implementing a Babies at Work program and building a daycare center down the street on their old company site. Badger has said “Yes!” to committing to sustainably grown ingredients for all of the products “and. . .” to ensure that the food they eat together is partially sourced from the onsite organic gardens the employees cultivate.  Badger’s “Yes, and . .” ethic has provided the opportunity for community, nourishment, and stewardship of the land to be woven into their everyday experience together.

Badger’s participatory, ensemble-like culture recognizes the inextricable link between the wholeness of each person to the wholeness of their work together and their impact on the world around them. We at Global Round Table Leadership are continually inspired by companies like Badger who offer the “Yes, and…” power of shared leadership by creating the space for their employees to be their whole selves in order to offer their full gifts.

(Thank you once again to NHBSR  and Conscious Company Magazine for inviting us to share our thoughts and shining the light on companies living into shared leadership!)

Exploring the Benefits of Creating a Yes, and. . . Culture at work @BadgerBalmUSA @ConsciousCoMag… Click To Tweet

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After the Election, How Do We Begin?

After the election, how do we begin to. . .

by Jodi Clark

Heal, move forward, feel our experience and extreme mix of emotions, not wallow in outrage and despair or let go of a sense of helplessness on what has happened. . .?

This was how I walked into GRTL Wednesday morning, carrying the knowledge of what has transpired in this election. Our country has expressed its deepest divisions, unveiled racism, bigotry, sexism, homophobia, disregard for the environment, hatred, fear, and more that has been bubbling under the surface for a long time. I was carrying this, feeling it off to the side of me. I could have totally gone there and stayed there. And yet above all of this, even more painful than all of these things, what rose was how desperately I missed my cat who passed away at the end of September. In the swirl of all of this disconnection, I wanted my beloved companion of 21 years to sit on my lap calmly purring, her soft, strong zen energy reminding me of what is most present and alive every day: our connection to each other. I wanted to be reminded of what is good, pure, and can never be defeated.

As the team of us sat together today processing everything, we talked about what is still heartening us and emboldening us. What heartens me most right now is knowing that at our core, humans have access to connect with each other and to what is best in us. We do have to practice and commit to it. And I KNOW it is possible. What came immediately to mind were our Four Pillars of Shared Leadership. They are both behind me and ahead of me as both beacons of light and guideposts for how I want to act that give me hope and strength. Our Shared Humanity has not disappeared. We can and must commit to being Equal Learning Partners as we move forward. We will cultivate our Wholeness every time we deeply listen to each other and share with authenticity. We can create more innovatively and compassionately through making space for our Collective Wisdom to rise, from our ancestors to us now.

I want to stand for what is best in us in everything I do. That is what is so important to me about the work we do here at GRTL in our work with teams and organizations. How can we rise into our best selves all the time and particularly when it is hard? How do we speak to each other not only with respect, but reverence? Who and how we are with each other matters. It has always mattered. Right now, how much it matters has been brought into crystal clear focus. In every group we are in, how will we stand for love and being our best selves in service of our healing? How will we show compassion to those we disagree with so we don’t perpetuate divisiveness? What would our everyday lives look like if we all stood on the side of radical love?

I am beginning with a conversation with a family member I know voted for Trump. I know she loves and respects me, as I do her. I am asking her to tell me why she voted for him and letting her know I am scared and why. She has been very gracious about engaging with me in the conversation, knowing I’m not trying to convince her of anything, simply seeking to understand. May I meet her graciousness with her and everyone else I engage with.

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NHBSR Member Feature

Version 2New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility (NHBSR) Feature Global Round Table Leadership for September 2016

We are honored to be featured in the NHBSR Member newsletter for September! Here is an excerpt and the link to the whole piece. We want to thank Leila Murphy for her work and a wonderful conversation exploring what brought us to GRTL and what keeps us passionate about the work!

Member Feature Excerpt:

In this season of NHBSR storytelling, it was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk with Lori Hanau and her colleague, Jodi Clark, of Global Round Table Leadership (GRTL). GRTL is a coaching and training company located in Keene. They support powerful shifts in consciousness, communications, and community for leaders, groups, organizations and networks from all sectors. Their customized trainings, retreats, facilitation and coaching focuses on stewarding positive personal and group transformation, “wholistic” leadership development and collaborative, vibrant group culture.  Lori and Jodi help individuals and groups tap into their greatness.

GRTL’s definition of Shared Leadership is worth sharing as it says it best—
Shared Leadership is the practice of bringing out the greatest capacity in everyone by empowering us all to be responsible for and engaged in the vibrancy and high function of the whole. This is a fundamental shift in how we understand and apply power and leadership.

They use strengths-based approaches and tools in their trainings, starting with what is healthy, strong and vibrant. Appreciative inquiry is interwoven with play, performance as well as meditative and wellness practices that cultivate our wholeness and strategic, systems leadership. Lori and Jodi both speak to how heartened they are by what they see transpire over the course of even a 3 hour training that elevates a group into a whole different way of relating. They know that the genius of the group is already there.

Read the Rest of the Feature Here

Getting to know GRTL through the story of their work. @NHBSR… Click To Tweet

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Our Community’s Wholeness In Practice

Our Community’s Wholeness In Practice

We invite you to share what practices or norms you are finding to cultivate your wholeness in and through your work. What does balance look and feel like for you, for groups you work with? How does nature cultivate or inform wholeness in your work? What challenges do you face in your practice(s) and how are you meeting them? What are you learning about wholeness?

Invite others in your community to share what they are learning and practicing as well:

Share Your Wholeness In Practice: What are you doing to cultivate #wholeness in your work and… Click To Tweet

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Wholeness in Practice

Wholeness in Practice

By The GRTL Team

GRTL Team at Pizza Night

GRTL “Home Team” Members, Lori Hanau, Jodi Clark, and Melissa Whittemore out for Pizza Night.

As Lori Hanau wrote in her article: Leading From Wholeness *  in the July/August issue of Conscious Company Magazine, the daily journey of resetting our balance and wholeness is truly “an inside job.”Inside GRTL, we are committed to exploring what it means to cultivate our own wholeness both individually and collectively in our work together. We offer you our top 10 practices we have been exploring in our daily work life together.

Beauty: We ensure that the spaces we work in have photos, paintings, flowers, a window facing forest or gardens or some other source of beauty. When we travel to other spaces to work with colleagues and clients, we will frequently bring flowers with us to carry that essence of beauty with us. Walking into a conference room that has flowers in it feels immediately different, lighter.

Breathe: Either alone or together we practice breathing deep, slow, intentional breaths. Sometimes it is right before we commence with a meeting together or on the phone with a client or walking into the office. The steps: Feel your feet on the ground. Roll your shoulders back slightly, opening up the chest cavity. Smile inwardly to yourself. Make sure your energy is grounded and calm. The breath should be easy without any forcing. Slowing down even for five minutes sets a Melissa and Jodi at Pizza Nightcompletely different tone for the work ahead. Download GRTL’s Healthy Breath Practice Resource Guide

Commune: We try to eat with each other or outside, but somewhere away from screens and more intentionally with each other and/or the natural world. We also make sure to have a monthly social night out with no work talk allowed focusing on play, restoration, food, celebration or all of the above. (see photo to the left from our pizza night at Orchard Hill Breadworks in Alstead, NH!) During the week, enjoying afternoon tea and home baked scones together is a frequent occurrence since one of our team members has a wife who bakes magnificently and shares generously!

Ask, Don’t Tell: We invite feedback from each other and cultivate our curiosity. It helps us check our egos when we ask more questions rather than assume we have to be certain all the time.

Quiet: We make room for silence, even in the middle of a meeting  or conversation to help balance the busyness that still creeps into our daily lives.

Take it Outside: Much of our work can keep us indoors staring at screens for long stretches of time, impacting our energy levels and physical well-being. Whenever we can take a phone meeting or in person meeting outside, we do so! We ensured that our WiFi does allow us to work outdoors. But we also take walks. A daily walk of 10-15 minutes either alone or with a colleague does wonders for lifting the spirit and resetting, not to mention stretches the legs!

Play On!: Weaving play into a day allows for different kinds of thinking. Play and laughter are great friends. Laughter supports us to become more nourished and relaxed. We shift out of stress and the fight or flight syndrome into a more nurtured state of being. We access more of our creativity. And we celebrate each other in a moment that helps fuel the rest of our work together. We have started having both planned and spontaneous 5 minute dance parties as an intentional moment of play and even as the structure for our team check-in!

Add Music: Even when we aren’t dancing, having music in the background can lift the mood of the work space, as long as it isn’t distracting. One of our team members loves to have classical music in her space. She says: “There is a particular vibrancy to classical music that both lifts me and puts me at ease at the same time. When I have it in my work space, even on low volume, I tend to be more productive and joyful.” And those of us walking by her office are also appreciative to connect to music for even a moment. Deep sighs are heard and felt!! The best breath work ever!!!!

Write it Down: We each try to keep a journal to reflect on our days. What are we noticing? What are we challenged by? What is inspiring us? Surprising us? What do we want to remember and refer to later? We are just now exploring a new norm of writing down our progress with learning new practices together to hold ourselves compassionately accountable and be able to both integrate and track our learning. We believe that personal development, team development and organizational development are all essential parts of the whole.

Breathe Again: We can find ourselves getting caught into a swirl of activity or stuck in a complex problem that starts to put us into a stressful, anxious, uncreative space. Taking a few slow, even breaths even for 30 seconds can make all the difference to slow us down and remember to access our bodies as sources of wisdom.

What are your top practices to cultivate your wholeness at work? We would love to hear what works for you and your colleagues in the comment section below.  Easily share what you love from our practices with your colleagues: Top Ten Practices for Cultivating Wholeness at Work… Click To Tweet

To easily share Lori’s article: Leading from Wholeness @ConsciousCoMag #leadership #wholeness Click To Tweet

End of the evening at Orchard Hill Community Pizza Night

End of the evening at Orchard Hill Community Pizza Night, August 2016.

*Title from print edition article

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While they were saying it couldn't be done, it was done.
— Helen Keller