Ways of Being: Becoming a Transformational Change Agent

Ways of Being: Becoming a Transformational Change Agent

By Elli Caldwell

Earlier this summer, I was lucky to be invited to participate in a Whole Measures retreat at the Center for Whole Communities (CWC) in Fayston, Vermont. The recurring retreat is a collaboration of the CWC and the Interaction Institute for Social Change, a Boston-based non-profit that builds capacity around issues of social justice and sustainability. Whole Measures is a framework co-developed by these organizations and used to transform communities “by measuring what matters most.”

Center for Whole Communities

Among the many new insights, powerful connections and restorative moments I experienced during the retreat, the framework for being a Transformational Change Agent struck me as one of the most useful and empowering tools I could bring to my work at GRTL. In our work, we encounter passionate individuals and groups who are committed to transforming themselves, their communities and their world, and we support them in their development into new ways of being. At Marlboro Graduate Center, GRTL’s Lori Hanau guides the unfolding of the “Curriculum of Being” which complements the academic programs’ existing curricula of knowing an doing. The Whole Measures framework offers a full profile of a Transformational Change Agent that incorporates all three.

“The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervenor.”
-Bill O’Brien

Whole Measures offers: “Transformational Change Agents create an inspirational environment for engaging their full communities by modeling three critically related attributes.”

Ways of Seeing/Knowing: See the big picture and the interconnections within the system, moves between the big picture to the details

Ways of Doing: Convenes collaborative processes, connects stakeholders, balances structure and emergence, meets strategic objectives

Ways of Being: Believes and models love as a force for change, reveals an authentic self, values service, recognizes and transforms power dynamics, acts as an agent of hope and possibility


Which of these three realms is your strongest, and which is your growing edge?  Do you know any Transformational Change Agents who embody the qualities of all three?

To learn more about Whole Measures and to download your own copy of the Whole Measures guidebook, visit the Resources page of the website.


Many thanks to Curtis Ogden, Mohamad Chakaki and Jeanette Abi-Nader for facilitating this powerful retreat, and to my co-participants for journeying on this path with me.

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