|The #DonorJourney Crew, clockwise from top left: |
Guy Mallabone, Sue McMaster, Jenny Mitchell, Stephen Pidgeon
This short message from Guy Mallabone was the start of an adventure that brought me to Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg and Saskatoon. All in five days.
The Extraordinary Donor Journey, presented by Global Philanthropic Canada, brought together Guy Mallabone and Sue McMaster from Calgary, Jenny Mitchell from Ottawa, Stephen Pidgeon from the UK, and me, the token American, for a curated conference for non-profit organizations across Canada. When we convened in Halifax, it was like being at the start of a school trip--you don't know most of your group well, and you certainly haven't traveled with them!
The pattern began: present the program all day, pack up the stuff as quickly as you can, take transportation to the airport, grab dinner, fly to the next city, slog on to the hotel, rinse, repeat.
Five days. Five cities. What could possibly go wrong?
Everything did not go perfectly. But thanks to the adaptability and team spirit of our mighty band, we thrived and, I think, came to truly care about one another in a short period of time.
While I learned many things from the program content of my fellow presenters, my strongest takeaways are from behind the scenes....
- How you think about money affects everything. I am grateful that Jenny shared the Sacred Money Archetypes model in her session. Jenny's explanation was, "If money were someone standing alongside you, what kind of person would it be?" Would it be supportive? Judgmental? Petulant? Rebellious? What the conference participants didn't know was that Jenny had all of us do the quiz at the start of the journey. Initially, our call backs to our archetypes were opportunities to tease Guy, but as the week evolved, I found that the context of money mindset was useful in understanding each other and our values.
- Trust begets trust. In reality, we didn't know each other well at the start of the week. It would have been easy, and expected, to be guarded until we got to know each other. Guy set the tone early, however, because of an unexpected family situation. He had to let down his guard and trust us. His ability to persevere under difficult circumstances led us to not only to deepen our connection with Guy, but with each other. This led to open and fulfilling conversations that I had with each of my colleagues, and I am better for it already.
- If at first you do succeed, try, try again. Halifax was the first time any of us saw the others' presentations. While the core parts of each of our presentations was the same in each city, we thrived off of drawing from each others' content and making small improvements from city to city. In many respects, we were accepting Stephen's call to focus on "the concept"--how can you think sideways to get at the core message? The chance to refine the same presentation every day for a week was a great way to challenge myself.
- It can be rewarding to be a sherpa. There's a lot of stuff involved in presenting a conference! At first, Guy carried all the banners and Sue carried all the other materials, but those barriers broke down relatively quickly. Pitching in and helping where needed felt far more rewarding than just watching others do the heavy lifting. By the end of the week, we were "Global Philanthropic sherpas," and proud of it!
As I write this, I'm still in Saskatoon; most every one else has gone home. I am exhausted, but grateful, for the opportunity to spend time with some amazing people. I've learned so much in five days, and hope to have a chance to do this all over again. To Sue, Guy, Stephen, Jenny, James, Steve and Jeff, thank you for an experience I won't forget.