Author Archives: ILC Coordinator

About ILC Coordinator

I've been involved in the ILC since 2015 and started in the Coordinator position in September 2019. Inclusive Leadership is inspiring because of the stories people share about their relationships and work teams transforming when they introduce IL skills.

Saying Good-bye to ILC Co-founder, John Scull

May 10, 1943 – July 24, 2020
Born a 4th generation Californian and growing up in Beverly Hills, John used to jokingly describe himself as consistently downwardly mobile but no less happy for it. Read the obituary.

Many Inclusive Leaders crossed paths with John first in other fields, such as Eco-psychology / Deep Ecology, Behavioural Psychology, Quakers, Cowichan Valley concerns for social and environmental justice including the Cowichan Land Trust. The common thread of John’s work has been building a future and being in the moment. In 2015 he wrote in the Cowichan Valley Citezen “We support schools, save money for our grandchildren’s education, plant trees, recycle, donate to charity, protect land, volunteer, build churches, write letters to the editor, and do other things that offer a very poor payback or no payback at all. We do them because we care about the future, even if we are not likely to be here to enjoy it.” In John’s building, he interwove circles, places, beings, explaining how the structures will be sturdy, resilient and meaningful if built this way. From Cowichan Tribes, a Coast Salish First Nation John learned about The Great Deeds. “It wasn’t about building things, achieving success, or having adventures”, John wrote, “instead, Great Deeds take place in the life of every family: The birth of a child, the growth of a child into adulthood, the transition from adult to Elder, the birth of a grandchild. These were the Great Deeds of life: the actions we take to care for the people around us. It’s such a different definition of great deeds than I was used to.” And yet, build is what John did – for future generations by being in the moment.

As an Inclusive Leader, John introduced many of us to a simple and profoundly impactful exercise — Connecting with Nature. He shared his learning from mentors such as Joanna Macy and Joseph Cornell, and he shared his learning from nature itself. (See video). John helped many of us understand how we can learn from nature, ways to relax, ways to listen, ways to be creative, to be connected, to be filled with grace…because Nature is made up of beautiful beings that we can come to know a little if we take the time to be with them.

Co-founder, Sarah Matheson now in Guelph recalls sitting on John’s and Linda’s deck, looking across the Cowichan Valley to Mt. Prevost, “Every night since John died, I’ve felt drawn to go out on my balcony. All the animal spirits and the sky keep me company in such a live way, and connect me to John and Linda.” ILC Board member, Susan Norris recalls a trust exercise John facilitated during one of the Inclusive Leadership Gatherings. Susan’s exercise partner led her with her eyes closed in a wooded area. When she opened her eyes on cue, her whole visual field was living tree bark – she was that close. Susan says, “I find myself reproducing that experience, going up close to a tree…being in the moment in nature. This is a gift I received from John.” The stories of John introducing us to ways of connecting with nature could fill a book. More importantly, the stories continue to live in us.

John & Linda, beacons of community

Community Builders above all else, John and his partner of 40 years, Linda Hill demonstrated day in and day out how to say “yes” to making a connection. Hosting travelers in their home, choosing and welcoming new family members, and sharing stories, food and music are ways this dynamic duo fostered love and caring in the Cowichan Valley and beyond. Janice Milnerwood in Montreal says, “The most powerful memory is when John and Linda invited us to Thanksgiving dinner — there were so many people, from all walks of life. That really stayed with me. It’s what Thanksgiving is about.”

When we look closely at John’s work, play, love and teachings we can see how it all fits together with great integrity. John was a proponent of The Earth Charter and he clearly lived in accordance with its four pillars: Integrity, Peace, Justice and Respect. He practiced and acted upon these qualities for his children, his grandchildren, his community of people and nature’s beings and he did so by reminding us to live simply, in the moment.

The Magic of Connecting With Differences

Submitted by Linda Hill and Bonnie Robertson (Reposted July 2019)

20161012_145816Inclusive Leadership can be as simple and magical as a diverse group of people exploring the skill of daring to be different through a co-operative game of “Catch the Difference.” As you read this story, we invite you to think about the times in your life when you have felt safe to share your differences with others and the times in your life when you helped others feel safe to share their differences with you.  Continue reading

Destination Unity

IMG_5702Submitted by Alan Cundall, Toronto, Ontario in 2016 (Reposted June 2019)

Inclusive Leaders come from many different backgrounds and bring what they learn at Inclusive Leadership back to many different communities. Alan Cundall has grown up in the Baha’i Faith Community and has experienced unity and inclusivity through his participation and facilitation within Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Groups.  Alan has also been participating in and facilitating within the Inclusive Leadership community for 7 years now (since 2009).  In this post, Alan shares his experiences exploring, sharing and celebrating the parallels between Inclusive Leadership and Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Groups. Continue reading

Is Climate Change an Inclusive Leadership Matter?

ILC - footprintSubmitted by Joy Emmanuel

The other day an email circulated with this question in relation to Inclusive Leadership supporting a collaborative community effort to have local government “declare a climate emergency.” Great question and an action that the co-op may want to take. I offer here a few further reflections.

As I write this blog post, I am sitting outdoors tucked into a little wooded area on the property where I live. From here, I have been enjoying getting to know some of the other local residents: a mother duck and her four chicks, the nightly chorus of frogs who sing to me from the pond, I recently met my first tree frog, occasionally I hear an owl hooting, and one day I was treated to seeing the flashing red vibrating head of a pileated woodpecker. It has been a great delight to meet these neighbours.

Some days; however, I wonder about the former residents who are no longer represented in the visible animal population in this neck of the woods. The ones who use to be plentiful but now are rarely seen. The ones who had to leave because there are no nesting sites; no food sources; few watering holes; their seasonal coat has not shed, and their fur is too warm in these hot early spring days.

June 18 - Post b.jpg

Supporting this diverse neighbourhood ecosystem are all the plants and trees that provide food, shelter, homes, shade and meet so many other needs. I am also wondering how they are doing. Last summer was very dry and although we live in a rain forest, this spring we have had a very low rainfall. June 18 - post c

Is climate change an inclusive leadership matter? The Inclusive Leadership Co-op endorses the Earth Charter. Inclusive Leadership encourages us to recognize and embrace diversity in all living beings.   The Earth is our Mother.   The plants and animals are All Our Relations! We are interconnected

Another IL voice adds to the email conversation: “[This concern] is not only inline with the Earth Charter but also inclusive leadership. Climate change will affect marginalized populations much harder than the 1%ers.”

There are so many inter-connections.

One of my mentors I turn to on this topic is Jane Goodall. After many years of being an advocate and voice for Mother Earth, she is often asked: Is there hope? Although she acknowledges it is sometimes hard to be optimistic, in her inspiring book Reasons for Hope, she offers four strong responses to this question:

  1. First, the miraculous ability of the human brain and the potential we have already demonstrated to solve so many challenges once thought impossible.
  2. Second, she reminds us of the amazing resilience of nature if we give her a chance – and a helping hand. She offers numerous stories of how Mother Nature can show us the way. One such example she names comes from right here in the Cowichan Valley! She refers to “a most remarkable forester, Merv Wilkonson” and his work at Wildwood Farm to sustainably manage a 136 acre forest. After “logging” it nine times it still has giant old trees and there are “more animal species there today than when he began.” Wow! So much is possible when we work with Mother Nature!
  3. Third, she takes the view that “hope lies in the new understanding, commitment and energy of young people around the world.” Empowering young people is her contribution to their future and the future of the planet. Inclusive Leadership also upholds this view.
  4. June 18 - post dHer fourth pillar of hope is all the amazing and wonderful people “who have set out to accomplish almost impossible things, and because they never gave up, achieved their goals against seemingly hopeless odds.” I know I have certainly met more than a few inspiring people like this at our wonderful Inclusive Leadership gatherings!

Yes, climate change is an inclusive leadership matter – a concern that is deeply challenging and one that connects us all. Embracing the spirit, the skills, and awareness of inclusive leadership is a place of hope, intent and possibility. Yes, government has a role to play, and so do we all in our own little “neck of the woods” in how we live each day!

May we find our way forward together!

Celebrating Generosity and Inclusion

Inclusive Leadership calls forth a spirit of generosity and care in all of us. Inclusive Leadership gatherings are possible because of the community spirit of many wonderful volunteers and the generous donations by individuals and organizations. It is always amazing how our “stone soup” approach – where everyone contributes what they can, both financially and as gifts such as skills, experience, time – comes together to create a nurturing, engaging community event. Continue reading

Cooperating for Inclusion

Submitted by: Joy Emmanuel, Co-op Developer & Member of Inclusive Leadership Co-op

participatory

Did you know that the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative is part of an international network of co-operatives around the world? Did you know that for almost 200 years, the co-operative model has been adopted both for running businesses (i.e. consumer co-ops, worker co-ops, financial co-ops/credit unions) and for providing a host of community services (i.e. housing, funeral services, social programs and occasionally as educational co-ops)? Did you know that the Inclusive Leadership Co-op was incorporated in 2013 as a non-profit community service co-operative? What does all that mean? And what does being a co-operative have to do with inclusion? Continue reading