- Strategic foresight
- Project management.
My interest in environmental issues related to sustainability, climate change, and conservation was sparked by canoe trips I took as a young adult in the Minnesota and Canadian wilderness. After working in the arts for over a decade as a dancer, choreographer, and producer I was ready for a change, and I knew it would be connected to environmental issues and sustainability. In 2020, I returned to school to study strategic foresight — a set of practices for helping organizations anticipate and adapt to long-term change. Within the field, Shell Oil is well known for their application of strategic foresight in the 1970s to anticipate the oil crisis. One of my goals was to bring these practices to organizations aligned with my own values of health, ecology, and belonging.
An important moment for me was participating in a workshop on conflict and collaboration as part of an artists’ residency. In my work and life, I was experiencing both and that put me on a path where I could develop my capacity to help people work through conflict to achieve shared goals. I’ve come to see conflict as a potent space for creativity. On the other side of conflict, our relationships are often stronger and our communication more open. That connects to our work at Environmental Initiative, where we bring people from different sectors with different perspectives together. We may sometimes find ourselves at odds with each other, but if we can find our shared interest, we can achieve more together than separately.
I often return to my copy of the Tao Te Ching translated by one of my favorite authors, Ursula K. Le Guin. Many of the verses invert our business-as-usual ideas about knowledge, power, wealth, and control. One of my favorite verses is: “Nothing in the world is as soft, as weak, as water; nothing else can wear away the hard, the strong, and remain unaltered.”
Other concepts that I return to are, “To be broken is to be whole,” and, “To run things, don’t fuss with them. Nobody who fusses is fit to run things.”