Posted by on October 25, 2019

One of the reasons I decided to work with Compassionate Atlanta is that, after having been a friend to the organization for a couple of years, I noticed they did things very differently than I was used to. I come from a business background having owned my own law firm for 15 years. Prior to that, I worked in corporate environments. These work experiences shaped how I do business.

One of the first things that I noticed with CA is that people matter. I thought, “Well, it’s a non-profit and so that is par for the course!” Turns out, I was wrong. It’s not because we are a non-profit that we treat the people we interact with well. It is because our grassroots culture helps us “see” people and we try to include them at every level of the organization.

In fact, our leadership model reflects a flat model of leadership and not a hierarchical one. Leanne and I as co-directors collaborate, talk things through and support each other. Gunawork, who also works with us, is not a co-director of the organization but at every step, we ask for her input and implement it. Her opinion is often more valuable as she brings a perspective none of us previously considered.  Leanne’s father passed away recently, and because (a) losing a parent is traumatic, and (b) her family is Jewish so there were extended mourning rites that they observed, we stepped in to close the gap that we felt because she could not turn towards her work at this time. It was not a matter of “that is not my job.” It was a matter of, “What needs to be done so Leanne can face her grief without concern for the organization.”

To place compassion at the center of your life, you have to see people as equals. There is no room for egos and power posturing when you are developing a grassroots culture in an organization. Each of us takes responsibility for ourselves, recognizing that even on our worst day, we have something to share and give to make the collective even better than it was yesterday. It has been a gift to hold space for Leanne and her family though this transition. And it was easy and natural for us to do because this is a grassroots approach and people come first in our model.

Our partners and those interested in partnering with us are also a priority to us and are part of our grassroots approach. To that end, November is our Partner Appreciation Month! Coffee is on us. If you would like to meet with Leanne and/or myself, please note the dates, times and locations where we will be.

We want to meet you. We want you to have a cup of coffee (or tea) on us and tell us what you need or want from us.

11/8/19 from 10am-12pm at Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee House 
11/14/19 from 4pm-6pm Waller’s Coffee House 
11/16/19 from 10am-12pm Community Grounds Cafe

I look forward to meeting you in person. If you have questions about Compassionate Atlanta and you just want to find out more about us, please come and have a cup of coffee on us.

P.S. Tuesday, November 5th is the ultimate grassroots day. Please vote, especially at a local level.

With grateful anticipation,

Iyabo Onipede
Compassion Cultivator/Co-Director
Compassionate Atlanta

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