In 2001, I walked out of my career as an executive in the high-tech industry. I was disillusioned by a business culture that emphasized short-term results, looked upon growth as an end rather than a means, and cared more about compliance than community. Since then, I’ve become an author, entrepreneur and social activist.
My focus on resilience began during my tenure as co-president of The Berkana Institute, where I worked to support pioneering leaders who were walking out of organizations and systems that were failing to contribute to the common good—and walking on to build resilient communities. These leaders are the subject of my award-winning book, Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now, co-authored with Margaret Wheatley.
During my book tour, I found myself telling stories again and again about how it is through intimacy with place that we create the conditions for lasting change. Nearly every time, someone would ask, “So what are you doing at home?” And I had no answer to give.
All that changed in 2013 when I returned to Boston to build an urban learning center modeled after the pioneering leaders I wrote about. The Old Oak Dojo in Jamaica Plain, MA, is now my home and host to many friends, neighbors, organizers and activists who share a commitment to creating equitable and inclusive communities. In that same year, I also co-founded the Boston Impact Initiative, a place-based impact investing fund that takes an integrated capital approach to building resilient local economies.