Magic in Brooklyn at the Social Venture Circle: Kate

To understand my reaction to SVC, I must first explain a little of my past.  I started my career over 30 years ago at what was then known as one of the Big Eight public accounting firms.  My impression of that industry was that it cared little for its employees and churned them with as much care as one might give a mismatched sock.  From my lowly purview, it also appeared to be a career with very little meaning and very little hope for a partnership position (there seemed to be one female partner west of the Mississippi).  I lasted long enough to earn my license and headed off to be a different kind of accounting firm. I found great meaning in this next phase of working with non-profits and women and minority-owned small and growth stage business in a Federally Designated Enterprise Zone and also by hiring women returning to the workforce after time away to tend to their children.  These 10 years were fun, meaningful and impactful - we were able to bring sound business practices and the concept of multiple bottom lines to hundreds of individuals and organizations. Then my family and I decided to move to Vermont and I faced a big choice: business as usual (blech!) or exile myself in the world of nonprofits. I chose the latter because it seemed I would have more impact by working with a sector that was finally realizing it needed sound business practices rather than working in a sector that wasn’t yet convinced to look at more than the bottom line.

Oh, had I only known about the amazing SVC network back then - I could have had both worlds without the “blech” factor!

I was honored to be invited to SVC’s Bridging Profit and Purpose Conference by Lori and to be part of the GRTL team and to experience what she kept saying was a culture that is “hard to describe”.  I started by attending the town hall meeting where the two merging organizations gathered for an open conversation with the new Executive Director. The conversation was upbeat and honest, congratulatory and challenging, and funny and serious - a whole range of emotions and ideas were floated, respect flourished and hopes for continued growth into shared values were named.  My first reaction was “this is going to be a different kind of conference with some very juicy conversations!”

We then moved on to Brownsville for the sold out Love Economy Event - an inspiring location, excellent food, music and conversation and time spent in a candlelit circle to share deeply about how and why each of us is called to or curious about building a more just economy that is rooted in love.  Still the first day of the conference!! My second reaction was “Yup, these are juicy conversations! How in the world am I going to keep up this pace?!”

The next two and a half days were filled with presentations, break out sessions, documentaries, stories, music, strategy sessions, women’s circles and men’s circles, small group conversations and even a little dancing (okay, maybe a lot of dancing!).  All of it rich, inspiring and an invitation to end my self imposed exile in the nonprofit world. These entrepreneurs, business owners, leaders, artists, activists, creators, service providers, advocates, and investors are a balm to any soul that that has felt depleted in the past couple of years and proof that when vision is coupled with intention and community it is possible to bridge profit and purpose and by doing so, to contribute to a just economy that is rooted in love.

Magic in Brooklyn at the Social Venture Circle: Jac

For me, the SVC annual gathering is not a conference. It is a family reunion and one that has open arms to anyone who is committed to making positive change happen through their work or business. I saw the SVC community embrace who they have been and who they becoming as a newly merged organization. The Love Economy events and the Hospitality Sweet as well as the rebranding presentation and addresses from the new executive director had huge positive ripple effects throughout the gathering. Our own Lori Hanau with an amazing group of inspired movers and shakers had a way over-sold crowd come to the Brownsville Community Culinary Center to experience love in practice. First, there was love of nourishing oneself and one's community through this amazing center. Their work of providing amazing meals and culinary training to residents of this neighborhood is truly inspiring. Co-hosted by Julie Fahnnestock, Greg Hemmings and Sierra Flanagan, Lori opened the space to invite 105 attendees into Circle to speak and be heard about why we cared to be there, what we are already doing that is loving in our work and what is our next action toward developing greater love in our workplaces. We were nourished again by music, by candlelight, by giving attention to our breath and holding space for each other as we spoke. How could love not become woven into so many conversations after that? Almost every table I sat at, someone there would be speaking about either that event or the stories shared in the Love Story Slam which featured stories of love in action in the work people are doing that the Love Economy team produced and hosted Friday night.

 The desire to authentically connect personally was there for me both my first time attending as well as this time. But the openness I felt and prevailing hope and inspiration was much stronger. I think the clarity of vision, humility, and strength of the new executive director and how she honored where Social Venture Network (SVN) and the Investors Circle (IC), now Social Venture Circle (SVC) is going and where it came from was hugely inspiring. I also felt a hopefulness and a willingness to engage in tough conversations both as a whole group together as well as in the sessions I attended. Valerie Red Horse Mohl role modeled openness, deep regard for the ancestry of both the organization as well as the land we were gathering on and the people who first stewarded that land.  

The Hospitality Sweet was a place for all of us to celebrate this rare and beautiful yearly opportunity to be together with deep kindred spirits both new and old.  The music, dancing, and conversations were some of the deepest and most fun both at the Hospitality Sweet itself, but also preparing for it even hours ahead. The spirit of deeply and joyfully connecting really permeated the whole gathering once dinner was over and we all began to find each other for a drink or that conversation we wanted to make space for once the sessions were over. There is a celebratory joy and playfulness and even a bit of mischief in terms of letting loose with each other in and around the Hospitality Sweet. We are completely real as well as silly which makes the evening times together so important to how we show up together during the day in the more traditionally work oriented sessions. There was dancing the night away in costumes and glitter, gathering together for libations right after dinner and late night conversations well into the wee hours of the morning. Those kinds of deep connection spaces felt like the fertile social soil needed for building deeper relationships with folks who are brimming with innovative, disruptive, bold ideas for how their businesses or work can be an agent of positive change.

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Magic in Brooklyn at the Social Venture Circle: Lori

What a super powerful experience I just had at the Social Venture Circle conference last weekend. Two networks have merged. Social Venture Network and Investor's Circle. Valerie Red-Horse Mohl is our new executive director. This was the first conference in our united form. I thought hiring Valerie, the creation of our new name and our new logo were all brilliant moves!

I have been a member of Social Venture Network since 2002 and recently served on the Board of Directors as we were working toward a possible merger. Like many, I have been curious, even a little concerned to see if and how our cultures would begin to merge.


All I can say is - love and respect were in the house!! Of course, not in every solitary moment but love and respect certainly prevailed. I came away heartened by us all, inspired by the long weekend experience and by who we can continue to become together.


I am very proud that Global Round Table Leadership (GRTL) was an active part of the overall design, participation and facilitation. My team members Jac Jodi Clark and Kate McGowan, who facilitate with me in our Shared Leadership Framework team trainings hosted some of the workshops. Our Love Economy team, me with Julie Fahnestock, Sierra Flanigan and Greg Hemmings hosted a dinner and evening experience exploring the inquiry of leading with love in business for 105 of us at the Brownsville Community Culinary Center. It was a tremendous primer for the SVC gathering, with people feeling seen, heard, possibly challenged and opened. One of our guests, when asked why she cared to be there, said that she has been experiencing frameworks of hate succeed in our country, she prefers to participate in a framework of love. A very great warm up indeed!


The Love Economy team also hosted a story telling slam on Friday night, with amazing storytellers, including Duane Peterson, Natasha Lamb and Vince Ferguson talking about how love has shown up within their businesses. Vince's band, Cuzins the Band also took us on a phenomenal ride!


I had the privilege of opening the conference, being on a panel on inter generational well-being, hosted by Tyler Norris in collaboration with Parneet Pal. What a beautiful experience and whole group dialogue.


Because of a flight delay on the plane of the final speakers (all the speakers at this conference were so strong!), I was spontaneously asked to support the close of our gathering. We discussed where we felt hope throughout the conference and what we are remembering to walk away with in both spirit and action.


Both the daytime activities and the evening festivities, including our wonderful Hospitality Sweet, were filled with thoughtfulness, bravery, artistry and play! I was proud of my own natural fluidity with the different ways I was invited to participate.I had more ease with it all than I have had in the past. I was so proud and I have such respect for my teams. What ensembles!!! I'll be resting up for the next week or so. But I feel a light in me that is brighter from being there and it has not dimmed, even ten days out. 


How very grateful I am to be a part of this network. And a huge thank you to Isaac Graves, to Valerie and to whole the staff and board of SVC. I hope this glow is being felt by all. You certainly earned it!

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Launching with Love

By Lori Hanau

Throughout my own personal and professional growth, I have heard the whispers of building a community. This past year, spirit has been shouting repeatedly, loud and clear - “NOW!” Okay then. Now it is. The community will be online, so we are not limited by geographic boundaries. My vision is a gathering place and place of practice for those of us who care to build quality relationships, care for each other, share power, work inclusively as equal learning partners, commit to cultivating individual and collective wisdom and build workplace and network cultures of compassionate accountability.  We will source ourselves in shared leadership.

This is a Love Launch because love is what is coursing through me and my team as we launch this idea, bringing it to life. My co-host Jodi Clark and I are so excited to invite you to gather with us. We are creating this space with you in mind and will be in launch mode throughout February. We know life takes a village, and as this is a village we care to build in shared leadership, consider us intentionally “half-cooked”. This way you can add your parts to the mix, bringing us all into the artistry of being alive. Come visit us on https://www.patreon.com/lorihanau, hosted on the Patreon platform: a creator’s community that beautifully weaves the concept of artist patronage with 21st century crowdsourcing. We would love for you to consider being an early adopter.

The potency of love, of doing what I love, what we each love is a true privilege. The courage to express ourselves in ways that connect us to our souls is a force of nature. I believe this force channels through our humanity, inviting each of us to be fully expressed. I want to pour this power into my community, and into your communities, as invited. I am so moved by you, so inspired by your care, that I jump out of bed every day with a courageous heart.