Radical Hospitality: Warming Up Our Workplaces

By Lori Hanau

My wonderful team at GRTL and I are always thinking of frameworks and ideas that we can draw from to support sharing power and leadership as ways to cultivate well being in the workplace. The fine art of hosting has been on the top of our minds, shaping our own workplace culture and collaboration. In today’s fast paced, sometimes icy cold world where humility, generosity and mutual respect seem to be fast becoming values and acts of the past, this is feeling like an essential point of focus. Just being in discussion as a team about great hospitality is raising our kindness and generosity game. Our question for ourselves has been, “How can we embody radical hospitality in our workplaces everyday?”.

Very recently I was on the receiving end of an act of radical hospitality within the workplace of Marlboro Graduate and Professional Studies, where I am a co-chair and faculty within the Management program. We had an issue with an older building that we wanted to use as a new dorm space to house our faculty and students during our residencies. It was a bit on the dismal side. Kelsa Summer, an alum to our program and a new hire within the grad school stepped right up in the most amazing of ways. Not only did she take a small budget and work wonders with bright and comfy bedding and appealing lamps and other touches throughout the rooms, she upleveled to a radical, transformational act of hospitality. She enlisted her Mom, Laura Summer, a visual artist in her endeavour (inclusion is a wonderful act of radical hospitality!). Laura drove from New York to Vermont and together they hung over thirty five pieces of framed artwork throughout the dorm. Kelsa enlisted her brother, who cut some wood and created a decorative space in an old fireplace where the trash can had been placed before. She got small lights for the steps leading up to the building, noticing that the lighting out there wasn’t the strongest. While the rest of us were scattered around town having dinner, she stayed back and made homemade cookies. We were greeted by the fabulous smell and by her continued humility. She enlisted a group of us to bring in board games and we hung out on the bright, comfy furniture socializing and playing games together as a happy community. Her creative, thoughtful acts made us feel so honored and brought us together as a community in enriching ways. She walked the talk of our values and care to show up as equal leaders and stewards of our culture, where we care to lead with our humanity. She modeled so beautifully, inspiring us into our own increased acts of hospitality, naturally building more trust and care. Kelsa Summer is my hero in embodying radical hospitality in the workplace.

I invite you to start a new tradition with your colleagues at work. Greet your people and teammates with conscious warmth. Create gratitude walls. Consider what it means to you to be a wonderful, even radical host. Let’s warm up our workplaces and our lives. Remember, human radiance starts with each of us, willing to come forth with our most abundant selves. October, harvest time, is such a great month to get started. By warming up our workplaces, we will light up the world. Please share your hosting stories with me. Thank you for your care. I can already feel the glow.

And I would love to have any of you join us for our upcoming webinar exploring Radical Hospitality on Tuesday, October 31st 11:30am - 12:45pm EST http://grtl.ontrapages.com/webinarseries