On October 20 this year, I attended the “Courage to Lead Award” event held by ICA Canada, the charitable organization that is co-owner of ICA Associates, Inc.
The award was to be given to a woman I didn’t know, Anne Gloger, who is the CEO of a remarkable grassroots, inclusive, diverse, participatory community organization in Scarborough, Ontario, called The Storefront.
Before the event began, I noticed the woman coming over to me with deliberate intention. When she got to me, she asked with intensity, “Did you facilitate an event at the 519 Community Centre in Toronto in 1999? I remembered the unique building, although I didn’t remember what I did, or anyone who was there, so I said “Yes!” She said “That event was the inspiration for everything I have done here at Storefront!” I gave her a big wordless hug, as I was so blown away by what she was saying. Then in her acceptance speech for the award, she showed a slide of the Working Assumptions that I created and use, and told a story that I had told back then, 18 years ago.
It is certain that whatever I did at the 519 did not have the stated aim of inspiring someone to go out and create such an organization. But the simple use of respectful, participatory consensus methods inspired her to do great things, far beyond anything I could have imagined.
Thank you to the Universe for allowing me to catalyze respectful, inclusive community development well beyond the mundane.