Two Laddership Circles In June!
--Nipun Mehta
6 minute read
Jun 11, 2015

After our first Laddership Circle in February, it was clear that a deeper learning journey around ServiceSpace values and processes held a lot of value for changemakers and community organizers.  So we decided to hold another one, and it was very humbling to witness the overwhelming interest and collective pull to engage in this nuanced way.  Inspired by the volume of applicants, we decided to host 2 concurrent circles (instead of just 1), for a total crew of 16 fellows, alongside 6 anchors and few more invisible advisors who helped shape the curriculum and continue to provide oversight.

Here's more on the inspired posse that will be diving deep into gift-ecology ideals over the next six weeks -- and creating ripples (which are likely to be waves :)) of goodness into their local communities around the globe. 

Saejung Lee had a childhood that spanned South Korea, Bangladesh, and the US, which left her drawn to the power of our interconnections. Most recently, she launched First Generation Moms, a group that ignites the spirit of service and redefines success across cultures. She’s an immigration lawyer and mother in San Diego, CA.

Fernando Grajeda was ten years deep into management consulting when he took time off to volunteer at the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, India. Diving deep into lessons from variouslove warriors along the way, he returned with a renewed resolve to serve others and refuel corporate culture with compassion. He’s also an avid writer and among his published books is A Perfect Plan.

For Pranidhi Varshney, “radical generosity is acting from a place of pure love.” A devoted practitioner and instructor of ashtanga yoga based out of Los Angeles, CA, she’s pouring her heart into a small yoga studio to share an authentic practice with people from all walks of life. And her soulful tunes elevate all who listen.

Bonnie Rose is always looking for ways to lead with greater heart, purity, and to “live as if the truth is true.” From nursing and performing arts in New York, she moved to southern California and fell into ministry at the Ventura Center for Spiritual Living, where she’s been for 11 years. She finds joy offering dynamic leadership to transform lives and blogs about the dynamic tensions of self-discovery.

Lacey Champion just completed her Masters of Arts in Social Change and spent the last 5 months working with women in rural Nepal. She constantly seeks to gain perspectives from others, find unity in difference, and shares deep reflections on self-interest in the service journey.

Grant Burgess has been on an introspective journey to channel his values into service to the world. Several years ago, a gnawing sense of misalignment prompted him to leave a job at Google and explore alternatives, such as a gratitude reward program to inspire a pay-it-forward culture of generosity.

Anyone who meets Sachi Maniar is instantly knocked over by her zest for learning and life. A filmmaker and dynamic project initiator, she shines love in Mumbai’s at-risk youth homes, and is dreaming up bold new steps for her nonprofit, Ashiyana. She also co-runs a startup forsustainable alternatives, among hosting meditation gatherings, making strings of films, and beyond.

When Arathi Ravichandran graduated from Harvard’s School of Public Health, she hopped on her bike and quite literally pedaled kindness from Boston to Boulder. An avid experimenter with small acts in her daily life, she’s currently exploring new ways for organizations to measure impact, and what it means to shift from transaction to trust.

For our Sunday Circle, we'll be joined by:

Natasha Rockstrom, from Dubai and Sweden, whose InJoy Giving began as a social experiment on the streets of Stockholm, gifting bananas for hugs to showcase to her MBA class that the 'business' of love is powerful and universal. She credits her inspiration to her grandmother, from whom she learned "the biggest act of generosity I've ever done is in the smallest things."

Poonam Singh, who's always been curious about nonviolence and social change, but got inspired to take a deeper dive after the birth of her two children. With over 15 years in nonprofits, she's the visionary behind a high caliber, all volunteer-run Soulforce Leadership Summer Fellowship for high school students in Silicon Valley.

Joel Mitchell’s journey has brought him from acting and banking in New York City to performing arts across Europe to becoming a nurturer of global learning journeys, alternative currencies and new systems of education. Now in Paris, he notes that “radical generosity is an orientation to life, rather than an isolated act. Are there any isolated acts?”

Neha Lehnig is a new mom and sower of community in Pune, India. For the last year, she and her husband have hosted Awakin meditation circles at her home every week, where they continually find inspiration in the power of shared silence. A former interior designer, she now instructs yoga by way of the Sivananda school and is dreaming up designs to share its gifts with her community.

​Swara Pandya carries a heart of service in all she does, whether sharing presence with a rural village woman’s soft soul, visiting Gandhian elders and capturing their stories of simplicity, or anchoring a pay-it-forward restaurant in her hometown of Baroda, India. Most recently, she engaged a 6-week laddership internship with 20 college students!

Makala Kozo Hattori is a surfer, father, counselor and educator who carries a writer’s eye for beauty in everyday moments as he raises compassionate boys in the Bay Area, CA. Agenuine experimenter in service, his most recent inspiration is a 94-year-old woman for whom he gave hospice care.

Geetanjali Chakraborty followed a path in scientific research at Georgetown and Stanford University before diving deep into Ayurveda. Now based in Bay Area, CA, she’s an Associate Faculty of Ayurvedic Phramacology, and actively integrates its teachings both in her life, and to make it accessible to all.

Deven Shah asked: What does it take to create value with the assumption that we’re driven by a heart of service? Having spent 15 years in marketing, digital media and personal finance, he’s now nurturing Startup Service Gatherings for entrepreneurs to give rise to labor-of-love projects while unlocking new forms of capital and transforming themselves along the way.

And our vibrant crew of volunteers and space-holders include:

Hailing from Singapore, Min Lee is social entrepreneur with a heart of gold who co-runsPlayMoolah, where she inspires transformation through community Honesty Circles and digital games that re-examine the deeper values in money and life.

Zilong Wang carries a depth of presence that unfolds from perspective-shifting undertakings like biking across country or being nominated by his classmates to give the undergradcommencement address. A sustainability analyst by day, he walks his talk in daily life as a resident love warrior at Casa de Paz (House of Peace).

Birju Pandya comes from the world of finance and investment, but moved to San Franciscoto “step up my alignment”. He once swapped his first class flight upgrade to a woman in economy, finds great joy serving in the “mailroom”, and is a visionary behind KindSpring’s 21-day challenge portal.

Preeta Bansal's dedication to work that uplifts is endless. Most recently infusing her spirit of service at MIT's Laboratory for Social Machines, her deep commitment to social work has brought her to lecture and practice law in high-profile settings while staying grounded inclassic truths.

A good day for Nicole Huguenin is when "I get to see someone realize one of their dreams." An educator for half a decade, she found herself called to walk, and has since sparked Wild Dream Walks, a space to walk and hold circle with others around each other's wildest dreams.

Audrey Lin is constantly blown away by the field of possibility that emerge from these spaces. She gets grounded by the power of kindness, and grateful for opportunities tocultivate compassion quotient.        

Posted by Nipun Mehta on Jun 11, 2015