If you are here unfaithfully with us, you’re causing terrible damage.If you’ve opened your loving to All love, you’re helping people you don’t know
and have never seen. Is what I say true? Say yes quickly,if you know, if you’ve known it from before the beginning of the universe.
Who We Meet Along the Way
Amy Hall, EILEEN FISHER Director of Social Consciousness Writes:
It never ceases to amaze me how often people or events from the past find their way back into my life in unexpected ways – especially from the pre-Facebook or Linked-In era, when we exchanged real business cards or attended live workshops.
Such was the case when I attended what I now believe to be my first ever sustainability-focused conference in October 2004. I flew to Detroit and made my way to the Ford Motor Company headquarters where I joined a throng of business people at the Sustainable Business Forum. There, amidst a palpable buzz of energy, I had four memorable – no, life-changing – experiences that shape how I view the world today.
The first was witnessing Jeanine Benyus and her mind-blowing business concept called, “Biomimicry.” Jeanine, a scientist from Montana, had landed on the revolutionary approach to solving everyday business problems: imitate Mother Nature, for she has already figured it out. I saw her slides of technicolor butterfly wings that required no dyes to achieve their brilliance, sticky gecko feet that required no adhesives to cling to all kinds of surfaces, and waterproof plants that use no chemical rain repellants to keep dry. Each one held a secret to rethinking our approach to textile dyes, fabric finishes, and everyday items we take for granted.
The second was Juanita Brown, the founder of the World Café. For the first time in my life, I sat at what amounted to a card table for quick, focused conversation around the topic of the moment. Four of us – among a sea of card tables in the massive room – aired our ideas, offered solutions, and drew a shared picture of our conversation before moving on to the next table, where we built on the conversation that had just taken place there. In one brief hour, a room of three-hundred strangers had engaged in compelling conversation around the topic of sustainability. It was exhilarating.
The third discovery was graphic recording. During every conference session, a quiet, hard-working artist would stand on the side of the room capturing the proceedings on lengths of large craft paper taped to the wall. They weren’t taking notes in the traditional sense. They were illustrating the conversations with flourishes of bubbles, arrows, people and rainbows. They captured the spirit of the room in dynamic color and shape. These were meeting notes I’d want to look at again and again.
And then there was Sara. This symphony of a conference (I really even hate to use the word “conference,” for it was so much more than that) was orchestrated by Sara Schley, her husband Joe Laur, and their company Seed Systems. I remember first noticing Sara’s voice. It is slightly raspy, as if she stayed up too late the night before, deep in conversation about the secrets of the universe. But then I noticed that she seemed to be about my age, yet she was emceeing this extraordinary event. She exuded warmth, happiness, humility and authenticity – all qualities I look for in a person. I immediately knew that I wanted to learn from her, both about sustainability in general and about being truly present in this world as an individual.
And then, just like that, I was back in New York, living out my regular life in my regular – yet much-enriched – way. Who knew that I would unexpectedly and delightfully reconnect with each of these discoveries down the road?
Ten years later and Sara and I are working together on our sustainability transformation at EILEEN FISHER!