What happens in a Community Connect meeting? It is an agenda free meeting simply to do what it says - connect with the community. What happens depends on who shows up, and IHMA leaders who host, simply hold space and lightly facilitate and share information as needed. New comers who are curious about IHMA can come to simply experience who we are and what some of us might be upto. Regulars of IHMA events come to have conversations about anything related to the overall mission of IHMA, around promoting human dignity and societal well-being. Each meeting is unique but you can get an idea of what to expect with how one meeting went.
This February, Community Connect was hosted by two of the US chapter team members. Ten people attended: A faculty member who has attended IHMA workshops at the Academy of Management signed in from Japan, waking up at 3am, to share his thoughts on organizational transformation. An organizational development consultant from Seattle who had heard from a colleague about IHMA and wanted to check out who we are and what we do. The PhD students in attendance included one studying compassion from Europe, now studying in Oregon, US, another pursuing Humanistic ideas in Varanasi, India, and another pursuing his studies in Organizational Behavior. A Dutch accountant joined from the Netherlands. Introductory comments led us to discussions on the integration of qualitative and quantitative research methods for rigour and relevance in our work, followed by a longer discussion about the idea of beauty and what that might mean in the context of our work. How might we use beauty to promote dignity for all, with inclusive ways of being? Interdisciplinary, practice-relevant, rigorous research based, ideas were shared, with some web-sites and examples offered up by attendees in the chat of the zoom room, as we questioned the many examples of experiences with personal and social transformations in organizations. Before we knew it, the hour was up.
There was a sense of joy and gratitude as we began a closing round to hear from each one. We had inspired each other with what we each spontaneously shared. In her closing remarks, the consultant remarked, cheerfully, that her mind was blown. She had never imagined that beauty could be a topic in organizational context, with so many who have worked on it seriously, even though she had only ever considered it in the usual ways of thinking about beauty in physical appearances, mostly. For me, as one of the hosts, this led to a realization of my own journey. A decade ago, when I was a newcomer to the community, and excited about what seemed too idealistic, my mind was blown similarly. Now, after a decade with IHMA folks, who are each doing amazing things in their own work, it seems usual to me. It was good to be reminded that this is still cutting edge outside our community. I noticed that this diversity of voices, different nationalities, careers, positions as student, consultant, or faculty, different disciplinary and research interests, variety of skill sets, and many other ways we might be seen as different, had united quickly, as we simply showed up as fully human. Our interactions were based on dignity, respect and quickly established trust, because we were all inspired by our shared aspiration and faith in the IHMA mission. The authenticity in our conversation came from a place of literally not having too many other places in the world where these connections can occur. We all need community, and connection. It was an honor to be able to co-host this time, and has been a pleasure to participate often in this monthly gathering. Come drop in sometime for some community connection.