Redefining “Business as Usual”

Steps Toward a Values Aligned Transformation and a More Just World

Like many of you, very little about our days (or nights or weekends for that matter) look the way they did before the global pandemic. Our perceptions of “normal” have been tested. What we thought “being flexible” meant has stretched in unimaginable ways. “Plans” have been replaced with uncertainty and unknowns. Losses of every kind mount. We have all been asked to question, examine, and re-evaluate: what matters?

As a global community, we first made changes in our daily routines to save lives and prevent the spread of this virus. At LJIST, this meant cancelling all of our in-person workshops, conferences, and keynotes. Then we came together to meet the moment of racial uprising in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.  And again, LJIST pivoted. This time to bring people together in virtual spaces to continue our ever-more meaningful work and experience of nearly 30 years of racial healing. It’s pretty hard to believe it’s only been a year since the start of the pandemic because some days it feels like so much longer.

We are at a pivotal moment for transformation. We will be tempted to, even try to, return to “normal.” Like a well-worn sweater on a crisp fall day, we will seek to wrap ourselves in the trappings of “pre-COVID” life. As we tire of pandemic rituals we didn’t solicit, and especially once the vaccine becomes more widely available, the old, patterned ways will call to us. We might think our pulls for “comfort” and acts of “normality” will quiet the yearnings and assuage the fears. But when we look past the societal messages of nostalgia, we see that way of life that never worked and wasn’t just for all. How can we use this moment to identify what we don’t want to return to? How can we actively challenge the hurts and misinformation we have all internalized from oppressive institutions? What steps can we take to move not only ourselves and our families forward, but also all communities and the planet as well?

We will be exploring how to center justice as we move into the future with our community in the months ahead. There are many organizations who are engaged in this work as well. We won’t pretend that we have all the answers at this moment. What we can say, with reflection, is that some of the changes we have been implementing at LJIST over the last few months are part of a societal re-visioning we want to play a role in. These changes are less about a reaction to the pandemic, and more about a greater alignment with our core values as a social enterprise committed to ending racism—in our lifetime.

Gathering In-Person

On Hold Until 2022: We decided in April 2020 that we would not schedule in-person events until at least January 2022. We want a safe, affordable, and accessible vaccine available to all before bringing groups of people together. This is a public health issue as well as a social justice issue for us. We realize there is no substitute for what happens in the shared physical spaces of our workshops and keynotes. We will gather in person together again, once that is possible for more than a few and once it won’t compromise the well-being of the whole. (Part of our commitment to support the well-being of the whole also means limiting what will warrant airplane travel. See below for more details!)

Transformational Programs: Based on participant and client feedback, we are successfully bringing compelling, cutting-edge, and meaningful content and community-building to virtual spaces (see “Staying Virtual” section below). Nevertheless, some content doesn’t and won’t translate to virtual. We have decided to prioritize and limit in-person offerings to our Transformational Programs’ retreats.* These intensive programs are best served by gathering in-person. If you want to get onto our calendar for 2022, the soonest we will be scheduling in-person programs, contact us!

Both for our personal health and well-being, as well as the health and well-being of the planet, we will no longer fly for one day or one-off events. We also don’t want to tempt others to do so in order to experience our work. We hope you will (continue to) join us virtually instead!

*We will consider traveling for 3 (or more) in-person one-day workshops as long as they are in the same space (no travel or break down/set up). Contact our office for more details.

Staying Virtual

Healing Together Gatherings (HTGs): We’ve been thrilled with the response to the dãna (gift) 90-minute Healing Together Gatherings that started as a response to COVID but have become a virtual space for up to 90 people to come together on a range of topics related to ending racism! We will continue to offer these on the fourth Wednesday of most months from 11:00A-12:30P Pacific/2:00P-3:30P Eastern in 2021 and the foreseeable future. HTGs make our work more accessible to more people (free of cost, shorter duration, no travel necessary, no on-going commitment, no prior training or experience necessary, etc.) and allow us to be more topical and responsive. Sign up for our next Healing Together Series today!

On-Demand Webinars: This summer many people came to us looking for ready content. Pretty quickly we realized we could not keep up with the demand. We recognized our growing community would benefit from access to some of our core teachings when they need it—not based on our availability. We now provide On-Demand Webinars! These 1-hour pre-recorded webinars are available for individual as well as medium and large group licenses. They provide another accessible and even more convenient way to get a taste of our approach for new clients and expose returning clients to some of our new material. Regardless of when you purchase your license, you will have 14 days to watch. Organizations can choose when to “start your clock” based on what works best for your team or to align with other group learning/activities. We will be growing this library of webinars over the next few months! 

Virtual Workshops: If you are intrigued by the recorded webinar content or already know you want a deeper, live experience, we now have a suite of Virtual Workshops available. We have received rave reviews about our Virtual Workshop design. We meet all learning styles, provide live captioning, host awesome dance party breaks, and expose participants to some of the most innovative, powerful social justice content around. Each Virtual Workshop has 9 hours of live facilitated content and 3+ hours of asynchronistic learning materials. All Virtual Workshops are limited to 32 participants.

+Public Offerings: We will continue to offer our Virtual Workshops to the public. This allows:

1. A way to experience a workshop before deciding to bring it to your organization (On-Demand Webinars can also serve this purpose)

2. Individuals to participate even if they don’t have an organizational affiliation or their organization isn’t able to bring our workshop in-house

3. Small teams, staff, or committees to attend together for a group discount

4. Regularly scheduled opportunities for people who are new to LJIST to experience our approach first-hand or returners to learn new content.

These Virtual Workshops sell-out quickly! You can sign up directly on our Events Calendar!

+In-House Offerings: If you want to bring LJIST to your organization, we’ve made that easy for you as well! We deliver two multi-day offerings per month. Our availability is published on our Virtual Workshop Deposit page, where you can secure your date by paying a deposit. Limiting our multi-day deliveries to two per month supports us to focus on each client, provide adequate staffing (we have a team of 4 on each virtual delivery), uphold our quality of work, and keep time available for shorter engagements. The Virtual Workshop schedule is set for Tuesdays-Thursdays, 10:00A-1:00P (Pacific) each day. We are flexible for an earlier or later start time as long as the workshop times fall within usual business hours for the Pacific Time Zone. We will consider times not during usual business hours or a Friday or weekend delivery schedule for an additional “After Hours” fee. Our intention is to ensure necessary fallow time for restoration and reflection. Learn more and check our availability!

+Accompanying Webinars: We’ve designed the On-Demand Webinar and Virtual Workshop suites so that most Virtual Workshops have an accompanying Webinar (see above). The On-Demand Webinars provide an opportunity to preview one key teaching from the corresponding Virtual Workshop. They also make sharing a piece of the workshop experience with family, friends, and/or colleagues possible (something our participants have asked for for decades!)

Keynotes: Nanci has delivered a number of successful virtual keynotes in these last few months and will continue to offer—and encourage—virtual keynotes going forward. There may be times when we will make exceptions to this, but for the most part we hope to minimize air travel for these kinds of deliveries. Keynote evaluation responses show overwhelming agreement that the one thing that would have made the address “even better” was to have it in person. We will continue to re-assess keynote deliveries but for now, we are #stayingvirtual! Contact us to book Nanci for your event!

Social Justice Coaching: We have experienced an uptick in requests for coaching and have implemented a couple of changes that we are excited to offer in an on-going way! We have enhanced our suite of coaching programs by:

  • Explicitly focusing on social justice (and putting that specialization in the program title)
  • Creating a dedicated coaching site to support each program and coachee
  • Building in more support for coachees with relevant videos, handouts, and resources 

Our coaching suite now includes four programs: Intro Coaching, Facilitation Coaching, Transforming Relationships Coaching*, and Transforming Leadership Coaching*.

Kathleen Rice is available for our newest Social Justice Coaching Program: Facilitation Coaching, which centers social justice and LJIST teachings for facilitators. Learn more or sign up today! Like our Intro Coaching Package, no pre-requisites are required to sign up.

*We still require completion of the Transforming Relationships Program (formerly Transformational Communication Program) to engage in our year-long Transforming Relationships Coaching Program and completion of the Transforming Leadership Program to enroll in our Transforming Leadership Coaching Program. We will make an exception for people accepted in the LJIST Apprentice Program through the end of 2022.

Sustainable Access

Workshop Schedule: As mentioned above, we are limiting our multi-day deliveries to twice a month on a set schedule. This supports our staffing, planning and flow, and optimizes our commitment to be fully present for each client and every delivery. Our In-Person Transformational Programs will also use these same time slots (but scheduled over Tuesday through Friday) starting in 2022. We realize this will take more advance planning to align schedules and also recognize this might not work for every client or organization. While we will work to be flexible and responsive, we also realize we may lose some clients or contracts as a result. Of course, this is a loss for both of us. Yet we are also hopeful that your needs will be met in other ways either by other consultants or attending one of our other programs.

Retainer Clients: We now offer a small number of Organizational Development Retainers for clients who want a longer-term commitment with LJIST. Retainers are available for six-month or one-year terms at two levels: one meeting per month or two. We protect time on our calendar to support these clients with the full range of our services. We now only offer our facilitation services to our Retainer Clients, with the exception of the Social Justice Historical Journey (a powerful process for telling the collective DEI history of an organization, providing a framework for healing, and establishing next steps for moving forward as a group). Our social justice facilitation is best served by clients who are already familiar with our approach and have made the commitment to use these practices and frameworks in their organization. We are currently at capacity for our Retainer Contracts but if you would like to be added to a waitlist or check our future availability, please contact us.

Licensees: During the last few months, we launched our pilot licensing program! We are excited to share that The Next Door, Inc. is a LJIST licensee for our Getting Listened To virtual session. Over the summer, we certified 6 facilitators in 4 roles to deliver this content in The Columbia River Gorge. We are exploring expanding this offering in Spanish as well! If you live or work in The Gorge, this is another way for you to access LJIST teachings! Learn more about The Next Door, Inc. and our partnership in our Partner Profile.

LJIST Scholarship Program: With the generosity of our community, LJIST has also implemented a Scholarship Fund. We will offer a limited number of partial scholarships for our public Virtual Workshops and, starting in 2022, for our In-Person Transformational Programs as well. To expand access and ensure commitment, all scholarships are partial scholarships. We believe it is important that each person pay what they are able or get support from others to help them pay something to participate in our programs. Learn more about this program, contribute, or learn if you are eligible and apply.

LJIST Community Membership: This fall we launched our latest program to make our work more accessible to people who want more access to Nanci and LJIST teaching beyond coaching, webinars, and workshops and who might not yet be ready or able to commit to our LJIST Apprenticeship Program. The annual LJIST Community Membership comes with a number of benefits, including unlimited viewing of our On-Demand Webinars, 20% off public workshop registration, members only “Fireside Chats” with Nanci, and so much more! Learn more or sign up today!

LJIST Office Changes

A year ago, before the pandemic lock-down began, we decided to pilot a 4-day work week. In all honesty, we’ve struggled to honor this commitment of keeping the office closed on Fridays with the demands for our work in 2020. Instead, we re-purposed our Fridays for writing, new program development (see all that’s new above!), and other operational projects. As we get into a new rhythm, though, we will seek to enjoy our work on a Monday through Thursday schedule as much as possible going forward.

As a core LJIST office team, we are a small group of raised poor/working-class women. The shift to a four-day work week has provided an opportunity for us to push against internalized messages of scarcity and pulls to be productive and “keep doing more” often at the expense of our health and wellbeing. Especially in the United States, we are seeing greater sacrifices made by females during this time of “working from home” (or are we living at work?). This moment of racial reckoning is also pushing many of us to sacrifice ourselves for the cause.

While the shift to a 4-day work week boasts benefits like more time at home with our families, to be creative, and rest, it is also our intention to have a business model that reflects our values and the just world we want.

The last year asked us to check-in with ourselves: how can we remain aligned with our values, center justice and create lasting, sustainable transformative changes in us and our society? We hope you will join us in our commitment to end racism in our lifetimes. This is doable but it’s not a sprint. And it won’t happen by returning to “business as usual.” Together, in community and with healing, we can act, decisively and guided by love, to transform our world.

We hope you will support us as we seek a more sustainable work schedule. We look forward to your feedback as we find the elegant solution.