by Maggie Kaplan, Founder and Executive Director, ITP" /> by Maggie Kaplan, Founder and Executive Director, ITP" /> by Maggie Kaplan, Founder and Executive Director, ITP" /> "The Power of the Pause" by Maggie Kaplan, Founder and Executive Director, ITP - Invoking the Pause - Blog
View Blog Archive ITP Blog - Archives > "The Power of the Pause" by Maggie Kaplan, Founder and Executive Director, ITP

Posted - 11/17/2015
"The Power of the Pause" by Maggie Kaplan, Founder and Executive Director, ITP
Pause_Power.jpgIn looking back 8 years to the origins of ITP, I continue to be inspired by how my twin visions:  (i)offering a pause in busy professionals’ lives in a place of natural beauty for reflection and development of initiatives about some aspects of climate change combined with (ii) the power of working collaboratively and even among cross-disciplines -- continue to be validated in work on this enormous planetary issue. 

Learning, collaborating, and connecting have been at the heart of my vision for  ITP to catalyze strategies to address climate change realities:
Fostering knowledge sharing
Providing time for people to share their knowledge, networks and ideas, and --
Nurturing networks, building alliances, and making introductions
Five years ago, I expanded my vision from just facilitating individual grant partner pauses by bringing together the first 3 years of Grant Partners to meet, learn, share each others’ work and networks.  We began the seeds of building an ITP community.  Since then, we have institutionalized a “Collective Group Pause”  each October  around the time of the Bioneers Conference.  We have held one day gatherings for current and former Grant Partners to come together and continue to build a larger and more diverse ITP community.

This year we expanded again that concept in our annual fall ITP Grant Partner Gathering, a few weeks ago at the beautiful Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma.  We added a few ITP firstsIMG_2575.JPG
Inviting in addition to current and former Grant Partners  -- “outsider allies” -- from various business and non-profit organizations with an interest in both climate change and the workings of a small but nimble non-profit.
This was the largest gathering with about 40 people attending, and expanded to an overnight retreat.
These factors added an extra dose of potent energy, vitality, and new perspectives for both grant partners and outsider allies!

After the Gathering, we sent out a survey questionnaire to everyone who attended, looking for their feedback in a number of areas.
We asked:  what was the part of the Gathering that provided the greatest value for their work?: 

Over 72% of all attendees  -- “having the time to take a Pause” from the normal workday schedule and gain a fresh new perspective!

Ranking second at 64%  -- taking part in informal discussions during meals, breaks, campfire & music time.
Almost 50% ranked  --   listening to grant partner presentations and participating in the collateral delights round table discussions as the greatest value for their work.
We also asked about their favorite positive and/or unexpected results from the Gathering:
IMG_2251.JPGWhat stood out as the most important result-- from 66% of all respondents -- was getting introduced to new colleagues, followed by 50% hearing about other interesting work in the field, and 39% tied for leaving with a handful of good ideas, ability to expand their networks, and potential new partnerships!

Additionally, over 73% of both Grant Partners and “outsider allies” found that the Gathering helped them think more strategically about their work.

When analyzing this data, I see that the original visions for ITP  really continue to provide enormous value for our growing ITP community.    “The power of the Pause” -- stepping outside of hectic daily work and life constraints in a place of natural beauty —allows people the time and space to relax, “ open up” and engage with others in a fresh and collegial way. 

Ted Bucklin, one of the Westerbeke Ranch owners, remarked  just before the start of the formal program the first afternoon, that this was really a “zesty” group!!  At that point, people were just hanging out by the pool and on the lusciously landscaped grounds.  Yet the upbeat, buzzing energy was palpable!

As another returning grant partner said:  ITP is beginning to reveal the return on investment of my commitment—not just in people, but in the relationships between people.”  He has experienced how former grant partners who keep returning are infusing new ideas, partnering with fellow “alums”, visioning and supporting new partners. He finds this rare.

Building an engaged and growing community of different backgrounds and perspectives requires perseverance, dedication, consistency, and a longer-term perspective.  I feel so grateful for how the ITP community has grown to date.
 I look forward to helping shape and expand its reach in the coming year(s) with the help and support of our current and former grant partners, as well as  our new “allies”.  They are no longer “outsiders”,  but now part of our growing ITP family.  Already, I have heard from several “allies” who have made follow-up connections with some of the grant partners and other allies.  (Stay tuned for future updates on these developments!!)  I look forward to how their engagement will help shape the future directions and impact of Invoking the Pause.

Photo credits:  Chito Floriano