SVI 2008 Reflections

It's been a little over a week but we are still basking in the glow of the 13th Annual SVI at Hollyhock.  We had a remarkable group of people join us for four days of skill building, networking, truth telling, and beautiful sunshine.  This year, we were thrilled to have 130 of the finest social change leaders join us.  When developing the agenda and inviting the participants, we are never quite sure of what the final outcome will be, but we're always sure that there will be some magic. 

A special thank you goes out to our True Confessions Speakers, Alison Lawton, Mark Deutschmann, and Adrienne Marie Brown who each played an integral role.  It definitely takes a village to create a potent event like SVI. We have so many people who contributed to the success... thank you!  We're clear that the SVI magic comes not only from being at Hollyhock but from the people who actively choose to come and participate.  Here's what some of this year's participants have to say:

"SVI created and inspired the desire and motivation to achieve the next step in my personal and corporate development. All this was done from a place of hope and truth and with the conviction that it is absolutely possible. Thank you for this!"

-Jennifer Williams, La Siembra Co-operative

"I go to a lot of conferences, but this was really valuable because of the culture of caring for each other's business and recognizing that we all have a number of skills, but maybe not all of the skills that are required. And then it was very rewarding to see the gentle prodding of more experienced business people to not be afraid, to expand cautiously, and dream big."

-Doug Makaroff, Living Forest Communities

"The quality of people who attend this event and the energy that is created makes me hopeful for a new way of doing business, caring for each other and treading more lightly on the planet."

-2008 Participant

"It was very powerful to be surrounded by so many people with common values and such great vision."

-Trish Kelly, Horizon Distributors

"This was, by far, the best conference I have ever been to. I had a phenomenal time at this conference. Not only did I learn a lot and feel very inspired, but I also just had so much fun. I felt rejuvenated in spirit, mind, and body. I appreciated that the participants came from such a variety of industries, causes, and walks of life. There were small entrepreneurs and large real estate developers and investors. However, the atmosphere created by SVI and Hollyhock created a sense of fellowship and solidarity amongst all the participants. I felt I could sit down and strike up a conversation with anyone in the room. Everyone was willing to listen, help, and contribute to each other. What a great experience. Thank you!"

-Nadaa Taiyab, ClimateStream Consulting

"We're so busy in our lives that we rarely have a chance to practice being connected. I feel like I've just attended a four day yoga workshop as all of the activities felt similar to a yoga posture. Thank you for creating space to work with and explore whatever is brought up."

- Michael Ziff, Twice Shy

"SVI has been an extremely valuable experience and I feel so honoured to have been a part of it.  I think what has touched me most is the authentic experience of community and collaboration. The African term 'Ubuntu' a Xhosa word best described by Desmond Tutu as, "I am human, because I belong, I participate, I share" is how I can best described what I have experienced at SVI. What overwhelmed me so much Sunday greeting you (other than extreme sleep deprivation) was that ever since I came to Canada I've been working on ways to go back to Africa and show others that experience of Ubuntu that exists in Africa and is so often forgotten in the western world with its busy schedules. But this weekend I experienced it in Canada. It felt like home."

-de Villiers van Zyl, Ubuntu Productions

"SVI is one of two important gatherings for mission based or "triple bottom line" businesses. It's an important network and an incubator for new ideas and thinking for socially responsible businesses.  It's a space where new staff and board members can get oriented to and it provides safe place where larger companies can test new strategies and get feedback on them before they invest in them."

-Shauna Sylvester, Canada's World

"I'm still not done downloading what was a phenomenal experience, nor do I have clear sense of who I am as a result of that transformational process, but here's how I see it ... You take us to a remote island. You dehydrate us with hot tubs. You sleep-deprive us with parties. Then you immerse us in sessions filled with hard honest and true compassion, with some of the most inspiring and skilled people we have ever met." 

-Stephanie Sauvé

"During the closing party, I found myself shuffling on the dance floor while eating a piece of chocolate cake beside someone else doing the same, and I leaned in and said "you know that you must have made a few good decisions along the way when you find yourself on Cortes Island dancing and eating cake".  Although life for so many of us and for the people that we work with is far from a cakewalk, it's good to know that sometimes, on Cortes Island, at a place called Hollyhock, life can actually be a funky cake-dance."

-Philippe Lucas, Vancouver Island Compassion Society and Candidate for Victoria City Council