Working with Hollyhock

 Friday July 13, 2012

Camille Jensen, Axiom News

One of the first events I attended as a newcomer to Vancouver was Vert-ality, a once-a-year party for the sustainability movement. Entering the event I was handed a small booklet entitled “Hollyhock,” while overhearing fellow patrons strike up conversations about their most recent Hollyhock experience or upcoming course at the lifelong centre located on Cortes Island.

At the time, I had never heard of Hollyhock or its progressive education and conferences.

That was year and a half ago, and I learned quickly. As a writer of stories engaging Vancouver’s social innovation community, it’s hard not to trip over Hollyhock's influence and impact.

That's not surprising, as Hollyhock has been nourishing, inspiring and supporting people making the world better for more than 20 years. In fact, Hollyhock helped cultivate leaders like Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and City Councillor Andrea Reimer, both who are now leading Vancouver to become the greenest city in the world by 2020.

Hollyhock is also behind the growth of large-scale values-based businesses like Stonyfield Farm, an international organic yogurt company that offsets 100 per cent of its manufacturing carbon-dioxide emissions, and Salt Spring Coffee, a now $10-million coffee company pioneering a new approach to fair trade.
Now, Metro Vancouver is hailed as the “Social Silicon Valley,” and Hollyhock and its ability to advance relationships, learning and collaboration in business, technology and social change sectors has had a leading role in that show.

As a news agency working with organizations engaged in social and economic transition, we couldn’t imagine a better ally.

That’s why I’m proud to boast we’re now working with Hollyhock.

Since May, Axiom News is partnering with Hollyhock to write news and stories stemming from its social innovation conferences: Social Venture Institute, Web of Change, Social Change Institute and Media that Matters.

It’s a different Stakeholder News program than our usual — we attend and participate at Hollyhock’s conferences. We also interview speakers and participants to share their incredible work and ideas with the Hollyhock community and beyond.

It’s an intimate, sometimes intense form of journalism. Every story we research, interview, and write is about relationship, innovation and change. It's about risk-taking, cliff-jumping, and social tectonics — shifting the status quo. I feel incredibly lucky to be taking part in this form of journalism. Not only do I grow personally from the rich learning experiences Hollyhock facilitates, but its community is just as magnificent.

The people attending Hollyhock are smart, open and — as Vanessa LeBourdais says — “gift minded.” They offer their experience and skills freely to support others. The more you give the more you receive is a way-of-being at Hollyhock.

The learning model is also unique. Its conferences mix personal and professional skill-building, understanding that healthier people lead to healthier organizations and a healthier world. During the conferences there is time for both spontaneous creativity and quiet reflection. And, did I mention the parties? Letting loose and having fun is how longstanding relationships form.
I’ve been told many have returned to Hollyhock 10 or more times, and consider it crucial to their career success.

At Axiom News, we often remind ourselves how lucky we are to be part of, and learn from, the organizations we call our clients. Being a part of the change they are creating is, without doubt, the most rewarding experience for a journalist. So, it's with this enthusiasm, and also a deep sense of admiration that we welcome Hollyhock as a new partner.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


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