Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Technology and Social Change Connect at Web of Change

More than 100 self-described thinkers and doers in social media, digital strategy, and social change converged at Esalen in October for an innovative annual conference called Web of Change. Founded in 2001, Web of Change alumni have gone on to lead transformational change in such organizations as Greenpeace, Presente.org, 350.org, and the National Counsel of La Raza. This year’s conference attracted more than 400 applicants.

Sabrina Hersi Issa, who sits on the Web of Change board of directors in addition to serving as co-founder of End Famine and CEO of Be Bold Media, described her first conference as transformative. “The experience was a game-changer,” she says. “I returned home energized, restored, and healed.”

The following is our conversation with Sabrina as the organization prepared for the 2015 gathering at Esalen:



eNews: Thanks for chatting with us, Sabrina. In addition to heading your own digital agency, you are involved with a number of social change initiatives. Please tell us how you first became involved in social change and, specifically, with Web of Change.

My commitment to social change stems from my background: I’m from Somalia and am a proud first-generation American who always wanted to direct my career in a way to give back to the country that gave my family a second chance at a peaceful life. I also am a black woman in America living through times we were told were behind us.

So I became involved in social change simply because I could not afford not to fight for progress and justice. I began my career as a journalist, developing independent media in post-conflict states and emerging democracies. Today, I proudly work at the intersection of technology and social change, reimagining how technology and media can expand access to humanitarian relief and champion human rights around the world.

Four years ago, I got involved with Web of Change thanks to friend and fellow board member, Shayna Englin, who recommended it to me. At the time, I barely knew Shayna and didn’t really get what Web of Change was but I took a leap and never regretted it.

eNews: Like Esalen, Web of Change holds as one of its core values transformation. How, as an organization, do you encourage transformation within your members and in your communities?

For each participant, the experience is different but at every level, from our volunteer Leadership Team to our incredible facilitators, we do our best to set the tone for a community which practices radical hospitality, where you as a whole person are truly seen and where vulnerability is a strength. From a board perspective, there is a tremendous amount of effort put into modeling this intentionality that shows up in how we work, set priorities, and share lessons.

As one Web of Changer wrote to me, “To build beloved community, you must be beloved community.” Ultimately, this is a conference and community that was built with love embedded throughout and love is the most transformational force of all.

eNews: As 2015 Event Chair, what do you hope to achieve at this year’s conference at Esalen?

Throughout the entire planning process, my intention for this year’s Web of Change has been to spark courage, both in our personal leadership and in our movements. My further intention is to amplify dopeness.

eNews: How can technology contribute to leading positive social change?

Technology is not a mass equalizer, but it can be a force multiplier, it can accelerate. It can focus on supporting technology and technologists which accelerate progress, access, and equity. An excellent example of this is VoterVOX, a Web of Change-inspired civic technology designed to provide translation support for voters with limited English proficiency, making democracy more accessible for all.

eNews: As Web of Change prepares to celebrate its 15th anniversary next year, how has it changed as an organization? What transformation do you see in its future?

In the four years I’ve been involved, Web of Change has already transformed so much that its DNA has changed. The most radical shift I’ve witnessed has been the fact that this conference, from beginning to end, has truly been co-created with its community. As a woman of color, it has also been incredibly rewarding to witness the board and the WOC community intentionally set a commitment and work towards meaningful diversity and inclusion.

We have transformed how we build this experience, and who is there, but the potential of what comes out of Web of Change is only the beginning. The transformation I see in the future is a surge of exceptional innovations, collaborations, and contributions to social change that can be traced back to this community. I see brave leaders tackling complicated problems with courage, grace, and support with deep commitment to personal growth.

~~~~~

To learn more about Web of Change, visit http://www.webofchange.com.

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

Technology and Social Change Connect at Web of Change

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop

More than 100 self-described thinkers and doers in social media, digital strategy, and social change converged at Esalen in October for an innovative annual conference called Web of Change. Founded in 2001, Web of Change alumni have gone on to lead transformational change in such organizations as Greenpeace, Presente.org, 350.org, and the National Counsel of La Raza. This year’s conference attracted more than 400 applicants.

Sabrina Hersi Issa, who sits on the Web of Change board of directors in addition to serving as co-founder of End Famine and CEO of Be Bold Media, described her first conference as transformative. “The experience was a game-changer,” she says. “I returned home energized, restored, and healed.”

The following is our conversation with Sabrina as the organization prepared for the 2015 gathering at Esalen:



eNews: Thanks for chatting with us, Sabrina. In addition to heading your own digital agency, you are involved with a number of social change initiatives. Please tell us how you first became involved in social change and, specifically, with Web of Change.

My commitment to social change stems from my background: I’m from Somalia and am a proud first-generation American who always wanted to direct my career in a way to give back to the country that gave my family a second chance at a peaceful life. I also am a black woman in America living through times we were told were behind us.

So I became involved in social change simply because I could not afford not to fight for progress and justice. I began my career as a journalist, developing independent media in post-conflict states and emerging democracies. Today, I proudly work at the intersection of technology and social change, reimagining how technology and media can expand access to humanitarian relief and champion human rights around the world.

Four years ago, I got involved with Web of Change thanks to friend and fellow board member, Shayna Englin, who recommended it to me. At the time, I barely knew Shayna and didn’t really get what Web of Change was but I took a leap and never regretted it.

eNews: Like Esalen, Web of Change holds as one of its core values transformation. How, as an organization, do you encourage transformation within your members and in your communities?

For each participant, the experience is different but at every level, from our volunteer Leadership Team to our incredible facilitators, we do our best to set the tone for a community which practices radical hospitality, where you as a whole person are truly seen and where vulnerability is a strength. From a board perspective, there is a tremendous amount of effort put into modeling this intentionality that shows up in how we work, set priorities, and share lessons.

As one Web of Changer wrote to me, “To build beloved community, you must be beloved community.” Ultimately, this is a conference and community that was built with love embedded throughout and love is the most transformational force of all.

eNews: As 2015 Event Chair, what do you hope to achieve at this year’s conference at Esalen?

Throughout the entire planning process, my intention for this year’s Web of Change has been to spark courage, both in our personal leadership and in our movements. My further intention is to amplify dopeness.

eNews: How can technology contribute to leading positive social change?

Technology is not a mass equalizer, but it can be a force multiplier, it can accelerate. It can focus on supporting technology and technologists which accelerate progress, access, and equity. An excellent example of this is VoterVOX, a Web of Change-inspired civic technology designed to provide translation support for voters with limited English proficiency, making democracy more accessible for all.

eNews: As Web of Change prepares to celebrate its 15th anniversary next year, how has it changed as an organization? What transformation do you see in its future?

In the four years I’ve been involved, Web of Change has already transformed so much that its DNA has changed. The most radical shift I’ve witnessed has been the fact that this conference, from beginning to end, has truly been co-created with its community. As a woman of color, it has also been incredibly rewarding to witness the board and the WOC community intentionally set a commitment and work towards meaningful diversity and inclusion.

We have transformed how we build this experience, and who is there, but the potential of what comes out of Web of Change is only the beginning. The transformation I see in the future is a surge of exceptional innovations, collaborations, and contributions to social change that can be traced back to this community. I see brave leaders tackling complicated problems with courage, grace, and support with deep commitment to personal growth.

~~~~~

To learn more about Web of Change, visit http://www.webofchange.com.

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Technology and Social Change Connect at Web of Change

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About

Esalen Team

Technology and Social Change Connect at Web of Change

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Esalen Team

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