I So Appreciate You!

Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation

I So Appreciate You! is a sometimes raw, sometimes funny and always uniquely insightful account of two colleagues and friends who dig into myriad issues and opportunities faced by people in values-based work. Get inspired by guests from a variety of backgrounds and sectors as I So Appreciate You! explores the challenges and triumphs of people shaking up our community for the better — discussing how these leaders got to where they are today and how they continue to move us forward. read less
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Episodios

Liminal Space: Balancing Your Succession Plan
20-02-2024
Liminal Space: Balancing Your Succession Plan
In Season 3 Episode 6 of I So Appreciate You!, co-hosts Nadege Souvenir and Melanie Hoffert explore why succession planning is so important and what individuals and organizations can do to make leadership transitions successful for everyone involved. Guests Carmen Giménez and Ruby Oluoch are two seasoned nonprofit leaders who share their experiences with leadership transitions. They discuss the role board members play in educating and connecting new leaders and why it takes considerable time to build trust between leaders, board members and staff in order to ensure successful transitions. Having a communicative, established and knowledgeable board can help fill those gaps in times of transition. Another step organizations can take to ensure smooth transitions is general planning around succession. “Succession is an occasion for an organization to do some inward thinking about who they are and what they want. An organization isn’t built around a person, but it is shaped by that person. There’s a lot of adapting that happens, so it’s preparing the organization at a micro level and anticipating the changes that need to happen.” Carmen and Ruby also discuss what individuals stepping into new leadership roles can do to support board and staff members during transitional times and to ease some of their own onboarding. They chat about the importance of protecting your vision and imagination when transitioning into new roles, especially if working in a place of deficit within organizations. Carmen and Ruby talk with Nadege and Melanie about the joys of discovery and learning in a new role, as well as the freedom of allowing yourself to be wrong or to not know everything when becoming a new leader. Rounding out the conversation, they share what emerging research is saying about leadership transitions, particularly with BIPOC leadership, and what can be done to support narrative change in organizations.   Links   Bell Hooks' Marginality as a site of resistance  Robert Sterling Clark Foundation “Brilliant Transformations: Toward Full Flourishing in BIPOC Leadership Transitions”    Follow Ruby here:  Gems Newsletter Sign Up  Ruby's LinkedIn  Washington Area Women’s Foundation “Thrive As They Lead” Report    Follow Carmen here:  Carmen's Website  Graywolf Press  Graywolf Press Instagram
Designing the Fabric of Community
16-01-2024
Designing the Fabric of Community
In Season 3 Episode 5 of I So Appreciate You!, co-hosts Nadege Souvenir and Melanie Hoffert talk to Rammy Mohamed, the designer and founder of Ramadhan Designs who is making waves in the Twin Cities fashion industry and beyond.  From a young age, Rammy Mohammed showed a predilection for art and to this day, she credits fine art for much of what inspires her designs. Despite always having a clear eye for design, she wasn’t on the path to becoming a fashion designer when she went to school. Out of a sense of practicality, Rammy pursued a degree in business, yet found herself coming back to fashion in her early professional years, going to fashion school so she could learn how to make clothing and eventually have her own boutique. For Rammy, fashion is everywhere, and thus hard to avoid. She sees creativity behind everything, even in the functionality of seemingly unfashionable things, like a surgeon’s gown. She sees fashion and function as inseparable.  “Art and fashion are as important as the doctor. If the doctor is doing the surgery, he’s most likely wearing a gown that’s made by someone like myself. It came from our industry. You need creatives, you need innovation.”  But functionality is only one facet of Rammy’s intricate designs. She seamlessly blends her own cultural background into the very fabric of her clothes, bridging her East African heritage with her Midwestern community. As a Muslim woman of Oromo descent, Rammy acknowledges that the culture lends itself to modest designs, but she doesn’t see that as limited just to Muslim community members as people from all cultures may gravitate towards modesty. Rammy’s clothes are accessible to a broad range of people and are at the intersection of fashion where for some their imagination would never let them go before. In her eyes, she’s bringing cultural perspective to high-end fashion and doing it all in Saint Paul, Minnesota, her home that she credits for helping get her business off the ground.  In this episode, co-hosts Nadege Souvenir and Melanie Hoffert talk to Rammy about what inspires her—from the artists she follows to her cultural background that is woven through every piece she makes. They discuss her connections to Saint Paul, how she got her storefront in the downtown skyway, and how she’s not only helping to revitalize downtown but also her big plans to make Saint Paul the next epicenter of fashion. Rammy also advises on how to make fashion less intimidating and shares what exciting new projects she has up her sleeve.   Links   Website  Ferrari Sheppard – Artist’s Instagram  Marcel Duchamp “Fountain” 1917/1964  MIA  Facing Race Awards 2023    Follow Rammy on:   Instagram
For Community, By Community
12-12-2023
For Community, By Community
In Season 3 Episode 4 of I So Appreciate You!, co-hosts Nadege Souvenir and Melanie Hoffert talk to Andrea Yoch, Co-Founder and Chair of Minnesota Aurora FC, the first women-led and community-owned women’s soccer team in this country.  Andrea Yoch spent her entire career in sports mostly working for men. Although she received support from men throughout her career, she was no stranger to the limitations, lack of opportunities, and inequity the industry has historically been known for. When she started the Aurora soccer team with a small group of fellow sports lovers, she knew that she wanted to give women, people of color and other underrepresented groups more opportunities than she had. She and her co-founders believed that creating an inclusive, diverse and safe space not just for players but for the fans and spectators had to be a top priority.    “Part of what’s unique about this team, besides being community-owned, is that we founded it based on our values first. Soccer is absolutely a really important product, but it is not the whole thing. What’s really important for us is to have a space where everybody not only feels welcome but is actually welcome.”  From day one, the Aurora soccer team has valued inclusivity above all else. None of it would have been possible without the over 3,000 community-owners from 48 states and 8 countries who rallied together and raised money to create this innovative team. Within 6 months, they raised a million dollars, sold all of their shares, and started a team that is for the community, by the community. This group of community-owners have a say in what the team does, too – they even voted on the team’s name.   Knowing that everyday people have spent their hard-earned money and entrusted this group with it to create a team means a lot to Andrea. This aspect of accountability to their shareholders is one of the perks of being community-owned.   “It’s sports – you’re going to win and lose on the field. If we’re winning off the field, if we are doing the things we promised our community we are going to do, then we’ve won. That’s for community, by community. This is for all of us. It’s not just for this little group that founded the team – it’s for everybody. The more everybody feels that they’re a part of that, the more successful we will continue to be.”  Andrea also shares with Nadege and Melanie the importance of having an honest conversation about strengths and weaknesses when starting something new, what all the team is doing to further connect to the community and gives an update on how Aurora is doing after two successful seasons.  Links   Minnesota Aurora FC Follow Andrea on:   Instagram   X   LinkedIn
Why Allyship Isn’t Enough
14-11-2023
Why Allyship Isn’t Enough
In Season 3 Episode 3 of I So Appreciate You!, co-hosts Nadege Souvenir and Melanie Hoffert talk to Seena Hodges, Founder and CEO of The Woke Coach, about why it’s not enough to be an ally and how we go from being allies to being accomplices.  Seena Hodges is in the business of discomfort, and she wants people to get comfortable with it. Her company, The Woke Coach, works with businesses ranging from small nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies, all of which share a desire to make their workplaces more equitable and just spaces. Seena knows that fear is the one thing that stops us from growing and she’s not afraid to work with people on tapping into their fears, biases and discomfort.   When working with clients, Seena asks them two things:   1) What is something that they care about implicitly?  2) What is something that angers them more than anything?  From there, Seena says that you can find what spurs you to action. She implores her clients, and people in general, to do the work – a critical step for going beyond allyship.   “The moment that you’re exposed to something that you haven’t been exposed to before, it is your inherent responsibility to research that – to continue to develop your awareness around that thing or construct or reality for specific people. That’s the responsibility I think people have when it comes from trying to move from ally to accomplice.” Seena also shares her insights on current DEI workforce trends, whether these efforts are working, and why now is the time to continue investing in DEI work. She offers wisdom and words of advice to all people, not just leaders in the workforce, on how to grow and become true accomplices to our fellow humans Links  The Woke Coach  Follow Seena on:  Facebook  Instagram  LinkedIn