The greatest man-made threat to our Planet is our current practice of overdosing on leadership placebos, a series of measures designed by those who have power over others to merely calm or please those who have power over themselves. Traditional leadership does not tend to think of the ordinary person as preoccupied with such difficult and profound questions as: What is the truth? What is authority? What is justice? To whom do I listen? What counts for me as evidence? How do I know what I know? How do I define myself?
Yet ordinary people around the world are increasingly preoccupied with the basic assumptions about the nature of truth and reality and how predominant power structures shape the way we define ourselves and interact with Nature and with others. And some ordinary people are using micro-resolutions and proactive solutions to permanently transform themselves and the lives of their families and communities. They are realizing their potential to drive more inclusive and equitable change through the value of their ways of knowing, strategies for gender and generational-sensitive economic and social empowerment and the practice of cultural-specific elements of influence and resilience.
Our Angry Planet is calling for what George Elliot, in his novel Middlemarch (1872), referred to as “that roar which lies on the other side of silence”, the roar of the grass growing and the squirrels’ hearts beating and the flowers budding. That roar is on the other side of the silent, deepening, reactionary mindset that has settled within our political, economic and social leadership community, which uses placebos to resist the prospect of unwelcome change. It is on the other side of that silence where we can find solutions to our economic, social and moral ills. To do so, we must overcome the placebo effect that dominant power structures and a single-minded pursuit of wealth are making our planet overdose on.
In this one-hour seminar, Astrid Ruiz Thierry, CEO of UpBoost LLC, looks at how the dominant power-leadership placebo effect is generating a nocebo effect that has put our Planet Earth under siege of a weakened ethos of social responsibility. What happens when people actually begin to believe in themselves instead of in something outside themselves? Instead of taking a sugar pill of foreign aid or welfare and a saline solution of partisan politics and then believing that something outside of ourselves will make things better, can we believe that we can change something inside ourselves to move to a better state of being? How can we create a more mindful society, one that promotes self-awareness and moderation with respect to where we are and what we are doing and that strengthens the value and practice of the civic virtues of compassion for others and the ability to cooperate across divides of class, race, gender, religion and geography?
Astrid Ruiz explores these and other questions. Based on her field experience in West Africa, where she lived for 10 years and continues her work as a “muddy-boots” practitioner of what she calls Aid for Empowerment, Astrid will lead the audience into a journey of possibilities. Following a brief examination of basic concepts of power and policy-making, she will provide real-life stories from Senegal, Niger, Benin, and Nigeria of how information can become transformation. She will then give the audience an opportunity to actually “walk the talk” in a mindful happening.
Astrid Ruiz Thierry is CEO of UpBoost LLC, a Prince William County-based small company that translates the hidden and unrealized potential of individuals, groups, organizations and communities into constructive choice for action. She is a “muddy-boots” practitioner of aid for empowerment and provides context-specific awareness-raising, education and training that focuses on personal, professional, leadership, and entrepreneurship development that can help close the gap between how good you are and how good you could be.