How Hannah Grimes Balances Staff Development with Personal Growth

At Hannah Grimes, we’re always eager to learn. That’s why Deputy Executive Director, Julianna Dodson, started a staff book club! This is not only an opportunity for staff development, but also a great exercise in understanding our colleagues and which aspects of traditional and social entrepreneurship are most exciting to each of us. Every week, one person chooses an article or chapter for everyone to read. We gather on Thursday mornings to discuss our thoughts and ideas together. Keep scrolling to find out what we’re reading.

The Circular Economy in Detail Picked by Julianna

The first topic we tackled was circular economy. We have dipped our toes into this topic over the past year by hosting a local food sourcing group. Some of you may also remember our 2022 CONNECT Event, where we explored the Fibershed movement with a fashion show. Hannah Grimes is passionate about reducing waste and supporting small businesses in our local economy, both important aspects of creating a circular economy.

To begin our staff development journey, we read “The Circular Economy in Detail” by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to deepen our understanding of the topic. We learned that a circular economy has the potential to eliminate waste and pollution, preserve energy, labor, and materials, and regenerate nature. Shifting to a circular economy also has great benefits for the small businesses that we support. As we learn to reuse and recycle materials more efficiently, many product-based businesses’ costs will lower, increasing their profit margins. There will also be less opportunity for supply chain disruptions and more for long-term customer relationships.

Braiding Sweetgrass Picked by Lillian (me!)

From circular economy, we dove into ecology with Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Julianna, Alison, and I have all read this book in its entirety and are huge champions of it. The book covers ecology, connection with the land, and Native American rituals in a digestible and enlightening way.

For book club, we all read “A Mother’s Work,” a chapter in which Kimmerer makes her overgrown backyard pond swimmable for her daughters. The chapter dives into motherhood and ecology in a dynamic, but approachable way. We learned that there are ecosystems of organisms at every level and try as we might, some groups are going to shrink for others to thrive. Although Kimmerer takes us through her journey of restoring the pond to a swimmable body of water, she recognizes that the land’s cycle from pond to marsh to meadow is a natural and beautiful outcome too.

The Big LeapPicked by Megan

We recently read the introduction and first chapter of The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. This book discusses overcoming mental blocks to achieve personal and professional fulfillment. Hendricks states that everyone has a tolerance for feeling good, which he describes as your “Upper Limit.” Once we reach that point we tend to stop striving for success, consciously or otherwise. This may mean getting sick right before a big presentation or turning down an exciting opportunity because it feels too good to be true. Our mind and body find a way to keep us from striving for more. While reading, we learned that one way to fight this impulse is to take a moment and think about all our positive feelings. When excitement turns into fear, we can reflect on why that is and start to increase our Upper Limit.

This reading was the perfect balance of staff development and personal growth that we are striving for in our book club.

Written by Programs & Development Coordinator, Lillian Chase.