Salons

Learn about the “for-benefit” or “pro bono” programs that we offer separately from our cash philanthropy of 2% of gross revenue from our paid services. We are deeply committed to both of these concepts. Those of us that are privileged can and should pay it forward. Deep conversations are healing, informative, and provide the seeds for a brave new world.
All the work on this page is done primarily on a pro bono basis and we are grateful for the opportunity to be of service to you. There is no sales pitch as part of our conversations. If we agree to host a larger group that requires significant additional costs it will be discussed in advance, there may be a request for financial support to offset costs. If you request extra assistance in implementing the ideas, we will talk about how it could evolve into a Coherence Collaborative advisory arrangement, with complete upfront transparency.

Love, hugs, mindfulness, and being a leader

 

Here at Dog & Catmandu, we are huggers. Both Jerry and I have a deep belief in the value of a good (non-sexual) hug. The other day we were sitting in the Gazebro as we frequently do and were discussing the Social Venture Circle https://svcimpact.org/ the organization is formerly known as the Social Venture Network where we first meet at a conference at Mohonk over 20 years ago.

Jerry’s comments found real resonance with me in that from the very beginning SVN/SVC hugging people at conferences became the norm.  This in turn naturally and effortlessly leads to deeper conversations. I have tried to introduce this in organizations I have formed to no avail. The founders of the B Corp movement similarly tried.

Nice, and so what you might be saying to yourself yet how is this related to my leadership style?

I’ll digress for a moment to a related topic. About 6 years ago I gave a keynote talk to a group of about 60 economic developers, businesses, and community leaders in the Catskill Mountain region of New York. In my talk, I did a long lead-up and ultimately encouraged the audience to embrace the concept of love. It was very well received. Sadly, in today’s world, I must reiterate not romantic love, yet nevertheless deep feelings. I love my former home the Hudson Valley of New York and can speak at length quite eloquently on why. In my opinion, if business leaders truly loved the region where their company was located, they would think far more holistically about how their company interacts with that region. Can we say environmental impact? If we collectively loved our employees, our customers, our vendors would these deeper feelings cause us to interact differently, presumably better?

Jerry’s love for Dog & Catmandu is beyond deep. That leads to our passion for wanting to invite folks here to share that depth of experience.

Why does this focus on depth, what does that have to do with leadership?

First the deeper we know ourselves we get in touch with our strengths and weaknesses. As I am often heard saying “no one gets all the gifts”. As leaders, we frequently must know how to play to our strengths and find others whose strengths shore up our weaknesses.

Egos are two-edged swords. When we are boldly leading our business forward, we value our ego strength. When our egos get in the way here is where an example of a positive relationship with an employee or an investor crisis can emerge.

One of the best ways to learn to go deep within ourselves is to develop a mindfulness practice.  Here is a link to a former Coherence Collaborative blog post here on meditation https://coherencecollaborative.com/10-different-types-of-meditation-and-which-one-might-be-right-for-you/

Whether you lead a for-profit B Corps, a social enterprise, a non-profit, or are an activist finding your path inside yourself in my opinion is a critical factor in building a sustainable foundation of success however you define that.

Let’s return to where we started an SVC conference. I am excited if Covid is willing to be attending the event this December in San Diego to be with my tribe. Use the link above for more information on the conference. A line that I have frequently heard used is “Changing how the world does business”. Reinventing capitalism is hard. Failure is a given. Deep inner work is how we over our failures and like a phoenix rising again.

I was at a Green Drinks networking meeting here in Richmond last night. A lovely group of people is passionately concerned about the environment. I think getting people together for conversation is critical to saving the world.

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Based on my journey I have found it too difficult to do this kind of deep transformational work on my own. For me, it got started when I saw the people I most respected at SVC and came to understand the foundations of their success. And let me clearly express everyone (including my heroes) has ego work still to do, it feels like an endless onion with infinite layers yet a journey with infinite benefits.

A little therapy doesn’t hurt either 😊

From those early days at SVN, I have formed a men’s group that has been meeting monthly for almost 20 Yrs. I participated in an SVN-hosted peer-group monthly for several years. I currently host a monthly Salon online called the New Now (New economy meets mindfulness, see blog posts) email me if you might be interested in participating. My point in sharing this is in my own life I have made a very conscious choice to live on a path of going deep. I worked with an SVN brother who coached in my early days on my path to mindfulness. These were collectively tools for growth. The growth I believe has expanded, improved, enhanced my impact in the world. Probably impossible to measure and yet profound in the reactions I get from people.

Where is the special place you love? Who is the tribe you love being with? When do you most often find yourself in the flow?  Humanity needs more from us. Our choices in the present moment matter.

As I have written about before in the formation of the Coherence Collaborative a quote that resonated was “when we meditate, we get coherence, from coherence we get Wisdom”. In my opinion, humanity needs a lot more wisdom.

The kind of change I am encouraging you to undertake is a lifelong process. Creating brain coherence is a process. Wisdom is the outcome.

Wisdom = solving climate change, species collapse, poor land-use choices, and many other environmental crises we face. Wisdom = social justice, fair pay, equity for all (literally in terms of employee ownership of companies as well as social equity) peace, and prosperity for all. Sounds crazy yes yet let’s get started and see how close we can come. In my mind no other journey matters.

 

What does all this mean for you? Well, that is totally up to you. We hope you might find a reason to visit us here at Dog & Catmandu for a hug and some deep conversation. Ideally, you take some time and evaluate your leadership and find a more fulfilling and prosperous path. If needed that is something we can support, you in.

 

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Is Employee Ownership a Right or a Privilege for Sustainable Businesses?

This portion of our website is about our commitment to pro bono salons.  We truly place deep value in conversations.

Jerry and I co-live here at Dog & Catmandu. If you are going to join us here for quite possibly one of the most important discussions ever around your business or chosen form of activism you should look behind the curtain to who you are sharing with? Our values should matter to you. Normally I never post linked articles here. In this case, it does such a wonderful job of sharing who Jerry is I chose to make an exception. This is particularly important if you share our passion for everyone having a piece of the pie.

Enjoy Is Employee Ownership a Right or a Privilege for Sustainable Businesses?

We look forward to discussing hosting you here at a Dog & Catmandu Salon.

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Council Fire Salon

As should be clear from this section of our website we love deep important conversation on the cutting edge of the new economy.

Back in late May, I noticed that Holly Fowler from Council Fire a certified B Corps and a Maryland Benefit Corp www.councilfire.org  had posted on the member-only internal B Corps social media site the B Hive with a question about employee ownership.

This is right in our wheelhouse here at Dog & Catmandu with Jerry’s 30 years of running a triple bottom employee-owned company and having executed a successful exit and our collective 80 years of diverse business experience.

I reached out to Holly and George and several emails later and an introductory phone call we arranged a date for a Salon Day here at Dog & Catmandu.

That Thursday was a beautiful day and thankfully amazingly comfortable temperatures in the gazebro (see pictures). Arriving right on time, we helped our three guests (George and Holly brought along a wonderful MBA intern that had been doing employee ownership research) transition from a couple-hour car ride with a brief walkabout Dog & Catmandu. They seem to really get the spiritual and magical energy here. Simply perfect for the nature of the ensuing conversation.

After a brief guided meditation to “bring everyone into the room” we did an introductory round of how everyone was feeling. Enthusiasm and gratitude ruled the day.

Now we got down to the meat of the day. Now I know you out there in blog reader land are waiting for me to dish the dirt on a cool company. Just like your therapist does not dish your dirt we don’t dish on our friends. As the saying goes what happens at Dog & Catmandu stays at Dog & Catmandu.

I would like to have a moment to sing Council Fires praise. We loved their values and deep commitment to having an impact in the world of sustainability. They are already highly committed and yet are constantly scanning for ways to be better. An inspiration to us all. I don’t know of a smarter team anywhere. They got their start twenty years ago doing water work in the Chesapeake Bay and while that work continues, they now do projects globally. One business extension that is growing rapidly for them is communications and storytelling. Their NGO and government clients have realized the limits of science alone are not as effective as if they are able to effectively engage all their stakeholders. Council Fire is one of the few companies able to do the deep science work as well as meet the storytelling needs that science requires to be effective in a multistakeholder world. Impressive folks, we were blessed to engage with.

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Jerry and the dogs are always the centers of attention.
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Holly and George absorbing some wisdom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I will share are some themes that are relevant to most organizations out there. Founder syndrome is ubiquitous in the business community triple bottom line company or not.

Positive change comes easier when you are on an upswing. Do not wait to get an outside perspective before you need it.

Strategy is huge your job is bigger than your to-do list.

 Your product or service is not all you need to pay attention to, your ‘company” is the finance, accounting, sale & marketing, leadership, and people. This is the foundation that supports your product. It needs your care and feeding.

Selfcare and a personal growth agenda are vital as is time off.

All easy to say and not easy to do. It’s important to get help.

Over the course of the day, we deeply explored employee ownership and much more. I procured the lunch, snacks, and beverages we provided from our local locally owned health food supermarket. Everyone seemed to enjoy them, I know I did, we finished the leftovers for dinner.

I can say with 100% certainty that the time you spend in conversation with us here at Dog & Catmandu will have a deep impact on your organization.

Reach out and say hi. We are very friendly and open.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mindfulness Is The Power Of Now

From one of my favorite authors, encapsulating the NOW!

“The universe is, instant by instant, recreated anew. There is in truth, no past, only memory of the past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.” 
—Terry Pratchett

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Future Quest

During July and August 2021 we are offering Pro Bono brainstorming sessions. If there is overwhelming interest, we will extend this offer.

As the pandemic winds down and humanity ponders our relief and wonders what to do, should we just go back to the way we were? Many view the pandemic’s upheaval as an ideal time to reimagine the way our economy works and how we imagine our companies.

Future Quest is for founders and senior organizational leaders and is intended to be a fun adventure. It is not meant to be focused on your existing company. It is intended to provide a clean slate. Part meditation, part fantasy, and part business model canvas, an adventure freeing the participant to be guided into imagining paths untaken.

Your deepest business ideas are brought forward. This is not about your existing reality; it is a time to fantasize about what could be if all the obstacles were removed, and about whatever the mind can see and believe it can achieve. When we understand how our brains work, the time invested can truly be like mining solid gold.

Please contact us with any questions and to schedule your private one-on-one session. If you are within commuting distance this can be an in-person event; otherwise it will be a ZOOM meeting.

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Dog & Catmandu

Feel welcome at our 6-acre compound in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia. You’ll find a very calming, spiritual experience as envisioned by the owner Jerry Gorde. Built by an architect who was a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright. Jerry puts a lot of effort and energy into creating the magical atmosphere here. Although it is hard to describe, most who visit feel it deeply.

We host deep conversations! Our salons are inspired by Hemingway’s book Moveable Feast, about his time in the 1920s attending Gertrude Stein’s salons. These were frequented by the time’s leading thinkers, philosophers, and artists. We hope you will be one of the leaders that join us at Dog & Catmandu.

Jerry is retired, and as a means of paying it forward, this is one of his passions. Jerry founded and ran Vatex, an employee-owned production company, for 30 years before retiring and successfully exiting it. He is one of the smartest people that I know, with firmly held principles as demonstrated by many years highly ranked on the Inc 500 list with several publications, being chosen as Virginia’s entrepreneur of the year, and as a runner up as the US entrepreneur of the year which included a presidential audience.

Dog & Catmandu is our home. We are not a conference venue that can be booked for next Thursday. If we like you and are interested in the conversation being contemplated that is your entry.

Hosting the founder of an innovative transportation company for a long weekend to discuss refinancing his turnaround company is one example of recent conversations. Next month, a senior team from a prominent consulting firm will visit for a day to learn about and brainstorm alternatives for employee ownership. In some cases, we are educators, in some cases we are moderators, and in all cases, we are participants.

Interested? Simply contact us and let’s begin a conversation.

Conversations can save the world.

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The New Now

It all got started when my dear friend Stephen and I spent a day cross-country skiing together. The conversation that beautiful day ranged from deeply spiritual to our shared interests in the new multi-stakeholder economy we both envision. It was fun and informative for both of us.

Then the idea came: “what if we did this monthly and invited other interesting people?” That was the genesis of a program that has been running for nearly 30 months, as of 6/21, on a monthly basis. Imagine a room full of entrepreneurs, Buddhist scholars, meditators and yogis, attorneys, financial innovators of alternative energy projects, inventors of an alternative currency, a Quaker, indigenous people, and just ordinary interesting people in deep discussion about important issues facing humanity.

I normally provide a topic as a starting point (ahead of time, if I am organized) and the conversation evolves from there. Everyone participates according to their comfort level. There are few rules, as everyone that has participated so far has been kind and respectful. For many of us, peer-to-peer learning is both educational and fun.

What: A monthly (roughly) 2-hour discussion salon on Zoom.

When: The 4th Thursday of each month 7-9 pm (EST)

How: To be added to the invitation list for the ZOOM Link, contact us.

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