Welcome to The Hive Collective’s newsletter. We strive to bring you interesting and relevant opportunities and great information that will help you change the world a little easier and connect you with the other truly incredible people in our community!

At The Hive Collective, we have wonderful and talented people in our community and we want you to introduce them to you whenever we can. If you or someone you know has something important to share, please let us know!

Last fall on LinkedIn, Beth Ellen came across Lazenya Weekes-Richemond’s article “Dear White Women in International Development” and she immediately knew she wanted to learn more from her. Beth Ellen reached out to her and asked if she would be interested in a webinar for the Hive’s friends and colleagues and she said YES. All funds from this event go directly to Lazenya for her expertise and time.

Join us for an intimate fireside chat with Lazenya Weekes-Richemond as she discusses her “Dear White Women” article and offers practical solutions on how to do development differently and improve black and brown representation in white spaces.

You can read the article here.

Lazenya is a global health specialist with over 13 years’ experience in the international development sector. She has managed high-profile global health projects to improve the health and well-being of some of the most marginalized populations across Africa, the Caribbean, Middle East, South, and South East Asia. As a black woman working on behalf of black and brown people in a predominantly white sector, Lazenya’s work now focuses on disrupting the status quo, calling out the white supremacist, neo-colonial practices within international development, and offering solutions to organisations to redress power imbalances and inequities. She seizes every opportunity to bring attention to health disparities among black and brown populations.

by Beth Ellen Holimon, The Hive Collective
Lately, I’ve had a lot of conversations with board members across the country about board disengagement, the effects of it, and the frustrations for board chairs and executives. The most commonly cited cause of this detachment is the lack of in-person gatherings with board meetings on Zoom for the last two years.  However, board member disengagement was a major issue long before the pandemic came along. 

Did you know that organizational culture starts with your board culture? Board culture consists of the behaviors, systems, and the language of your board governance. Board engagement is just one aspect of functional board culture, but the desired behaviors of engagement are not usually defined so it’s no surprise that board members often think just attending meetings is meeting the cultural obligations. Unfortunately, board governance is treated as separate from board culture and purpose of the organization; this perpetuates the disconnected and disjointed feelings that board members are experiencing – especially now.  

In order for a board to be structured for the accountability and engagement necessitated in the typical vision statement, a board must coalesce through its values, behaviors, and connection.  Board member engagement boils down to whether or not a board member feels valued as a person, sees that their experiences are respected, knows that their skills can be utilized, and that they feel accountable to the board community.  It’s hard to have one without the other.  

To foster the change that a board and organization envisions, there must be:  

    • Safety in board meetings to allow for dissent 
    • Appreciation of gifts each board member brings to the community of the board 
    • Commitment and accountability to the community of the board 
    • Ownership of the culture of the board, in addition to the mission and vision of the organization 

These requirements engender a culture of belonging.  How would you describe your board culture? No matter how hard you work on your strategy or structure, it is the consistent organizational and human behaviors that are responsible for its success or its demise. Prioritizing the human factor in governance, strategy, and implementation will lead you to the change you envision.   

Some questions to think about:  

    • Have you defined the behaviors for board members that exhibit the values of your organization?  
    • How are your values clearly embodied in your bylaws and policies? 
    • How are your values and behaviors articulated in your annually signed board agreements? 
    • How are individuals on the board committed to the community and culture of the board?  

It’s easy to blame the lack of engagement on the fact that in-person connection is not happening, but board member engagement is more complex than just being face-to-face.  Before governance, before planning, your board must create a sense of vital engagement – a connectedness and commitment to your board community.  A board culture that includes belonging, will enable your board to lead the organization in achieving your mission, ensuring that your board culture is one that you create.

The Hive Collective is participating in carbon offsetting with Ripple Africa! We have known Kay Yoder, the Director of US Operations, for a long time and are excited to partner with them and their incredible initiatives.

One way The Hive Collective is committed to the environment is through offsetting our flights with Ripple Africa. There are unavoidable carbon emissions in business, but partnering with Ripple Africa’s fuel-efficient cookstove project provides real and quality carbon offsets.

“Each fuel-efficient cookstove reduces household wood use from three bundles of wood per week to just one saving three tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per year…Every week, [their] fuel-efficient cookstoves save 80,000 bundles of firewood.”

 

Calling All International Development Professionals: Have you heard about CREED? The Coalition for Racial & Ethnic Equity in Development is a collective of global development and humanitarian assistance organizations based in the U.S. committed to building racial & ethnic equity. 

They are launching a PLEDGE to advance racial & ethnic diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in organizations’ policies, systems, and culture. These are tied to attainable, measurable goals. 

Visit their website to check out the pledge & let’s get leaders prepared to join by signing the pledge: https://creedinaction.org/

As you know, I’m nuts for giving circles having led Together Women Rise for so long and I am so exicited about the new developments with Grapevine to help regular organizations set up their own giving circles.  It is such a great way to raise funds and Grapevine makes it really easy.  I promise they are not paying me to say that.  Emily Rasmussen, the CEO is creative, innovative, and out to change philanthropy.  Check out this PDF for how you can use Grapevine with your donors.

You can also visit start.grapevine.org/for-npo

We love everything that contributes to gender equality! This new masters-level course is designed to develop your understanding of menstruation today in the contexts of business, feminism, health, law, politics, popular culture, sustainability, spirituality, sport, technology, and wellbeing. 

Find out more HERE.

A Few Notes on Beekeeping 
By Beth Ellen Holimon (BE)
Many of you know that Beth Ellen has been a beekeeper for the last five years. We will keep you updated on the bees because we want to encourage the hobby at The Hive Collective!

Beekeeping is an incredible hobby and I have never felt so connected to the systems of the earth as I do in tending bees, rescuing swarms, and learning from them.  I believe beekeeping to be a radical act of earth-keeping and if I can inspire others to become beekeepers with these little updates, I would be very happy.  The metaphors on life in beekeeping are endless and I will share those too (see Sweet Stories).

This fall our bees shared about 25 pounds of honey with us. In order to get honey from the bees, a lot of things have to go right with the bees and the beekeeper needs to know what she is doing.  The queen needs to be laying eggs constantly, there have to be flowers available – the wilder the better, the hive has to be strong without mites and other diseases, the hive must be split or hive boxes added before they get too crowded, and on and on. Then, if everything has gone right with the bees, the beekeeper removes the box of extra honey (you always want to leave enough honey for the bees to get through the winter so you don’t have to feed them all winter) and then puts the frames in a centrifuge after removing the top layer of wax on the honeycomb with a hot knife.

The first time I did this, I removed the box, but could not get the bees to leave their precious honey alone. I left the box out overnight thinking that the bees would go in the hive at night like they usually do – like chickens.  When I arrived at the hives in the morning, it was clear that the bees from both hives had eaten ALL the honey and that the bees from both hives had attacked each other to get to the honey first.  Under the box, there was a large pile of dead bees.  I felt terrible.   And it was a couple more years before we had enough honey to try again. It’s a long process. But I don’t give up easily.

As a testament to my tenacity, I am also allergic to bees. It is actually common for beekeepers to be allergic because the allergy develops with more stings. I am currently undergoing venom therapy to reduce my systemic reactions to bee stings – a five-year process.  I had become so comfortable with the bees that I was working the bees without gloves and without a bee suit. The bees rarely sting unless there are sudden noises, the honey flow has slowed, or you step on one in bare feet when it’s raining (yes, I did this).  Over the years, I did get a few stings and developed a pretty strong allergy.  I won’t give up bees, so off to the allergist for the next five years I go.

Story with unknown origin, but as a beekeeper, I have seen this myself.  Thanks to Melissa Matthews for sending this to me! – BEH 

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My dad has bees. 

Today I went to his house and he showed me all of the honey he had gotten from the hives. He took the lid off of a 5 gallon bucket full of honey and on top of the honey there were 3 little bees, struggling. They were covered in sticky honey and drowning.  

I asked him if we could help them and he said he was sure they wouldn’t survive. Casualties of honey collection I suppose. 

I asked him again if we could at least get them out and kill them quickly, after all he was the one who taught me to put a suffering animal (or bug) out of its misery. He finally conceded and scooped the bees out of the bucket. He put them in an empty Chobani yogurt container and put the plastic container outside. 

Because he had disrupted the hive with the earlier honey🍯 collection, there were bees flying all over outside. 

We put the 3 little bees in the container on a bench and left them to their fate. My dad called me out a little while later to show me what was happening. These three little bees were surrounded by all of their sisters (all of the bees are females) and they were cleaning the sticky nearly dead bees, helping them to get all of the honey off of their bodies. We came back a short time later and there was only one little bee left in the container. She was still being tended to by her sisters. 

When it was time for me to leave we checked one last time and all three of the bees had been cleaned off enough to fly away and the container was empty. 

Those three little bees lived because they were surrounded by family and friends who would not give up on them, family and friends who refused to let them drown in their own stickiness and resolved to help until the last little bee could be set free. 

Bee Sisters.  

Bee Peers.  

Bee Teammates.  

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We could all learn a thing or two from these bees.  

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Bee kind always.

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