A little about us

Our Story

What makes community building so complex is that it occurs in an infinite number of small steps, sometimes in quiet moments that we notice out of the corner of our eye. It calls for us to treat as important many things that we thought were incidental. An afterthought becomes the point; a comment made in passing defines who we are more than all that came before. If the artist is one who captures the nuance of experience, then this is whom each of us must become.

Peter Block

Community: The Structure of Belonging

 In the summer of 2021, we (Beth Ellen and Anna) spent the day on a beach at Lake Michigan talking about all the barriers to equity and the systems that perpetuate them.   While it’s not the most relaxing beach conversation, it’s all we talk about when we are together.  We realized that our theory of change (for everything) starts with a culture of belonging.

We spent the last seven years working together towards achieving a sense of community with staff, volunteers, and in Rise chapters all over the country in the pursuit of global gender equality.  Beth Ellen was the CEO of Together Women Rise and Anna volunteered to lead national efforts there while pursuing a masters degree in social justice and serving as VP of Business Development of a $35m community development organization. Somehow in these busy times, we connected deeply in our desire for trusting relationships in community impact organizations.

Now we are using the depth of experience in our careers (over 60 years between us) to help nonprofit organizations become communities of belonging unto themselves with systems that support the quest.  We believe this is the requirement for the justice, equity, and inclusion we all seek in our work in nonprofits, but also for ourselves. 

We look forward to working with you,

Beth Ellen and Anna

Our Values

Question the whole shebang.

We believe that questions are transformative. Did you know that research shows that brainstorming questions is much more powerful than brainstorming ideas and answers? We ask why like two-year-olds.

Question the whole shebang

Own it.

We take a stance of ownership in every interaction; we take responsibility and learn from our stories. We are committed to the good of the whole in every engagement. We show up with excellence and achieve exceptional results. We hold ourselves accountable for the commitments we’ve made.

Own it

Disrupt oppression.

We pursue deeper understanding of our own complicity in maintaining inequitable systems and act to disrupt oppression. We understand leadership as a function that is always available to every individual and invite others to express their leadership at every opportunity. We make it our business to understand how power is concentrated and utilized to marginalize voices and communities. 

Disrupt oppression

Community is everything.

We believe people when they describe their experiences and we endeavor to understand the meaning and importance of each story they share. We create the experience of belonging in every room we enter, practicing radical hospitality that welcomes whole authentic people into the room and never demands that they be anything other than themselves.

Community is everything

Courage over fear.

We choose courage over fear always. We take big risks and adapt. We practice vulnerability, transparency, and authenticity even when it’s difficult. We learn and try new things constantly. We care about feedback.

Courage
over fear

We are here for the long haul.

We take care of ourselves so that we can be present for our clients. We respect our own limits and commit to prioritizing rest, health, and self-care.

We are here for the long haul

Beth Ellen Holimon

Founder and CEO

Adaptive Planning | Culture First Governance | Equitable Fundraising

Beth Ellen Holimon is an executive coach and consultant who has spent most of her career in the executive director chair and knows the joys and tribulations of the nonprofit leader. With her expertise as a Certified Governance Consultant at BoardSource, a specialist in Human Systems Dynamics, a CFRE, and a trained executive coach, Beth Ellen will help you in creating adaptive planning systems, help you realize values-based governance, and create fundraising plans that fit in your ecosystem. She is a beekeeper obsessed with gardening and birds.

Anna Schoon

Senior Consultant

Adaptive Planning | Culture First Governance | Equitable Fundraising

Anna Schoon has over 25 years of leadership experience in a variety of human service settings. Since 2006, Anna has been working at Northwest Indiana Community Action, based in Crown Point, Indiana where she currently serves as Vice President of Planning and Business Development. In her role, Anna leads the organization’s community needs assessment processes, develops outcome-oriented strategies for change, and leads the organization’s efforts to measure and document success.

Sheila Whittle

Business Manager

Management | Finances | Organizing

Sheila Whittle has been working in the education and nonprofit fields since 2006. She has dedicated her life to serving at-risk and vulnerable populations with a focus on women and children. Sheila is a licensed educator in multiple states and has taught both Special Education and English Language Arts at Title I Middle Schools. Her commitment to educating and empowering youth earned her the Teacher of the Year award for the 2014-15 school year.

What People Say

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Name Goes Here

Executive Director, XYZ Relief

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Name Goes Here

Membership Coordinator, Desert Impact Group

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Name Goes Here

Fundraising Awareness, Go Girls