Monday morning inspiration

Starting the New Year with a business re-thinking, re-planning, or re-strategizing session is a great idea, especially after 2020’s rollercoaster ride. Last week, I joined other women business owners on a video call that would, in any other year, be held in a lecture hall just down the road from my office. The goal was to step back and rethink not only what we’re going to do in this year of reimagining our work and how we’re going to do it, but why.

Because almost every conference was forced to go online after March (or not take place at all), small firms and sole proprietors were able to participate in events that normally would be a financial or logistical challenge. Last year, I “attended” conferences, symposia, and lectures broadcast from London, Auckland, Seattle, Toronto, and New York City. My small business has never had that kind of travel budget.

One of the highlights of my online education last summer was a presentation by Newfoundland entrepreneur and visionary innkeeper, Zita Cobb. Her “Nature Knows Everything” lecture for HowTo Academy connected a whole bunch of dots for me: my roots in Newfoundland, the stunning work of an architect with whom I worked when we were both students, and the origins of my own commitment to sustainability in the built environment.

Zita’s presentation focused on four questions: what do we know? What do we love? What do we miss? And what can we do about it? In last week’s workshop, we were asked similar questions: what do you stand for? What are you committed to? Why should anyone else care about that?

Sustainability and resiliency. Buildings and human health. Making better, healthier buildings. Helping people to connect the built and natural environments. There are a lot of people who tend not to notice the details of the buildings that they work or learn in until something goes wrong or disrupts their day in some way: the heat isn’t on, the A/C is blowing onto your desk, or there’s a roof leak. The pandemic has opened up our awareness of our surroundings, starting with what is impacting us within six feet.

Nature, buildings, and human health are intertwined and interconnected. Our health, livelihoods, and potentially our existence on this planet depend upon understanding that connection.

Roxanne Button on the “why” of Design Synergies, January 2021.

Thank you, Connie, Tony, Jennifer, Anna, Katie, and Mindy for a really great start to the year.

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