We were lucky to catch up with Susanna Calvert recently and have shared our conversation below.
Susanna, appreciate you joining us today. Over the course of your career, have you seen or experienced your field completely flip-flop or change course on something?
I feel like we are in an industry U-Turn right now. Our current practices regarding personal development, whether in schools or workplaces, are massively failing us. First, they tend to be only available to certain segments of the population. Second, they tend to be superficial approaches that are one layer beneath the metrics the school or organization is measuring, or just focused on medical illnesses Third, they have not prevented us from having rampant mental, emotional, and relationship health issues across our whole lives, our communities, and even the globe. Finally we view these problems as separate from Earth, when actually we all benefit when we include Earth in our learning and healing. We’re seeing these shortcomings manifest as conflict, depression, anxiety, a sense of feeling lost and hopeless across communities everywhere
The deeper work has been ignored at our individual and collective cost. It’s not enough to know, we need to also learn how to DO and BE different, in a healthier more authentic way, together.
We need solutions that are available to everyone that promote the behaviors that we need to thrive by ourselves and as a whole. The Foundation for Family and Community Healing is here to provide those resources to all – on a gift economy to individuals and nonprofits – so that we can learn, grow, and heal together in the way that is most needed now.
Susanna, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I was surprised when I checked all the boxes on my To Do list for happiness that I was miserable, not happy. I had tenure at a major university, 2 beautiful kids, and married to a physician: a true Chinese American dream. It was my first lesson in realizing that there’s more to life than our outward trappings of success, and that we must do the inner, often harder work to align with what matters most to us in the world as our route to a satisfying life. I was able to move from a faculty position, into administration, and professional and personal development work during my 26 year career in higher education, eventually ending up in a dream job at the University of Georgia.
However, my bliss was short-lived because just 18 months into it, as I was coming back from my sister’s funeral we learned of my husband’s Stage 4 cancer. I immediately realized that life as I knew it was over and I went on a spiritual journey for guidance and support. Around the time my beloved Chris passed away, I received divine inspiration to quit my job and put all my savings into starting a nonprofit called the Foundation for Family and Community Healing (www.HealingEdu.org). We are entering a growth phase and are reaching communities around the world already.
I mentioned earlier the U-Turn in the industry and FFCH is leading the way. We sense that a brighter, more just and beautiful future is available to all us, including Earth, and that new life skills are needed to bridge the way. We’re providing access to those skills through our online platform that’s available on a gift economy to all individuals and nonprofits (for-profits will be asked to pay full tuition). We believe that this is the innovation that humanity needs at this point in time to rise to the challenges of our day, so that we can thrive and prosper again individually, collectively, and for/with Earth and future generations.
Any advice for growing your clientele? What’s been most effective for you?
We operate from the Buddhist principle of dana, or generosity. By being generous with our knowledge, wisdom, and product access, we trust that others will be generous with us too. We trust that people with means will pay it forward, and that those with few resources will participate too since all members of the community should thrive to uplift everyone.. We’re also scaling to a global community, so we’re counting on those small donations adding up.
For-profits organizations will be asked to pay full cost to help subsidize the program for others. Even then our product is highly competitive cost-wise and we cover a unique niche that they are finding has been missing from their portfolios.
Those who have fallen somewhere in-between in terms of resources, we are finding that they want to help compensate us for our time, effort, and generosity. People and organizations are offering to pay what they are able to help us on our road to becoming financially sustainable.
We are also doing the hard work of marketing and networking…. we’re not leaving this opportunity to chance either. It’s a both/and strategy.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
I shared a bit about my story earlier, about how profound personal loss has resulted in the initiation of a beautiful project and gift for the world. I knew from previous bouts with rock bottom that these losses and challenges also have silver linings. In fact, the bigger the challenge, the bigger the growth opportunity. I knew that this would be a doozie from the start.
It was, and the rock bottom felt like it lasted on and off for years.
But I also know that by embracing the learning and seeking the hidden gifts that I could move through it relatively more easily and efficiently. The alternative is denial or fighting it…. it doesn’t tend to go well when that’s the strategy.
This is the point of life, in my view. We’re here to learn and grow and rise to the challenges in our lives by embracing the inner work that the challenge offers. Some challenges can be managed through our knowledge and efforts, but the big, gut-wrenching challenges tend to require that we transform from within. So just remember that if you’re in a gut-wenching challenge now or in the future, that the invitation is to do that inner work where you come out bigger, braver, stronger, wiser, and more self-aware. Heal those fears and self-limiting beliefs. It’s painful work but many gifts are hidden within.
- Website: www.healingedu.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/familyandcommunityhealing/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyandCommunityHealing/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/19231100/admin/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ffchhealingedu
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcutdeYWAtmMk9oHOZy7IpQ
- Other: www.SusannaCalvert.com https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/contributors/susanna-wu-pong-calvert-phd-mapp-rph
I’m having trouble uploading photos. I’ll email them.