from Robert Powell, MKP USA Chairman
As 2014 comes to a close and I reflect on the last year as the Chairman of this organization I love, there is one word that rises to the surface … support.
I have been held and supported in my role by many incredible men in the ManKind Project USA. In some ways, I’ve gone through most of the year feeling as if I haven’t ‘done’ enough, and yet I am astounded by the things that have been accomplished. I have learned that this position is so much more about directing and guiding and supporting others … about holding the space … much as I did when a Leader on a New Warrior Training Adventure. I have spent the year inviting men into conversation, asking questions, inviting them to take action, and supporting them to make things happen.
I have seen how much can be accomplished by the circle. I always held this as a possibility and the reality is far more rewarding … and also daunting. We still have much work to do. Looking back to Mike Elser’s 2013 Chairman’s Report, it is clear we are on the right track and following through on our critical success strategies. And 2015-2016 are important years to solidify this new foundation we have built since 2010.
I am reminded of two quotes:
“Pray as though everything depended on God; work as though everything depended on you” – Saint Augustine
“Pray as though everything depends upon yourself; work as though everything depends on God” – Saint Ignatius.
Whichever version works for you, I see the men of ManKind Project USA being present to Spirit, or that which is greater than any one of us, and present to the work that needs to be done. I’m proud to have been the Chairman for this momentous year, and excited about what comes next.
As it has turned out, I am standing as a candidate for Chairman for another year. If I am elected, I look forward to continuing my working relationship with the MKP USA Support Services team, our societies, constituencies, areas, centers, and communities.
MKP USA Mission
The ManKind Project USA Board of Directors adopted a new mission statement in 2014. I am proud to relay it again here and share how it has informed our progress:
MKP USA creates a world where men act on their individual and shared responsibility for the future of humanity by initiating and supporting men on a path of emotional maturity, spiritual awareness and deepening community.
For me, this statement marks a recommitment to the heart of the work as we present it in the New Warrior Training Adventure. It is a declaration of our core transformations and a stand for 21st century men and healthy masculinity.
As of this writing 29 of the 33 MKP USA Centers have now voted to unify within MKP USA, offering us incredible possibilities for continued growth while harnessing the skills and scalability of the MKP USA Support Service Circle. I am deeply indebted to and grateful for the efforts of men on the MKP USA Board and Council and in the Centers and Areas, and especially, to the indefatigable Mike Elser and Jon Levitt, who have continued to invest themselves deeply in the future of the organization, traveling thousands of miles in service to our mission.
Unification frees New Warriors to focus on the heart work, inviting men onto their paths of initiation and support. With great progress in financial integration and support, more tools for communities and administrators, better communication and data, launch of new MKPConnect and MKPServe tools for NWTA management, and greatly increased reach in our marketing and outreach efforts, Unification is making a difference!
The Community Support Model and the chartering of communities across the US has taken off! There are now 41 chartered communities and more on the way every day. Dan Baldwin and the Support Service circles have made the process easy to understand and simple to complete. The results are already inspiring. Men in circles are working, playing, and serving together to create a better world. From film screenings, service projects, and community galas, to new I-Group revitalization, to spearheading a men’s march to end violence, New Warriors in communities are showing up!
And with community development, the cultural shift to a Membership driven organization continues. Membership in MKP USA is a stand for the heart-opening work that is happening across the organization in all our circles.
An Integral Approach to Decision-making
For nearly a decade, a number of MKP men have studied the works of Integral theorists like Ken Wilber, Clare Graves, Alfred North Whitehead and others. Our connection to Integral Mondo Zen and our long-standing relationship with Hollow Bones Zen have introduced many men to daily practice in conscious awareness.
This past year, the Support Services Lead Operating Circle was formed based on a model of governance and decision-making well described by a New Warrior brother Frederic Laloux from Belgium in his book “Reinventing Organizations.” Operating on a metaphor of organization as a living system, the model builds on three principles: self-management-based decisions, everyone bringing their whole selves into the circle, and respecting the evolutionary purpose of the whole and the part as it reveals itself.
The Lead Operating Circle is now using an organizational structure based on this work called Holacracy. Holacracy puts governance and well-informed decision-making authority in the hands of men with the best knowledge to find solutions, uses purpose as the driving force for action, and includes well defined roles, accountabilities and metrics to measure progress.
I want to acknowledge Dick Goldberg, the past Executive Director of MKP USA for his contributions in helping MKP USA transition to the model we are now using in our governance. Dick’s leadership in his tenure as Executive Director helped MKP USA explore the questions we needed to ask in order to take this next step.
The MKP USA Support Services circle is accomplishing more and taking on more new projects than ever before. What is possible for MKP USA in terms of supporting Areas, Centers, I-Groups, and Communities is fundamentally different than it has been in the past. We have a highly skilled and dedicated group of men with deep experience who are actively working to make sure that we all have the tools and skills we need to change the world.
The MKP USA Board and Committees are active and engaged in multiple arenas of management, policy, and development, and the Support Services Circle is growing to include a small number of contracted resources and part-time Area Administrators to support the health and growth of Areas and the continued refinement of technological tools to meet the needs of the men on the ground.
Strategic Plan 2014-2016 – Find Your YES
As part of our commitment to building an MKP USA to last for generations, the MKP USA Board released a revised MKP USA Strategic Plan. The plan includes 64 projects emerging from the critical success factors that were identified in 2012-2013. The MKP USA Support Services Circle is actively working projects and revising the plan as we look ahead to 2015.
Intergenerational and Cultural Evolution
To close, I want to highlight some cultural milestones that I see continuing in the ManKind Project USA.
Looking at what is happening right now in Ferguson Missouri and New York City and at the violence to our ecology and at in our communities, it is clear to me that what we offer is desperately needed. There is more to do to support men to wake up, grow up, and show up for the world — and to clean up — with compassion, understanding, and accountability. There are deep personal and cultural wounds calling out for healing. I believe we are men who can play a powerful role in that healing.
The Young Warriors have come fully into their own, with an active Council, representation on the Board, and just recently, a charge to move forward in the development of the Young Warrior Training Adventure, a parallel path to the New Warrior Training Adventure in initiating men onto a path of emotional maturity and spiritual growth in deepening community.
The continued evolution of our commitment to inclusivity took another step forward with the release of the MKP USA Statement on Gateway NWTAs. We are dedicated as an organization to creating pathways for all kinds of men to find a supportive community.
The Elders of MKP USA are building a legacy. The USA Gathering of Elders (USAGE 2014) in Texas brought men from around the world into deeper relationship with elderhood and mentoring for the next generation.
MKP USA continues to expand on its expertise and ability to reach wider demographics with the launch of a second online training program called the RISC Course; Relationship, Intimacy, Sex, and Communication. The RISC Course brought 100 participants from 5 countries together for a 7 week online course for a lasting relationship breakthrough.
All of this and more that I know I have failed to point out, because of you. All of this because of your commitment to helping men. I am grateful for your contributions to our mission. And I feel deeply blessed for my own deepening sense of community.