kenya

Fire It Up

Hey folks!

We’re back from co-leading an absolutely stellar service learning trip in Kenya with a rockstar group of students from Colorado State University.

Between the significant time change, over 30 hours of travel, having been trusted with the safety and wellbeing of 12 college students, and having no internet or phone access for nearly 18 days, last week felt a little slow and fuzzy.

Which, in Karina-Speak, means a little frustrating.

Getting back, I was simultaneously fired up to immediately leap into projects and emails that had been put off during the trip, and at the same time I wanted to maintain the blissful state of disconnection and presence that being in Kenya facilitated.

Coming back to winter in Colorado, near our wood stove has been a favorite spot. So, naturally, I’ve been thinking about fire. For me, this month has been an exercise in understanding that all fires –whether they’re in a stove or the heart behind what you share with the world – need the right tending, fuel, and time to burn bright and clean.

Many of us feel the tension between creating space for ourselves and wanting to exceed our clients’ or teammates’ expectations. How do you keep your fire burning?

conversketch-learn-to-draw-fire

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Taking a nap…I mean in the Studio…working on several illustration pieces on paper and digitally.

Taking a nap…I mean in the Studio…working on several illustration pieces on paper and digitally.

Mapping Out Complexity  – with a local business with complexity and a big vision. I guided the founder through a two-hour session mapping out all the moving parts, how they are connected, gaps, next steps, and big picture vision. This can be shared with the whole team for transparent communication on the why, what and how of the business in the next year.

Mapping Out Complexity – with a local business with complexity and a big vision. I guided the founder through a two-hour session mapping out all the moving parts, how they are connected, gaps, next steps, and big picture vision. This can be shared with the whole team for transparent communication on the why, what and how of the business in the next year.

Mwaka Mpya - Happy New Year in Swahili!

Happy New Year!

We’re in Samburu, Kenya co-leading a service learning trip for students at Colorado State University until January 14th with extremely limited internet and no phone access (hallelujah for disconnecting…and scheduled emails!).

This trip is possible because of the phenomenal organizations we partner with, and I am blown away by the tenacity, resourcefulness, and enormous hearts that make them what they are.

Unity Women’s Village – Established in 2011, Unity Village is a collective of women and their families who make and sell traditional beaded jewelry and provide an immersive tourism experience for visitors. Most of these women left abusive or arranged marriages with the goal to create a safe environment and make independent income to send their children to school. Read their stories and find out how you can visit here.

unity-womens-village-samburu-kenya-conversketch

The Samburu Youth Education Fund (SYEF) – A non-profit organization with a mission to provide equitable opportunities for Samburu youth to enhance their leadership development and problem-solving skills through educational scholarships and civic involvement opportunities. I am proud to be a Board Member of this organization — find out how when you work with ConverSketch you’re supporting women’s rights and education!

Students from Colorado State University and recent high school graduates share advice for success to new scholarship recipients to help them as they begin as freshmen.

Students from Colorado State University and recent high school graduates share advice for success to new scholarship recipients to help them as they begin as freshmen.

And, if you’re curious what our students are doing and thinking about on this service learning trip (or are in need of some fodder for procrastination), here’s the link to the blog they have been posting to somewhat regularly to share our activities and adventures.

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

 

When You Work with ConverSketch, Here’s How You Support Education and Women’s Rights

Jambo rafikis - hello friends!

After two weeks in Kenya, a little Swahili feels good to share!

You know that when you work with ConverSketch, you’re going to get a creative, organized thought partner that will help you make your meetings and storytelling strategies come alive. You know that you’ll get one-of-a-kind, high-quality work and custom solutions tailored to your group’s goals to continue leveraging the charts after the meeting.

But did you know that when you work with me, you’re also investing in the future of some of the most vulnerable (and resilient) populations in the world?

You may have seen I was recently in Samburu, Kenya for a couple of weeks. Each year, I have the honor of co-leading a volunteer trip for students at Colorado State University to the town of Archer’s Post. The students help with service projects selected by our community partners such as building traditional homes or clean water infrastructure. The biggest thing we do is build relationships, especially with Unity Women’s Village and students pursuing secondary education through the Samburu Youth Education Fund (SYEF).

What I’ve learned from these women and youth have is not something I can easily summarize in a few sentences in an email/blog. They are generous, tenacious, ridiculously hard-working, hilarious, compassionate and the strongest humans I’ve ever met. They have shared perspective, instilled appreciation, and ignited a drive to do the best I can with what I was lucky enough to be born into.

If you want to talk in depth about this community and these experiences, let’s get coffee or a beer.

As a business owner, and more importantly a citizen of this planet, it’s always been important to me to give back. That’s why I choose to make contributions through ConverSketch and serve on the SYEF advisory board to support this phenomenal leadership and scholarship non-profit. That’s why I purchase the hand-made beaded jewelry to support the entrepreneurship of the women at Unity Village who are truly making their children’s lives better through their work.

Over the course of seven years, I’ve seen first-hand the positive changes happening in Archer’s Post. The words Monica, of one of the 2017 SYEF graduates at a celebration and knowledge sharing event we had, distill it better than I ever could:

In my culture, it is not allowed for a woman to stand up and speak in front of men. Yet here I am, a woman, standing here in front of you, sharing my ideas.
Here are the SYEF 2017 graduates and the CSU students in front of a hut they all helped build for an elderly woman. This project was organized by the SYEF graduates, who want to continue to give back to their community. 

Here are the SYEF 2017 graduates and the CSU students in front of a hut they all helped build for an elderly woman. This project was organized by the SYEF graduates, who want to continue to give back to their community. 

Monica is the woman in the center of the photo wearing the white head scarf. You can imagine the deafening applause that followed from all of her peers and the CSU students.  

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support of education and women's rights, your great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Stoked on supporting a woman-owned business that gives back to the global community? Let’s talk about your project.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Of course, I’ve been in Kenya! Here are a couple of photos of this year's trip including a graphic recording of tips for freshman year at high school in Kenya:

DaVita International Leadership Meeting in Denver  Although I can’t share the full charts I created over the two-day retreat with leaders from around the globe, here’s one nugget that struck me as particularly poignant.

DaVita International Leadership Meeting in Denver

Although I can’t share the full charts I created over the two-day retreat with leaders from around the globe, here’s one nugget that struck me as particularly poignant.

CSU One Health Datasets Workshop   Today is the second day of the gathering of an interdisciplinary group of researchers, practitioners, veterinarians and doctors figuring out how to most effectively share data

CSU One Health Datasets Workshop

Today is the second day of the gathering of an interdisciplinary group of researchers, practitioners, veterinarians and doctors figuring out how to most effectively share data

Happy New Year from ConverSketch

Hello!

I hope this finds you rested and enjoying time with loved ones this holiday season. I am full of appreciation for the incredible clients I’ve had the pleasure and honor of working with this year. I am in awe of all the groups doing important work I’ve been in the room to support visually.

Even though the holidays can be a busy time, I love the quiet reflection afforded by long nights or the muted quiet of the earth blanketed with gently falling snow. Each year around this time, I like to spend time reflecting on my business and life: what worked, what I’d like to change, and putting my vision for the next year on paper – here’s a post about my visioning process and inspiration.

I also have the pleasure of taking students from Colorado State University on a two-week volunteer tourism trip to Samburu, Kenya each year over their winter break. We leave tomorrow and will be spending our time learning about a completely different culture, working with a Women’s Village called Unity to build huts or shade structures (whatever they need!), teaching in the primary school (more or less), working with youth who have received scholarships to attend secondary school and celebrating recent graduates, and taking children on wildlife-viewing drives to talk about the importance of conservation. This place and these people are incredibly important to me and as part of ConverSketch’s values, I serve on the advisory board of the Samburu Youth Education Fund which provides the aforementioned scholarships, as well as make donations each year to supporting the youth and entrepreneurial endeavors of Unity Women’s Village and their beading.

unity-womens-village-samburu-kenya

Although the access to connectivity and technology in this rural community has grown over the seven years I’ve been visiting, wi-fi still isn’t reliable or pervasive, and I won’t have cell service while we’re in Archer’s Post. I’ll be responding to any messages after January 12th, 2018. Thanks in advance for your patience!

Wishing you and yours a New Year filled with Abundance, Joy, Light, Laughter, Adventure and Love.

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Arizona State University Technology Office  I spent the day in Tempe working with the new leadership team for ASU’s Office of Technology as they defined their vision, values and how they wanted to work together to move from a group to a rockin’ team.

Arizona State University Technology Office

I spent the day in Tempe working with the new leadership team for ASU’s Office of Technology as they defined their vision, values and how they wanted to work together to move from a group to a rockin’ team.

In the Video Studio  I’ve been working with the Wildfire Research Team (WiRe) for the past year developing a series of videos about their work to help communities become more fire adapted. The last video of the series is in the final stages of approval, and I’ll look forward to sharing the series in the beginning of 2018!

In the Video Studio

I’ve been working with the Wildfire Research Team (WiRe) for the past year developing a series of videos about their work to help communities become more fire adapted. The last video of the series is in the final stages of approval, and I’ll look forward to sharing the series in the beginning of 2018!

Checking In With You

I'm facing a really nice conundrum here. I'm up to my eyes in projects: multiple videos, live graphic recording and facilitating events, and teaching a one credit facilitation workshop to graduate students at CSU.

Which means I need to take some of my own advice and prioritize to get stuff done...so this email is short. I didn't want to leave you hanging, so I wanted to check in, let you know that I'm thinking about you all, and I'll be back in February with your regularly scheduled wit, wisdom and sketchiness. And this February in particular has some big stuff going on for ConverSketch, so stay tuned!

In the mean time, if you're looking for some new tunes to keep you groovin' and in the Productivity Zone, check out Radio Garden -- you can tune to any radio station worldwide and stream what they've got going on!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

You're busy too. So let's make life easy and schedule a time to talk about your projects.
 

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

This winter I had the honor of co-leading a volunteer trip to Kenya through Colorado State University's Alternative Breaks program. This was my fifth time in Samburu, Kenya and each time my heart overflows with appreciation, love, laughter and strength that just radiates from the women and youth at Unity Village and the surrounding community. Here I am with little Karina, who's about 3 now. Interested in learning how educating young women and men can change a community for the better? Ask me about the Samburu Youth Education Fund, a non-profit run for the community, by the community.