Image Credit: Poets & Writers

May 2022

Dear friends,

At Illuminate Collective, the concept of “both/and” is central to our work with our clients and to our partnership as friends and colleagues. Exploring the “both/and” enables us to acknowledge complexity, think more expansively, and open up new possibilities. But embracing this approach – and holding ourselves back from rushing to find only one seemingly perfect answer – hasn’t always felt this central to us. This is something that we’ve learned over time and that we often have to remind ourselves to do.

We’re conditioned to view our world through a binary lens even though being a human in the world is messy and nuanced and layered. Reflecting on “Either/Or & the Binary,” Tema Okun shares that we “reduce the complexity of life and the nuances of our relationships with each other and all living things into either/or, yes or no, right or wrong in ways that reinforce toxic power.” Giving ourselves the space to hold two feelings or ideas at once, to get creative about alternatives, to take a step back from feelings of urgency and scarcity – this moves us from an “or” to an “and.” It shifts our conversations, transforms our thinking about what is possible, and leads to new ways of showing up and taking action.

With a commitment to shifting conversations and transforming what is possible, we’re continuing to collaborate with our collective partners to offer coaching and training on diversity, equity, and inclusion to leaders and organizations in every stage of the work. Maybe you’re feeling daunted about starting this work with a team that hasn’t centered it before. Maybe you’ve just begun to get below the surface of equity issues within your organization and it’s been painful. Maybe you’re ready to reimagine systems and structures and the way things have always been. We’re here to partner with you in this work and make space to consider where an “or” can become an “and.”

Join us!

Collective Conversation: Embracing the Both/And of a New Season

May 24th from 11 AM – 12 PM EST – Our Collective Conversations are a monthly opportunity to learn and reflect in community with others. This month we’ll be discussing how we’re leaning into the “both/and” of a new season. As summer begins, what are we welcoming and what are we releasing? How are we both acknowledging painful realities and staying open to beauty and joy? Where can we be thinking more expansively and creating more possibilities for ourselves?

We invite you to pause, grab a cup of coffee (or a glass of iced tea!), and join us for this informal conversation about embracing a “both/and” mindset as we step into a new season.

Fall Coaching Opportunities

We’d love to add you to one of our remaining executive coaching spots for the second half of 2022! If you’re interested in learning more about how we can support you and your work through coaching, use the link below to schedule a 30 minute consult with us.

White Leaders Working on Antiracism Fall Cohort

White Leaders Working on Antiracism (WLWA) is a dedicated space for reflection, learning, and practice for white leaders who aspire to lead with equity. Through this four part series, white leaders engage in the internal work of rigorously reflecting on their impact as well as the external work of engaging responsibly and thoughtfully on issues of race and equity. Learning, reflecting, and practicing in community with other leaders can be transformative.

We invite you to join our WLWA email list to stay up-to-date on upcoming WLWA cohorts using the link below.

Partner Spotlight

Keva White, VIP Community Services & John Kepner, Fenway Management Advisors

We’re excited to shout out featured partners in our Illuminate Collective community in every newsletter. This month we’re highlighting two of our colleagues, Keva White, Founder of VIP Community Services, and John Kepner, Founder of Fenway Management Advisors. John and Keva recently launched a podcast called The Race to Social Justice. Marion was honored to be one of their first guests, talking about her story and journey in DEI as a white woman. Marion is also thrilled to be joining Keva as a guest facilitator in his Power & Privilege course, part of a multi-year DEI initiative with Redeemer Healthcare System in the Philadelphia region. Learn more about the DEI Training Institutes VIP offers here.

What We’re Reading and Listening To

Here are some compelling reads to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. JR Thorpe writes, “One 2005 analysis found that of 100 Americans recommended as worthy figures for history curricula, only 4% were Native American, 1% were Latino, and none were Asian American.” This month, and every month, let’s commit to more deeply understanding our shared history.


Huge appreciation to the amazing Chelsea Kasen-Kells for her friendship and her marketing genius. And many thanks to our incredible colleagues and clients who inspire us to continue to live into the “both/and” and embrace the complexity and potential of people work every day.

Keep shining,

Marion and Miwa