Image Credit: Photo by Kobzev3179 on IStock


December 2022

Dear friends,

We’re grateful that this past year – our first full year as partners at Illuminate Collective – has felt abundant. We are partnering with inspiring, mission-driven clients while also spending meaningful time with family and friends and celebrating important milestones. But we have also been reminded of how challenging it can be to create space and margin for ourselves. The conditioning of our culture can lead all of us to believe that we need to be more productive, say yes to more things, and never stop hustling toward the next finish line. We are challenging ourselves to be intentional about noticing and shifting that programming.

When we feel ourselves being pulled into a swirl of urgency and overwhelm, what helps us most is the power of the pause. Simply pausing to take one deep breath can shift how we’re showing up. In our workshops, we always begin with a “Pause, Notice and Breathe” exercise to help everyone slow down, center in the moment, and pay attention. When we slow down, we can reconnect with the “why” of the work. We can create space for more voices and new ideas. We can get to know each others’ stories. We can respond instead of react. We can imagine something different. We can rest when we need to.

We’ve learned from Black women leaders like Tricia Hersey, who names rest as an act of resistance and a “deep unraveling from white supremacy and capitalism” and Aiko Bethea, who shared in a recent Dare to Lead podcast episode that the opposite of creating space is defaulting to the status quo. We’ve learned from our collective partners who model setting boundaries and creating space for rest and restoration in their practice. We’ve learned from our clients, who have experienced the benefits of slowing down and resisting urgency in their work.

As always, we’re seeking to live in the “both/and.” We can slow down and make a deeper impact. We can slow down and get further than we thought we would. Here’s to taking a pause, making space, and seeing what magic we experience in the coming year.

Join us!

Collective Conversations: New Year Reflections

Friday, January 6th from 3 PM – 4 PM ET – We’d love to welcome in the new year with you! Please join us to ease into 2023 in community and with intention. We’ll reflect on our learning and growth over the past year and share thoughts on stepping into a new season with grace and space.

Please grab a cup of coffee or tea and join us for this informal conversation. We hope to see you there!

White Leaders Working on Antiracism

Registration is now open for the winter cohort of White Leaders Working on Antiracism. This winter we’ll be meeting weekly from January 24th through February 15th from 7 – 8:45 PM ET.

Over two years ago, we partnered with our colleagues at Leading Elephants, with advisory support from Lesley Brown Rawlings of Beloved Community, to create this learning and accountability space for white leaders. Since then, more than 200 people have participated in this series, engaging in the inner work that is foundational to taking informed, antiracist action. If you are a white or white presenting leader seeking a space to reflect, process, and practice, please consider joining us.

Partner Spotlight

Chelsea Kasen-Kells of Meditative Coloring

This month we’re highlighting Chelsea Kasen-Kells, creator of Meditative Coloring. Meditative Coloring is a simple and gentle way to build emotional literacy and tap into your intuition. And, yes! – it’s really as simple as coloring anything you want to color on a blank piece of paper. To learn more about Meditative Coloring you can purchase the Meditative Coloring eBook or join a Virtual Workshop.

In addition to teaching meditation, Chelsea is a brilliant marketing professional and content creator, and we are grateful to have her partnership to help us create this newsletter and dabble with our social media. We are slowing down to participate in our own Meditative Coloring session with Chelsea before the break and will share our reflections soon!

Reading, Listening, Learning: 2022 Favorites

We’re excited to dive into these books and resources this summer as we navigate transitions and move through change.

Favorite Fiction

How the Word Is Passed by Clint Smith

Favorite Fiction

True Biz by Sara Novic

Favorite Non-Fiction

How the Word Is Passed by Clint Smith


This year we’ve been able to do work we love with partners we care about. And we’ve done it as a team, which was our hope and dream in the fall of 2021. We are so deeply thankful for the relationships we’ve built and the spaces we’ve created with this community. We wish you a wonderful, restful winter break with the people you love.

Keep shining,

Marion and Miwa