Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

December 2023

Dear friends,

This week marks the winter solstice, the longest night of the year and also the signal that the days will be ever so slightly longer for the rest of the season. It’s another reminder of the both/and – that the stars can shine the brightest on the coldest, longest night.

As we reflect on our experiences and the experiences of our clients this year, we consistently return to our ability as humans to live in the both/and. We can be distraught by the violence we see shattering communities and moved to action by helpers and healers. We can feel stuck and still reach out. We can take time to talk with our teammates, family, and friends about what brought us joy this year while also acknowledging what was heavy and difficult.

We hope that this season of darkness and light brings all of us opportunities for connection and an appreciation of stars that shine bright.

Join us!

Discover Your Three Word Mantra

Friday, January 19th from 12-1 ET

We are excited to announce that we’re bringing back a favorite session, Discover Your Three Word Mantra, Friday, January 19th at 12 PM EST.

Whether you’ve joined us before to create your mantra or this will be your first time, the new year provides a wonderful opportunity to set your intentions in community with others.  During this free workshop, we will walk you through guided reflection to create your own three word mantra. We’ve found our own mantras to be powerful tools for centering ourselves and shifting our ways of being, and our clients have too!

Register below to reserve your spot, and invite a friend or colleague to join you!

Connect with Us!

We’d love to hear what’s new with you and your work.  Please grab 30 minutes in the new year with Miwa or Marion for a coffee/tea chat.

Photo by Frank Leuderalbert on Unsplash

Partner Spotlight

Alicia Reyna

This month we’re highlighting Alicia Reyna, a long-time colleague and friend who has just launched her own practice as a strength based coach. We are excited to be partnering with Alicia currently on a coaching program with a community based network of early childhood education providers, and excited to share more about her work with you.

As the founder of Alicia Reyna Consulting LLC, Alicia empowers organizations, managers, and teams to identify their talents and use them as strengths to create meaningful impact in our world. Certified as a Gallup Strengths Coach, a Senior Human Resources Professional (SHRM-SCP), and Mediation for Social Justice, Alicia’s approach centers on helping teams appreciate and understand their differences and be able to use them as their greatest asset to increase productivity, engagement, and wellbeing in ways that create workplaces where adults learn, grow, and thrive. She offers CliftonStrengths team coaching, individual strengths coaching, strengths-based conflict resolution, and courses including: An Introduction to Your Strengths, Managing Others Using Your Strengths, and Leading Change Using Your Strengths. You can reach her at [email protected] and on LinkedinClick here for testimonials and more information about her business. 

A Few of Our Favorite Reads & Listens in 2023!

Marion’s Favorite Memoir

My Broken Language by Quiara Alegria Hudes. Hudes, who co-wrote “In the Heights” with Lin Manual Miranda, invites us into her family as she shares her journey growing up in her Puerto Rican neighborhood in Philadelphia. I laughed and cried through her lyrical storytelling and recommend you do this one on audio -Hudes herself narrates!

Miwa’s Favorite Fiction

Happiness Falls by Angie Kim I’m not usually a mystery fan, but I loved the voice of Mia, the biracial narrator in this novel, as she navigates issues of identity, language and loss with her family.

Favorite Podcast Episode

Relationships are What Rescued Me – Featuring Alli Myatt on How to Make Love with laura brewer. We loved listening to two incredibly thoughtful colleagues in conversation with each other.  Their perspectives on what the universe wants for us, the impact of vulnerability, and releasing the need to control resonated deeply with us.

Another Favorite Pod Episode!

Three Skills for Staying Calm, Sane and Open in a Chaotic World – with Krista Tippett on 10% Happier.  We appreciated this episode on one of our favorite weekly go-tos for podcasts – Krista helps us grapple with questions of meaning when there is so much to be troubled by in the world.

Miwa’s Holiday Playlists

Miwa adds to her Christmas and Hanukkah playlists every year. She’s a huge fan of Whitney Houston’s “Do You Hear What I Hear,”  Wham’s “Last Christmas,” and Marc Cohn’s version of “Ma’oz Tzur.” Listen to her Christmas faves here and her top Hanukkah tunes here.

Favorite New Music Release

Shameless proud mom plug:  Marion’s teen son released his second album on Spotify this fall – he wrote all the songs, played each part, and then mixed them together – all in the attic before he left for college.


Thank you for being part of our Illuminate community.  We wish you a wonderful, restful winter break connecting with the people you love, and we look forward to connecting with you in the new year.

Keep shining,

Marion and Miwa