A New Year: A New Learning Journey Begins | Beth's Blog

A New Year: A New Learning Journey Begins

Personal Productivity

Last Sunset of 2011

I spent a very quiet holiday with family at Half Moon Bay and taking a New Year’s hike on Ano Nuevo to see the elephant seals.     Nature hikes and down time with family are nourishing and replenishing.

As I watched the last sunset of 2011 fade over the Pacific Ocean,   I wanted to formally say farewell to Zoetica, the company I co-founded with Geoff Livingston and Kami Huyse that we announced in January, 2010 one day after my birthday, and one day before the Haiti Earthquake.     Geoff has moved on to working on exciting projects, including a book and Kami will continue the brand Zoetica working on strategy projects such as this important effort to keep .NGO domain in the hands of nonprofits.

Starting Zoetica came on the heels of  one of the most dramatic changes I made in my life in recent years.   In 2009,  I moved with my my family across country to California to become Visiting Scholar at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and wrote my first book, The Networked Project with Alison Fine.    In 2010,  I launched the Networked Nonprofit with a flurry of speaking and training gigs literally around the world, while also designing and facilitating many workshops, peer learning groups,  and coaching grantees as Visiting Scholar.

Here’s what is in store for me for 2012:

As Visiting Scholar to the David and Lucile Packard Foundation this past year (my 3rd),  one project I worked on was facilitating peer learning groups to test and develop case studies and frameworks for my next book,  Measuring the Networked Nonprofit” that I co-authored with KD Paine and editor, Bill Paarlberg.   The book will publish in the second half of 2012.    The book is a how-to guide for using measurement and learning to improve networked nonprofit practices.      Writing a book while testing frameworks in a peer group setting was a little like trying to change a tire on a moving car, but it is far more fun to create – and this participatory process – makes the material more customized for the readers.   I now look forward to further refining curriculum and workshops over the coming months.

I will also continue to follow my passion and calling as a trainer and capacity builder through my work as Visiting Scholar at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation working with grantees designing and facilitating capacity building programs that incorporate social media and networked approaches.   This year, 2012, will have a focus on designing and delivering capacity building projects with NGOs outside the US.  I will be working with a cluster of Packard grantees in Pakistan and India in collaboration with IIE.   I will also have the opportunity to be an instructor as part of a Women’s Leadership Program in Africa, in partnership with IIE.    And, will  complete my work on E-mediat project, a capacity building project in the Middle East.    Maybe my next book will be about something about Networked NGOs and capacity building methods …..

What are your plans for 2012?

26 Responses

  1. Ashley says:

    That sounds like quite the plan for 2012! Looking forward to following along through your blog.

    My plans for 2012 will involve a number of changes, but time will only tell what those changes will entail. I’ve applied to a few graduate school programs and if those do not come through then it looks like I might just have to look for something new on my own. Either way, I need to get out of my rut and make some changes. I’m getting way too comfortable 🙂

  2. Beth says:

    @ashley – congrats to you! Sometimes ruts can be a good thing – give you time to think.

  3. Ashley says:

    That is very true. This past year has been a rut but it has been a great opportunity to lie low, decide what is working and what isn’t, and to save a little money. Now it is time to wrap up those loose ends and start putting one foot in front of another. Thanks for the reminder that my time resting hasn’t been in vain.

  4. shantel says:

    Hi Beth,

    I met you before you left to California in Boston (I think at a morning hubspot breakfast event you presented) and have been following your blog and tweets ever since then. First, thanks so much for sharing your experiences. There are numerous times I have thought about what you wrote. I’m so impressed with all your dedication and hard work!

    For me, 2012 … finishing a project that I started back in 2008 filming people and companies redefining waste. I traveled five months across the country collecting interviews and capturing people using waste to make money, energy, new clothes, homes, music, or art.

    We will have four new webisodes launching in 2012 + new website http://www.wastedocumentary.com Our old website is http://www.whatiswaste.com Our episodes are diverse from an artist in residence program at the san fran dump, to an average joe making warm juice in his garage in boise.

    I’m so wicked excited. The footage in this next round is human and real. The intended audience reaction is for people to think about waste and redefine it in their own world and words. Distribution is using social media during April (Earth Month).

    My question throughout this project is what comes first language or culture? It’s similar to the chicken or the egg question, but if we can get audience members to use language to redefine waste then behavioral actions may follow.

    I also apply for a TEDx CSU (Colorado State University) talk. If I get in, I will pee my pant! But of course would be very exciting to do a TEDx talk.

    Other than my side project Waste? documentary doing my usual work stuff – marketing and social media. Also, planning to do some fun travel adventures starting with a yurt trip in a few weeks … then heading off to the Everglades to camp and canoe trip.

    Happy new year and thanks again for asking and listening to your readers like me!


  5. Hey Beth,
    Thanks for the update and congrats on the new book! You are a real anchor in our space – keeping us on our toes and pushing our thinking. I am launching in 2012 with a trip to a new place for me – India. While I’m there I’ll be spending a week with my new Board colleagues from Water for People and a week visiting GlobalGiving projects and holding workshops in Hyderabad and Chennai.

    Hope our paths cross in 2012.

  6. You deserve a great year, Beth. Low stress and a ton of fun. I will always be a fan.

  7. Bryan says:

    I’m such a fan of yours, Beth! Thanks for your diligence and your authentic energize presence. I spent the new year break at Big Sur looking at the neighbors of the elephant seals you communed with.

    Starting Belief Energy, LLC (www.beliefenergy.com) and LinkedIn Nonprofit Solutions in 2011 were very exciting for me, my tribe and everyone in the world they’re enabling.

    In 2012 I’ll focus on Belief Energy(optimal living) while scaling up the impact of my two main projects. I look forward to collaborating with you more intentionally this year.

    Let’s have dinner and goal/vision swap in San Francisco soon. It’s on me. 🙂

  8. Beth I cannot wait for the book! You and KD are a power team and I know that what you share and teach will propel our nonprofits and foundations forward. And hooray for Packard for supporting you in working with NGO’s all across the globe.
    My best to you in 2012.

  9. Wow, I’m so proud of you, Beth, and the amazing good work you’ve done and continue to do to help organizations understand both the big picture and the technical how-to.

    As a board member of Shenandoah Community Foundation, I will continue to help them increase visibility and spread the word about the amazing way CFs can connect people who care with causes that matter.

    As a blogger who blogs about How to Connect in a Disconnected World at Heartspoken.com, I am ramping up my content and its focus and look forward to identifying and serving those who share my interest in the power of strengthening our essential life connections: with Self, with Others, with God, and with Nature. My nonprofit work fits naturally into many of these areas.

    Best wishes for your continued success.

  10. Eva Conner says:

    You became one of my gurus in 2011–and I thank you! You have such integrity, inspiration and realism. I am excited to read the book and see what insights you share in 2012. Cheers!

    I spent the last few months in Asia, and they have set me on a new career tangent that I’m excited about: harnessing the power of global social entrepreneurship and social enterprises for organizations in my community. So many nonprofits/NGOs have been around for many years and done great work–but are struggling with revenue challenges like never before. I will work with those leaders who want to innovate, experiment and explore new business models to fuel their continued great work. Never been so excited!

    All the best to you and other foundational minds in the nonprofit community. It’s going to be a great year!


  11. Beth,
    My favorite part of this blog is “I spent a very quiet holiday with family”. You have a wonderful family and I am thrilled that you were able to spend some quality time with them. Cheers to a fantastic 2012 year!!!

  12. Beth says:

    Peggy: It was a fantastic time, a nice walk on the beach, gawking at elephant seals and nature introspection. Here’s to a fantastic year for Wiser Earth!

  13. Beth says:

    @eva: Wow, great to meet you and I enjoyed visiting your page – love the name, Moxie! Your leadership work sounds fascinating

  14. Beth says:

    Bryan: I found your exercise on Belief Energy really valuable. I used to create some journal pages — the other thing I’m doing to slow down is returning to drawing and art. Here’s to a great 2012.

  15. Beth says:

    @Donna: I have to follow up with you about your India trip. I’ll be doing the training, most likely, in New Delhi, but with groups from Bihar. Here’s my curated India/NGO resources: http://www.scoop.it/t/india-ngos-and-social-media

  16. Beth says:

    Zan, thanks so much and also thank you for sharing all the great insights that you do and your work in Seattle.

  17. Beth says:

    @geoff: not sure if the stress is less, same, or more – but following a calling. Good luck to you in 2012.

  18. Have a great year Beth! I hope to be travelling to Cambodja in summer- will be exciting!

  19. Beth says:

    @joitske – when exactly are you going? Where? Work or vacation? We’re hoping to make it to Cambodia as a family this summer. Haven’t yet selected days – maybe we could meet in Cambodia!

  20. francine hardaway says:

    Congratulations on all your accomplishments, Beth, but most of all on retaining your giving spirit and your learning mind. I can’t wait to see what you do next. And guess what? I just heard from the boy I sent to college (with your help) in Uganda, and he has opened a business in Kampala. It’s a stationery store, and it’s a start!!!!

  21. Nancy White says:

    One of ny new years wishes is to get to do a gog WITH YOU!

  22. Shaun Dakin says:


    Good luck ! Looking forward to the book.

    Shaun Dakin

  23. You’ve had amazing few years and it’s been great to watch and follow you along. Thank you for sharing all of your amazing Beth-ness with NPOs, can’t wait to see you rock the international world.

    Keep rocking on, Beth!

  24. KDPaine says:

    It was awesome to work with you, and I think your new clarity and direction is great. Never did understand how you could juggle it all 😉

  25. Beth says:

    @kdPaine – neither did I! It was a pleasure to work with you too! Here’s to measurable success with the book

  26. Beth says:

    @NancyWhite – doing a training or session with you is a bucket list goal for this year — it’s been TOOOOO long.

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