Meaning in Action
Hi, I’m Cynthia, the Founder of Gatherwell
I find that hearing someone’s story is one of the best ways to get to know them, so I want to share a bit of my story with you as we get to know each other.
When I was six years old, I was sitting at my Grandmother’s side and holding her hand, when the life went out of her body.
Even at that young age, I experienced the sudden realization that everything is connected.
The seed of a lifelong search for meaning in action was planted.
When I came back to the US I moved waaaaay off the grid to a solar powered cabin on 87 acres in rural Vermont.
I also became the first hire at a new consulting firm. I discovered the joy of entrepreneurship as the firm quickly grew, in just a few years making the Inc. 5000.
We focused on analytics - the pipeline from data to decisions - and I loved helping Execs think in new ways and making great strides! I was really proud that, for example, we mapped a research-based strategy for the most profitable and efficient path to market entry which the client used to establish a multi-billion project partnership. In another example, we did a thorough analysis of profitability by customer segment that resulted in sales improving by 15% year-over-year, and translated into more than $100 million in increased sales per year.
This kind of results led to 100% of our clients coming back to work with us again and we were named Best Small Consulting Firm to Work For.
There was a question that welled up in me more and more.
Growing Business for Good
It came into focus one summer when I managed to pause the 15 hour work days long enough to go on a quiet retreat.
So much happened over those next 12 months.
I moved across the country.
I breathed more deeply.
And I left the firm.
Ever since then I’ve been helping people and businesses grow exponentially while being of the highest service to our society, culture and environment.
I have an aching to make the world a better place, and not in a better-mousetrap kind of way.
I am part of a movement to transform our economy to truly put people and our planet in the center. I am utterly devoted to accelerating the transition to this living economy because I believe that in this transformation is hope.
To make it happen, we need every person and every business to align their deepest beliefs with their actions.
SO that’s part of my journey…..I can’t wait to learn about yours.
That seed sprouted when I was 16.
I moved from Brooklyn, New York to rural Maine to be a part of a transformational learning community focused on Environmental Studies. I had grown up with Socially Conscious parents, and now I was headed in that direction myself.
So it was completely natural that a few years later I chose to go to Graduate School in Denmark to be a part of a new program that brought people from all over the world to study the world’s biggest challenges. I had already lived in Nanjing and Jerusalem, and had seen first hand some of the issues we collectively face. Now, my closest friend was from rural Pakistan, and I had colleagues from many other countries including Australia, China, India, and Germany.
The curriculum was project-based and interdisciplinary with a focus on the relationships between technology, economics, and policy. These conditions gave me the ability to collaborate in teams across different industries, backgrounds and approaches that I still use every day.
It went back to holding my Grandmother’s hand, this feeling of interdependence, and the knowledge of all the challenges humanity is facing.
The question was:
To what end?
What was the end result of the work I was doing? Who was it ultimately helping? How was it changing the systems we need so desperately to shift?
The excitement of our firm’s fast growth and all I was able to learn and contribute at first kept me from thinking too deeply about this question. I had become a Partner at the firm. By many outer measures I was a big success.
Over time though, I started to see that even though the results I was getting were amazing - I just didn’t want to be getting them for credit card companies.
I was living a dual life - off-the-grid and focused on sustainability on the weekends, and literally jetting off (there goes my carbon footprint!) to corporate consulting clients during the week. Something had to change.