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Conscious leadership with Jeff Shuck and Jennifer Mulholland

Jeff Shuck and Jennifer Mulholland are co-authors of “Leading with Light” and principals at Plenty Consulting. Experts in conscious leadership and business, Jeff and Jennifer have helped some of the world’s largest commercial and nonprofit organizations realize clearer strategies, alignment and authentic expression. 


In this episode of the RKD Group: Thinkers podcast, Jeff and Jennifer discuss the importance of being aware, aligned and intentional in how we live and lead. They share:  

  • What conscious leadership is all about 
  • Why the nonprofit sector needs to create more positive work environments 
  • How to develop more fulfilling and impactful experiences 


Show chapters 

  • 3:58 What is conscious leadership? 
  • 7:28 The timing behind “Leading with Light” 
  • 11:42 How Jeff and Jennifer began working together 
  • 17:56 The vision behind Plenty 
  • 30:26 Lessons learned through the writing process  

 JeffShuck-JenniferMulholland - 1200x627



Justin McCord

Welcome to the RKD Group: Thinkers podcast, the podcast for nonprofit marketers. And what we mean by that is that this is a show about people and people who influence.

Jeez, Ronnie, like honestly, like, people who influence nonprofit marketing and fundraising, that is exactly where we go today. Unlike other shows that talk about the craft of fundraising, we focus on the people, the pioneers, the thinkers, and we dive deep into what inspires them and what motivates them and ... and it gives us a chance to talk to some of the brightest minds in the sector. And bright is a good way to think about this conversation. Ronnie, tell us about our guests today.

Ronnie Richard

Yeah, these are a couple of deep thinkers, I would say. We have Jennifer Mulholland and Jeff Shuck. They're the co-owners of Plenty Consulting, and they're also the co-authors of a book called “Leading with Light: Choosing Conscious Leadership When You're Ready for More.” And in our conversation, we dive into a lot of heavy subjects, I guess, but not to say that in a negative way, just ...

They're, they have so much energy that they bring around these conversations. And one of the ones that stood out―a topic that they were talking about―for me was that if you spend your time and your focus on fixing problems, that all that causes you to do is to look for more problems. And then you, you, you're constantly finding problems and looking for problems. And it's really about how you choose to spend your time and effort, and you need to be conscious and thinking about what you choose to focus on.

Justin McCord

Yeah, I just, that part of the conversation is super powerful. The whole idea of being intentional is something that, you know, that I'm passionate about, that I think that our team as a whole has tried to lean more into. And I just love how the conversation came about, which we'll get into. I love how the conversation reflects something that's so needed for leadership. And ... today's environment and, man, just the idea of leading with light and what that looks like. So, you know, we're going to get into their background. We're going to get into the path to Plenty. And then, obviously, as Ronnie said, you know, “Leading with Light”―this book has hit Amazon and other places where you can get a copy of it.

So, without further ado, here's Jeff Schuck and Jennifer Mulholland of Plenty on the RKD Group: Thinkers podcast.

Justin McCord

Okay, Ronnie, I was telling our guests, Jeff and Jen, we were just revisiting the idea that we started this conversation in 2018 or 2019. And our worlds, our orbits, somewhat came apart, but now … and maybe it's apropos as we approach an eclipse … like, they're coming back together.

And so, man, this is ... this is awesome to have this conversation now, especially at the stage, Jeff and Jen, that you find yourselves. What is conscious leadership?

Jennifer Mulholland

Well, I have to just remark on how you just introduced us because there's, you'll see in the book, “Leading with Light,” you know, we believe in divine timing and just love the orchestration of the orbits. You know, sometimes you have this really juicy, meaningful connection with people on your path, and then you part ways, and you come back together. And that's certainly our story with you today. And it's certainly how Jeff and I reacquainted after, you know, working together 25 years ago. So, more to share on that, but thank you for having us here today. We're thrilled to reacquaint as the stars and planets align for this conversation. Yeah. Maybe I'll just kind of tee up what conscious leadership is. You know, we really have lived and learned the … how the definition for ourselves and what we kind of put forth into the world, that being, being a conscious leader is a call.

Justin McCord

Yeah, right? Yeah.

Jennifer Mulholland

And it's a call to be more aware, aligned and intentional with how you live, and lead and work in life. Awareness is 90% of it, getting our heads out of the sand and being proactive and empowered in how we co-create with our day, with our meetings, with our work, with our children and all the roles that we play. And then being aligned to, we call it the inner light, you can call it essence or soul, or your spirit, your divine true nature, your inner truth, but really being aligned to who you are and who you are becoming. And how do you know when you're not aligned?

So there's real awareness that comes into being with what works for you and what doesn't, and where you choose to show up and where you don't. And then when you have more of that kind of awakening and awareness, it leads you to be more intentional with how you show up, with the imprint you leave in a conversation, with how you want to spend your time, your resources, your energy, with the impression you wanna leave behind.

And so, we feel like this is a definition that has come from our own leadership way, learning what's worked for us, what doesn't. But really differentiating a term in the space that many other leadership definitions, or books, in particular, tell you what you need to do to be a better leader. And we really have written “Leading with Light” and believe that conscious leadership is about being, and it's about being you, all of you, whole you, beautiful, bold. You know, happy crappy you, you know? And so there's more to share, but in a nutshell, conscious leadership is about being more aware, aligned and intentional with how you show up, and who you are and who you are meant to be.

Justin McCord

Jeff, I'm curious, y'all have worked with many nonprofits over the years and have served so many, and helped so many and guided so many from strategy into execution into coaching. And ... why is now the right time for this book to hit, for a leader in the nonprofit space in particular?

Jeff Shuck

Oh, wow. That's a great question. And this is where you gong me if I go too long, or we let Jen get a word in. Because a few different thoughts come to my mind. One is, you know, we write what we're practicing right now. And so, I just want to acknowledge, you know, Jen and I are both in a place in our careers, and in our lives, where we've achieved things and are now thinking about what comes next. What's out there that's more. And just because of where we are in our careers, I think most of the people that we work with are in the same spot. So I just want to acknowledge, I think, first of all, there's a, it's not just age, but there's a place in the life cycle that we are where we're in a lot of conversations where people are saying, “I feel like there's more out there for me, and I'm not sure what I even mean by that.”

So a lot of the book and a lot of our leadership retreat lantern was based on wanting to explore that and, as Jen said, wanting to help people be into it, help people sit into it instead of trying to solve their way out of it. So that's one thought.

The second thought I'd say for the sector is, you know, a lot of the sector is about solving problems, about solving problems that we see in society, solving problems that we see in the world. And that by nature of what we do also means solving problems with our teams, solving problems with our clients or for our clients.

And at a certain point, when you get great at solving problems, everything looks like a problem. And it gets really difficult to start to think about ideation, about possibility, about a clean sheet, a better world on a clean sheet of paper. And so, I think I would say that is part of what maybe infuses our work to this idea that at a certain point, the toolkit that we get to, get to a certain level, in particularly in the impact sector, isn't sufficient to make the transformation that we want to make in the world around us or in ourselves.

So that's maybe point two and point three that maybe is a hit of the tennis ball to Jen is it's also clear to us when we look around, I think our own view is, the world is asking for something different. The models that we've used to lead ourselves, the models that we've used to organize the economy, to organize how we make decisions, they're crumbling, they're cracking under the weight of something. And I think as a society, it feels to us like, nobody knows exactly what's next, but we all desperately want something. We want community, we want to be seen, we want to be validated, we want there to be peace, we want there to be hope.

And so, I think there’s an undercurrent, especially we get at the end of the book, where we go from this internal conversation to saying, what if the better world that we spend so much time working on in the nonprofit sector actually starts by creating a better world internally, by creating a more loving space for ourselves? And that lets us see the world and the people we live with in a different way. And so, what if the social change we wanna make actually has to start with personal change, I could go on and on, and I won't, but I'll stop there and say, I just, I love the question. It's fantastic.

Ronnie Richard

I love that idea of thinking differently about it, turning internally to make the external change that you want. It's such an alignment with what we do at RKD Group of just, like, trying to approach things differently and not think about it as a problem but as an opportunity, as an opportunity for growth. So we're definitely in alignment there.

I wanna ask you both―Jen, you alluded to it earlier―how did the two of you meet? You said it was about 25 years ago. Tell us a little bit about … let's go back, and tell us a little bit about that story.

Jennifer Mulholland

Sure. Well, we both were living in Salt Lake City at the time, and I had started my own nonprofit bringing the sport of women's lacrosse to the state of Utah. And I was wearing every hat you can imagine, as most entrepreneurs and nonprofit founders do, and was definitely getting burnt out. I loved it, and I also knew I was meant for something more. And a friend of mine introduced me to an opportunity of one of the founders of a company called Campus Pipeline. And he … as life does happen, I was able to very quickly, I think from the moment I got introduced to him, got introduced to Jeff and had my first interview. And Jeff ended up hiring me.

We kind of set out in the dot-com days to revolutionize higher education, and bring universities and colleges online and create the first digital campus―which, proudly, I can say we did. We had 1,600 universities and colleges that we were able to web-enable during my time there. And it just was an incredible journey where we were kind of leading the consulting organization.

I'll let Jeff, kind of, tell his part of the story, but Jeff ended up leaving after two years. When we connected there, we just had this kindred-spirit partnership from early onset and felt passionate about leading and making a difference. I ended up staying on for almost a decade, kind of climbing the ladder, going through a lot of mergers and acquisitions, running the consulting organization and enterprise architecture, and being chief innovation officer before I chose to take the leap and go into the incubation of several companies that followed.

But from that standpoint, 25 years ago is when we first met, and then our paths reacquainted, I don't know how long, like 10, well, 10-plus years ago by a dear friend, David Berry, who reached out and said, "'Hey, I wanna do a mastermind with the two of you.'" And I was like, great, come to Park City. Let's go into the mountains and see what we can cook up together. And Jeff and I just reacquainted again and felt like we were on the same mission but with different companies and decided to merge our efforts to what we do now.

Jeff Shuck

I love … I always forget parts of the story. And one thing I'm struck by, well, a couple of things I'm struck by that I think the two of you might be able to relate to. One thing I said earlier, you know, you kind of get to a certain point in your career, and you start thinking about it differently, but there's so many great things about being at this point in our careers. And, you know, I was looking at all your past guests when we were preparing for the podcast, and so many people we've worked with, right?

You have all these friends, and they're, they've really become friends. You kind of do engagements with them, and hopefully most of them work, and some of them don't, and some of them end a little bit, you know, messy, but you realize you've, you've built this incredible ... I don't want to just say ‘network’ because that sounds so LinkedIn-y, but you've, you've built this fabric of people that are important to you. And I think Jen and I have both been such people and this sector invites people who value that, right? Who value those connections.

So staying in touch with people that, you know, we just resonate with is so important to both of us. And it's a big reason we're connected. And thanks to David, too. But the other thing that I find in this sector, I always forget, Jen, when you tell the story, you know, Jen's first experience was starting a nonprofit, was founded, like, being in the trenches. And my first professional experience was five years at a nonprofit.

And you know, you kind of jump over the wall―and we talk about being in the agency space―and, but most of us that are in the social sector in some way, we're, we're first at the, not in the nonprofit space. And again, you get to a certain point in your career where it all kind of blends together, and you don't really see the boundaries of the, the business, um, the business structures. You just see more of this group of people who's trying to push the world forward or pull the world forward. So I just wanted to remark on that, Jen, because I think we're so far into Plenty that we almost never tell this story to our clients about how we both cut our teeth doing what they do and learning those challenges that they learn. But sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that, I think.

Justin McCord

You know, origin stories are incredibly powerful, right? They are. And I think about, you know, some of the guests that you mentioned that y'all were looking at and ―Ronnie has heard me say this―I think of the social sector and compare it to the agora. You know, it's like the great Greek agora to where it's this massive public square, and everyone has their little booth, or their little step or their little corner, and they've got something that they're putting out into the space. And you walk by, and you're like, oh yeah, there's Jeff and Jen. And then you keep walking, and then there's the next person, the next, and then you come back around the agora, and you're like, oh yeah, those guys. And so, it's an incredibly beautiful space where there are so many people who are, as you said, seeking to solve problems.

And so, the mastermind that you mentioned, that brought y'all together when y'all set out and formed Plenty, what was the original vision around Plenty? And how has that vision grown to today? And I asked that, and I gotta say before y'all speak to it, there's so much rich leader work that the two of you have been doing before rich leader work was a thing. And so now, post pandemic, we're more awake to the need for it than we were before. What was it about that mastermind experience and then the conversations that, I don't know, lit a light bulb for one or both of you? And whose light bulb was lit first?

Jennifer Mulholland

Jeff, why don't you start with that?

Jeff Shuck

Oh my gosh. Well, Jen, anyone who knows Jen knows she is a human torch. I mean, she goes around lighting people up in many ways. So, what I would say that, wow, that's such a great question. You're taking us back deep in the archives. And I would say there's a lot of this story in the book, but we have to condense it to a few pages. So we left out a lot of the juicy stuff.

Justin McCord

Pesky editors.

Jennifer Mulholland

Right? After nine edits.

Jeff Shuck

Yeah, exactly. Right. We want it to be three volumes. Um, one, one of the parts we left out is that Plenty, for its first two years, was a pretty traditional, you know, fundraising principles and fundraising operations agency, and it had itself. Then the product of my previous company event, 360 and two great people that I love that I was in business with.

And that company got large enough, and the businesses got different enough, that we said, we really should make the consulting something different. But about a month before―and probably the reason that when I got the email from David, I was like, hell yes, I am in―we had been about a year and a half doing, again, traditional kind of fundraising consulting work. And we had a team meeting with the team at the time. And everyone was just already burned out. We're a year and a half into it. And it's, this is, like, drudgery. And we could see that there were big issues that it felt like we weren't getting at. And we were helping people, like, vacuum off lose change from the couch is what I felt like and what I said at the time. But like, where's the change in these organizations that's actually going to change the world? And I was very confused. My team, I think was very disillusioned.

That's the space where Jen and I connected, and Jen was talking about what she was doing at the time that I'll let her describe. But it was really captivating about, how do we magnify communities? How do we get people connected at a personal level? And something I think in both of us realized, we're talking about the same thing. We're talking about it in different verticals, but it's the same thing. It's about firing people up so they're wanting to make a difference. And that was, I think, the first catalyst.

And maybe I'll pause the story there and let Jen pick it up in whatever way she wants. But definitely, I think her coming in with this blazing torch of like, I can connect people in a way in healthcare made me feel like Plenty is missing the opportunity to do this. And we're like, at fundraising, we're kind of dabbling at the edges, but we're not really addressing, we're not making real change.

And so, I don't know, I'll stop there. Jen, I'd love to hear what you would say to that question.

Jennifer Mulholland

Yeah, I think, you know, similarly, we're just on parallel tracks doing kind of the bigger … when we pulled out from the content, the mission, the desire to make a difference in the world and have that difference be massive and positive was shared. And, you know, a fundamental belief in humanity. And, you know, from early on to really understanding philanthropy and fundraising, the root, the meaning is the love of humanity. And so, I was always wired for human performance, human potential. So my businesses took shape in executive coaching, in building a tech platform to help people share what works around being healthy, happy, and well and whole from a mental, spiritual, you know, emotional standpoint. And when we started to kind of play in this way, we started to blend and look into the areas of leadership that we both were wired from: strategy, well-being, culture. And it wasn't a quick, like, it had growing pains. It was really difficult, you know, because how does spirituality have anything to do with fundraising?

Like, lived through that, it sucked with the existing team that was totally resistant, you know, and talking about the soft, touchy-feely stuff, like, what does this have anything to do with business? It has everything to do with business because every business is made up of people, and people have people, human issues. And in order for the nonprofit sector, the for-profit sector, to change, to thrive, to grow, we have to ... do that for ourselves. So we're not going to get the space that we need to be well at work unless we're creating it for ourselves at work. It's not going to wait for us on the weekend. I was really struggling with, in my corporate climb, of being spiritually in the closet, which you'll hear if you read the book, and it was exhausting to keep those two parts of myself separate.

The union that Jeff and I kind of discovered is how can we practice ourselves at being fully whole, fully alive and help other organizations and people do the same. So, you know, it sounds in hindsight like, oh, it just sounds like you just merged your company and everything. Like, no, it was tremendous growing pains, lots of learning how to co-lead together, stepping on each other's toes, each one of us was in our own right the leader, and very successful at leading the room, leading the conversation, leading our companies. And how do you share that stage? How do you co-create? And so, lots of learning with that process.

Jeff Shuck

Yeah, and then pivoting our services while doing it. Like, somewhere―this may still be on our website somewhere―but our original theory of change back in, like, 2015, how we ended up articulating it, we don't use it anymore, but I think it still holds up. We used to say fundraising problems are strategy problems. Strategy problems are actually leadership problems, and leadership problems, at the core, are wellbeing problems.

And that's how we started to talk to clients about why we were getting into something different. And I do think that causal tree is still correct. I think we have better and simpler ways to say it now, but I'd also say―and then we'll let you two get a word in edgewise―you know, a couple, a couple months ago, we were on, um … I know, we know you've had Becky from We Are For Good, who's a huge friend of Plenty. One of the things, one of the, one of the really cool, gratifying and maybe unexpected things about Plenty that's happened since 2015 is the number of for-profits that we now work with. And I think there's a number of things that has happened. One is, like, there are leadership and wellbeing issues everywhere. So we've broadened our reach, but also so many businesses are interested in being productive citizens. They're part of the social sector too. And we separate those businesses out to our despair, I think. So that's been really cool for us to do a lot of forward-thinking work about positive change with businesses.

Well, what we've learned, and why I'm bringing this up, is we have been surprised that generally, and I don't wanna cast, kind of, dispersions here, but generally, the for-profit sector seems much more open to this conversation than the nonprofit sector. People seem much more willing to, say, be interested in meditation in the workplace and how it might help them with stress; be interested in talking about feelings and why it matters; be interested in talking about all the constituents who might be impacted.

And I feel, like, for me, maybe Jen, not for you, but ... it was a real surprise because I would think, well, the nonprofit sector is going to be totally up for that. And we've said this, we said this on Becky and John's podcast, we've said this in a couple other places, and I think we've caused some controversy that we have not meant to, but there's a mirror, I think, that we can hold up in the nonprofit sector about, do we have the time, space, um, you know, validity to be authentic? Is that welcomed? Is that wanted?

And there is a very distinct, it's palpable, I would say, the difference in the atmospheres in some of the organizations. So, I don't know what to make of that, but I know that people like all of us are concerned about it, and I think it's valid to bring up.

Justin McCord

No, listen, it's no wonder that there's a thing called compassion fatigue. And it's that we're working in this compassion-rich space, and we so often are so headstrong with our hammer and our wrench about the work itself that, you know, I think that we add layers of rigidity on top of who we are that, you know, prevent us from giving ourselves that space.

And I just gotta say, what's so neat about this conversation for me, and I think for a lot of the listeners that we have, I watched y'all go through this, like, from afar. I mean like, Jeff, I remember whenever we had, like, this semi-pseudo engagement a decade ago around a peer-to-peer event and those sorts of things, and then the pivot started to happen. And then it's like, what's happening with those guys? And so, it's so fascinating to see that evolution, right? And then to get to now, with the book and with so many ears ready to hear. And so, I think it's super interesting.

That's so, so cool that you bookmark both phases because not many people know the evolution. So, thank you. Yeah.

Ronnie Richard

And I'm actually really curious about, you know, you're, you're making this pivot within your business, you're shifting to this focus on leadership. At what point did you start thinking about a book? And at what point did you start thinking, hey, we're, the lessons we're teaching, we're also learning, and we're … were you starting to gather that and, and was it processing or, like, was there an aha moment? How did that come about?

Jennifer Mulholland

Well, I think it may sound like this is new, but we've been doing this for 10 years. So this is, you know, now a decade of, we're in our ninth year of leading our conscious leadership retreat called Lantern, which we host four times a year. And so, we've had hundreds of executives, of nonprofit leaders, for-profit leaders, just all different kinds of people come through this program. That's four days of dropping in to yourself and with strangers from all over the country, and all over the world, honestly, who come to reignite their light, to satiate that yearning that I'm here for something more. So that kind of fodder, that really … then the download of our Lantern Leadership Model, our strategy model, our culture models all came from us really giving ourself the space to listen to the call that we had. And so our individual journeys kind of melded to create the curriculum, the models, the assessments―our Lantern Leadership assessment has over 13,000 people now that have taken it. And it's just incredible.

So the evolution to the book, we both wanted to be authors our whole lives, independently and then together. And we've been writers and speakers as well. So it's just been, kind of, part of the process. I think we both had urgency that came with the hammer hit, if you will, in different times. I write about this moment in the book, but my, kind of, routine when I travel is to go into the bookstore and buy a book. And I found myself, you know, a couple years ago, going on vacation, I think, yeah, it was on vacation, and I went into a bookstore, and I was just overcome with anger. I was freaking pissed. I was resentful. I was jealous of the authors. And I had this, like, stirring that those of you who know me, I get a stirring that I'm like really overcome with passion, and I was so frustrated that my book wasn't up there. And I just was like, it is time. And that same trip, I ended up meeting, serendipitously, at the poolside a recently published author. And by asking questions, she introduced us to the publisher, Modern Wisdom that we used to write, used to publish “Leading with Light.”

We had gone through other publishers prior to that. So there was definitely an evolutionary time to get to the book. But we did have a moment and a convergence that says, okay, now's the time. We didn't go to a cabin in the woods and take vacation to write. Like life, sometimes you just have to prioritize what you want to birth, what you want to bring forth, and it has to find it's time in your day. And so, we made that time every single morning before we came to work servicing our clients. And we intentionally wrote it starting June 21st on the summer solstice. We completed our first draft on winter solstice six months later. And then a long time of lots of edits and versionings, two years later, essentially, to get to the launch on Spring Equinox, 2024.

Justin McCord

It's so cool.

Jeff Shuck

And I would just add one thing, you know, I think, like RKD, plenty of, we're a mission-driven company, you know, we are trying to make a positive impact on the world, period, full stop, exclamation point, that's what we're here to do. And so I think seeing Lantern in year six and seven and having people start to come back and saying, this really changed the trajectory of my life, you start to think, well, how many people are going to be able to take four days out of their life to fly to Park City, Utah? A lot, but not nearly as many people who probably are looking for a calmer, more fulfilling way to live.

And, and so I think that was a really important driving motivation. You also got to just want to feel like you have something to say, right? And, and we're all creators, and you guys do, you know, that feeling, but, but feeling like there's a way we have something that we can offer people. And we're not for everybody, and there's a gazillion books out there, but there's gonna be people that find this book, and they're gonna be better because of it. And it's incredibly gratifying. And we were looking at the initial reports, and we saw we have two sales in India, two in Germany, one in France, two in the UK. And it's like, that warms my heart, right? Those are people, I don't know this, but likely would never have set foot in one of our physical engagements, and we're reaching them and hopefully making their day more positive. So that starts to spur you on when you feel like, oh God, I got 500 more words. What am I gonna write right here?

Justin McCord

Yeah, yeah. Well, you're definitely talking to two people who have felt that, like, that needing to close that gap of, I gotta get to this point, like, to find something in the well to help draw upon. It's so cool to see. And as we wrap our conversation, and by the way, book is on order. It's a part of my plan between here and Toronto for Icon to dig into it. I don't think we would be us if we didn't ask you a question that maybe was a little bit of a challenge for you. And so, not that you're not prepared for anything, but you're two very positive people, and you have really bright lights.

Jeff Shuck

Lovely. Thank you.

Jennifer Mulholland

I'm a little bit of a troublemaker.

Justin McCord

And so I'm curious, from one of you, what's your favorite lesson from the book? And then from the other, what was your biggest struggle in writing the book?

Jennifer Mulholland

Well, one, maybe I'll take the first one because it just seems relevant to how we started the conversation about the nonprofit sector, about the idea that we're here to solve problems. One of the sections in the book is about where we place our attention and how responsible, and accountable and empowered we are to choose where we place that attention. Because if our jobs, our roles are literally wired to solve problems, the only way we can be successful is to find problems to solve. So we start to attract more problems to solve because that's where we're placing our attention, our worth, our role, our job.

And before we know it, it can become a really unconscious habit. So we talk about, in the book, this idea that wherever you're focusing, you're feeding, and whatever you're feeding, you're forming. So if we're, if you're focused on the problems, you're going to get more problems because you're feeding it. And each one of us is so unconsciously accountable for deciding whether we're feeding that problem or the opportunity. And so, my hope is that anybody listening can just take a pause in reflection of that self-awareness to say, wow, during my day, in my relationships, in my role, where am I placing my attention? Am I placing my attention on the inner critic, the monkey that's on my shoulder that's telling me I'm not good enough, I don't have enough time, I can't get this all done, or that person didn't do this the way I think they should? Wherever we're placing that attention, we are feeding. And so, why not feed it on something that's really positive, and hopeful and good?

And that's what the social sector is calling for, is us to be change agents, of us to be the leaders we are seeking out there for others to be. We have to be that ourselves if we were gonna see a better world. So it starts with our focus. And I just, that feels like a really juicy part of the book that we're all have that power within us to choose where we're placing our attention and what we're feeding and forming.


Justin McCord

That's a good word. Yeah, that is a good word.

Jeff Shuck

And I would say that was the struggle, too. There's an awesome, we quote Richard Bach in the book a couple of times, we don't use this quote, but he has a line from, I think it's from Messiah, “The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah,” but he says, “Here's a test to see if your mission on earth has finished: If you're alive it isn't.” And you know, I think everybody in this sector, certainly all of us, we're mission driven, and some of that personally, our own feeling of what's possible for ourselves and the world around us, is often our challenge. And I think the struggle in the book was being present with the process of writing the book and being willing to wake up every day and read it and say, do I mean this? And being willing to take criticism of it and be thoughtful about it. Being willing to not think that you're going to co-write with someone and moderate or average out your opinions, but actually you're going to make something additive that's better together because you are collaborating. But that, just like, day-to-day human challenge of, why do I have something to say? And then how do I say it in a way that people can hear it? Right? And I think we're both people that, we love the impassioned speech. We love the fire and brimstone, and sometimes that is needed.

But we really wanted the book to be a gentle conversation. We wanted to have zero lecturing in it. And I think by and large, for most of it, we achieved that. It's meant to be, we say, a warm cup of soup, you know, a warm blanket. And so, that required just this constant practice of practicing what we were writing about. And I know that doesn't sound like a big struggle, but it was ... Just, that's the human condition, right? Of, like, can we be present with what is here? Can we accept it? And even in that acceptance, can we challenge ourselves to make it better in a way that's gentle and affirming? I mean, these are all tricky things to do, but the process was so rewarding, I would say, and we did set out, at the beginning, we made that commitment that it wasn't just about getting a book done or having a gazillion people read it. It was about using the time wisely. And I'm so proud that we did that. Our company's way better, and we're way closer because of the process that we went through, and that's a wish I have for everybody.

Justin McCord

I don't know where we can go from there. We thank you guys so much, and we're thrilled to dig into it. The book is called “Leading with Light: Choosing Conscious Leadership When You're Ready for More,” and it's, like I said, I can't wait to open it up. It'll happen this weekend. And thank you, guys. Thanks for the time. And to the orbits coming back together, right?

Jennifer Mulholland

Thanks for watching! Yeah. Thank you so much. What a pleasure and delight you are. Thanks for all that you do.

Jeff Shuck

Right on. Thank you, guys.Li

RKD Group

RKD Group is North America's leading fundraising and marketing services provider to hundreds of nonprofit organizations, including hospitals, social service, disease research, animal welfare, rescue missions, and faith-based charities. RKD Group’s omnichannel approach leverages technology, advanced data science and award-winning strategic and creative leadership to accelerate net revenue growth, build long-term donor relationships and drive online and offline engagements and donations. With a growing team of professionals, RKD Group creates breakthroughs never thought possible.



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