People & Partners

Meet the Board: Spotlight on Sanjay

Sanjay Kapoor joined our board in May 2017. He inspires me with his frank recognition of the urgency of the challenges before us, such as climate change, and his drive to help the organization gain clarity about how best to live into its purpose with necessary swiftness. It was my pleasure to speak with him recently about some of what brought him to this role with the Whidbey Institute. Here’s that interview. —Marnie Jackson


Marnie: Can you tell us about your background?

Sanjay: I am founder and principal of s2 sustainability consultants, working with organizations in both the private and the public sector to increase value and effectiveness by integrating sustainability into their business operations. Prior to founding s2 [pronounced as s-two] I led the sustainability program at Washington Mutual. Before Washington Mutual, I worked with a large consultancy advising companies on strategy, process, and technology.

As a child born to a father in the diplomatic service, my upbringing has been quite varied. Living in Europe, Senegal, Syria, India, and finally the US, I have found that living in other cultures is a profound learning experience.

What aspects of your background best prepared you to join the Whidbey Institute team? 

My work of bringing together often adversarial groups working towards a common purpose has helped me see that where there is conflict, we are often not apprehending the problem at a sufficiently high level. Go one level higher and there will be opportunities to bring people together. It is for us to recognize that the nature of some of the biggest problems we face is multi-disciplinary. Successful solutions need to be similarly multi-disciplinary. This ability to go broad in my thinking while at the same time staying concrete is a skill I hope to bring to the benefit of the Whidbey Institute.

How did you first encounter the Whidbey Institute? 

I met Heather during a Sustainable Seattle conference at which I was presenting. We connected after the conference and she shared with me about the Institute, and in particular its implementation of Holacracy. On a separate track, through the Conscious Capitalism LinkedIn discussion group, I had connected with Fred Laloux [author of Reinventing Organizations, one of the Whidbey Institute’s guiding resources into adopting Holacracy]. I found it interesting that it would crop up here. A few months later, I sent Heather a piece by Umair Haque called Three Things Every Company Needs which brought up some of the ideas captured in some of the foundational thinking of where the Institute was going. That spurred Heather to divine that there was some way in which our fates were entwined—mine and the Institute’s.

What aspect of the Whidbey Institute’s work or identity drew you in? 

Initially, it was Heather and board member Ted Sturdevant, with whom I had worked when he was the Director at the Washington Department of Ecology. I have a great deal of respect and affection for both of them.

There is also a mystery and seduction about the Whidbey Institute that I’m still learning about. There is a loving-ness about both the place and the people here that feels pregnant with the possibility of a better world.

Can you share some impressions from working with the board and staff thus far?

I am still getting to know people here, but for the most part I have found members of the board thoughtful and passionate about the Institute, and operating with integrity. Getting to know the staff has been an incredible source of richness for me, and I am looking forward to continuing to learning from the team.

How would you most like to see the Whidbey Institute evolve or become more impactful? 

I would like to see the Institute be carried forth on the strength of its convictions to become a shining beacon for a world. We need to see that the way forward is together, by loving our planet and all who occupy it.

What are you most passionate about? 

It is hard for me to distinguish passion from concern—I would say that finding a positive way to come out of the environmental crisis we are creating is what I am obsessed with. A healthier world for our kids and their kids.

December 15, 2017

Soul-Stirring Work: An Interview with Sarri Gilman

About the Transform Your Boundaries Workshop


Friday, February 2 through Sunday, February 4

Tuition and Fees

Tuition: $300 for those paying their own way; $375 for those supported by a business or organization.

Tuition starts at $275 with earlybird discount.

Fees: $325 for onsite lodging, meals, and facilities use; $225 for meals and facilities use by those lodging offsite.

Discounts: $25 earlybird discount through January 5; $25 discount for each person registering in a group of three or more with a single transaction.

Learn More & Register

We’re excited to welcome author, psychotherapist, Cocoon House founder, and South Whidbey resident Sarri Gilman to the Whidbey Institute in February for the Transform Your Boundaries® Workshop, designed to create better lives, better work, and a better world through our relationships to our boundaries. I had a chance to talk to Sarri last week to learn more about her and the work. Here’s our conversation. —Marnie Jackson Read More →

December 13, 2017

Welcoming New Board Members

We welcomed Sanjay Kapoor to our board of directors in May 2017 and Larisa Benson, Joel DeJong, and Mark Forman to our board in October 2017. We’re excited by the extraordinary skills and capacity they bring to the team, and will be sharing more about each of them with you in the coming months.

Mark Forman may already be a familiar name to our readers. Mark founded Forman & Company in 2008, with the stated goal of putting 35 years’ experience in film, video, and writing to work in service to clients whose mission and goals are congruent with his own. Mark has donated three incredible videos to the Whidbey Institute since October 2016—they’re presented below, in chronologic order.

November 15, 2017

Deeper than the Heart: Exploring personal and leadership development work with Dan McKee

I recently had the chance to sit down with my friend, mentor, and colleague Dan McKee to catch up, hang out, and talk about his upcoming personal and leadership development offerings at the Whidbey Institute. Here’s an excerpt from that conversation.—Marnie Jackson


Marnie: I’m familiar with your personal development work through Warrior Monk and Awakening Life and your organizational leadership development work through Deeper Currents. Do these two pursuits overlap? 

Dan: They do overlap, in the sense that the common denominator in both are these beautiful human beings—anything but common—who carry a longing to be more whole, happy and useful . . . and who, for whatever reason, find themselves ready to take the risk to grow. So, in that, there are certain explorations and practices core to how we grow and develop that find their way into both pursuits. Read More →

October 24, 2017

Partnership and Transformation: Pacific Integral programs call the Whidbey Institute home

The Whidbey Institute is honored to welcome Pacific Integral, a developer of educational and social change technologies and a global community of leaders and practitioners of transformative change, into a closer relationship starting this October. While we’ve held Pacific Integral work here before, 2017 marks the arrival of their signature cohort-based program, Generating Transformative Change, on the Chinook land.

The Whidbey Institute exists to serve as a home for ongoing inquiry, learning, and transformation in response to the unprecedented challenges of our time, and Pacific Integral’s accomplishments in building the human capacity to respond are well-established—so much so, in fact, that our Executive Director Heather Johnson directly attributes her readiness for leadership within her Whidbey Institute role to what she learned in the Generating Transformative Change (GTC) certificate program. Read More →

September 27, 2017

Working for Good: An Interview With Jessi Massingale

Floyd|Snider recently held a company retreat at the Whidbey Institute, which included a service component with our staff on the land. From the Whidbey Institute staff perspective, the day was an incredible example of volunteerism done well.

The friendship between our two organizations runs deep—Floyd|Snider has had a longstanding tradition of supporting employee participation in Powers of Leadership, and Kate Snider, founding principal, is the current Whidbey Institute Board President.  I had the opportunity last week to talk with Jessi Massingale, a Floyd|Snider Principal with an oceanography and engineering background, about her team’s experience on the land. Here’s that conversation. —Marnie Jackson Read More →

May 11, 2017

Welcoming Brit to the Westgarden

The Westgarden has been cultivated by a long lineage of caring stewards since the 1970s. Its newest steward, Brit Schneider, joined the Whidbey Institute staff this month, and brought with her a passion for plants and people as well as a great breadth of experience in medicinal herbs, vegetable farming, volunteer mentorship, and garden education.

Brit grew up in this area, but spent time abroad and in Northern California as a young adult. Most recently, she moved from Sacramento, California, where she engaged in farming education and outreach at Soil Born Farms and worked in urban schools teaching garden education.

Brit described working with students in gardens, pollinator habitats, outdoor classrooms, and orchards at each of four sites—exciting educational contexts for students who, for the most part, had very limited access to fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and green spaces. “One student’s mapping project revealed that within a one mile radius of school, there were two places to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and 21 liquor stores,” she explained. In these verdant spaces, Brit worked with students on topics ranging from growing food, eating, and cooking to sampling soil, assessing watersheds, and composting with worms. Read More →

March 9, 2017

Welcoming Development Lead Holly Harlan

We are delighted to welcome Holly Harlan as the Whidbey Institute’s Development Lead.

Holly is a mission oriented, passionate, and experienced business strategist who will bring new ideas and connections, practical experience from both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds, and tremendous heart to our development team. Read More →

January 30, 2017

Blessings from Standing Rock

Blessings from Standing Rock

By Pir Elias Amidon

header photo ® John Duffy

Notes for a speech delivered at the Interfaith Gathering, Nevei Kodesh, 11/13/16

Reprinted with permission from the author; see more of his writing here:

The rallying cry at Standing Rock — half prayer, half shout — is mni wiconi! — Water is Life! It’s a prayer of positive resistance, and goes beyond the immediate issue of that particular pipeline crossing the Missouri River in that particular place.

Mni wiconi is a prayer to protect life, and that’s the heart of the prayer that brings us together here, in response to the ominous promises of a Trump presidency.

In the coming months and years, we will need to take our stands—like at Standing Rock—against policies that will threaten the Healthy Flowing of Life—Mni Wiconi. Read More →

January 30, 2017

A Gardening Lineage: Saying Farewell to Abigail

Westgarden Steward Abigail Lazarowski is leaving Whidbey Island later this winter to pursue personal and professional goals in the Portland, Oregon area. While we’re sad to see her go, we’re excited about the potential for a new team member to join us, and we’re proud of the care with which Abigail is stewarding our garden through this transition. Yesterday, Communications Manager Marnie Jackson sat down with Abigail to talk about the transition, the garden, and what to expect in the months ahead. Here’s that conversation. Read More →

December 8, 2016