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Money, Power & Meaning

September 13, 2018


Many of us experience money and power as deeply entwined concepts. Daily observation of external systems and environments gives us plenty of evidence of this coupling.

What happens when we explore how money and power work in tandem within our own consciousness?

In this day-long experience, we will gain insight into what money means to us by investigating our own assumptions and how they affect how we show up in the world, inform our descriptions of scarcity and abundance, and bring a charge to the intersection of our personal finances and sense of well-being. Using creativity and design thinking, we’ll work from a place of curiosity and self-observation to grow more agile in addressing a subject many of us find difficult; money, power, and how we map ourselves to their meaning.

Facilitators Hilary Wilson and Rachel Maxwell most recently led the community finance organization Community Sourced Capital. They bring deep connections in the world of sustainable finance alongside event design and facilitation experience.

Register here


Douglas Tsoi, JD, is the founder of Portland Underground Graduate School. For twenty years, he worked as a lawyer, schoolteacher, and climate change activist, saving half of his salary and investing the rest. That earned him financial freedom at age 42 to do what he wants with his time, which includes (after soccer, napping, and traveling) helping people take control of their finances, make a plan, and live the life they truly want.

Christine Hanna is Executive Director of YES! Magazine, a position she assumed after seven years as Co-Director of Seattle Good Business Network, a nonprofit she founded. It connects and inspires people to buy, produce, and invest locally. Christine believes that economies rooted in local ownership, in which everyone has a meaningful stake, are the basis for resilient communities. From 2002-2008, she was managing director at Sightline Institute, a Seattle-based sustainability think tank. Christine has served on Seattle’s Economic Development Commission, is a Local Economy Fellow with the national Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), and organizer for the People’s Economy Lab. She’s mom to two young boys who have joyfully taken over her non-work life.

Shaula Massena has over ten years of experience advising and directing early stage impact businesses in strategic finance and operations. Her NWSRI fund has invested in more than 30 impact companies across a mixture of debt and equity. Shaula currently sits on the boards of Heroclip, Farm Power and OlyKraut.  From 1999 to 2014 Shaula lead the Massena Foundation, a family foundation focused on social justice that moved towards economic development. She designed and implemented both a grant and impact investment strategy that included Program Related Investment and mission related investment. Shaula is a founding and continuing member of the Seattle Impact Investors Group. As a philanthropist, Shaula participated in a cross-class discussion group initiated by Social Justice Fund Northwest that continued for nearly ten years.  As an investor Shaula has participated in an RSF pricing meeting, and has negotiated some creative loan structures. She has also done some personal gifting and lending.


Rachel Maxwell serves governments, nonprofits, and congregations to move their communities’ flows of financial capital toward real value. Rachel believes money is simply a tool we use to create value in our lives and the world. In 2012 she co-created Community Sourced Capital, an online platform for neighborhood businesses to crowdsource zero-interest loans from the people who know and love them. From 2003 to 2009 she was Deputy Director of REIL, an NGO bringing together select international leaders to create clean energy and climate policy solutions. Her MBA is in Sustainable Finance from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute/Presidio Graduate School. She serves on the board of her congregation and is a Director for the RSF Social Finance Social Investment Fund. Her TEDx is on creating value together. Recently she’s been spending her time in the streets getting arrested for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

Hilary Wilson is interested in the alchemy of atypical pairings. She seeks playful meetings of art and science, spirit and biology and money and love. After nearly 20 years either raising or granting funds for nonprofit causes, Hilary helped grow community lending startup Community Sourced Capital, which over three years helped 100 businesses raise zero interest loans directly from their communities. She currently serves as a board member of the Whidbey Institute and is excited to be part of growing the capacity of that organization. Hilary has a BFA from California Institute of the Arts and an MBA from Bainbridge Graduate School / Pinchot University. She lives in Portland.

Additional Faculty and Special Guests:

Suzanne Pflaum coaches and facilitates people and organizations to own and hone their unique gifts for positive impact. From her years as an adventure camp director to guiding change-makers inside organizations big and small, she is adamant that the answers we seek are already within us. A consultant and entrepreneur, Suzanne has also started two companies including a peer-to-peer lending platform for student loans. From her recent time at B Corp consulting firm Context Partners, she deeply understands that building communities for change starts with strong shared purpose. She lives in Portland with her husband where they co-founded a community farm, bike commute in all weather, and love getting upside down daily. She earned her MBA in Sustainable Business and Systems Thinking at Bainbridge Graduate Institute/Presidio Graduate School.

Michelle Muri finds power in exploring the way our unexamined money narratives impede our personal freedom and impact in the world. A successful fundraising consultant, strategist and facilitator, Michelle brings expertise to local and international spaces, workshops and talks building awareness and momentum towards positive frameworks. Current clients include Edgar Villanueva, in support of his book, Decolonizing Philanthropy (October 2018). Previous leadership experiences include a decade with Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, the largest immigrant rights organization in the US, as well as roles with iLEAP, Cedar River Clinics and Escuela Adelante. She is a 2018 Social Venture Partners Brainerd Fellow, a 2013 Fellow of the Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and a 2011 recipient of NYU’s Lead the Way Fellowship for the Women of Color Policy Network. Michelle is a member of the Iranian American Women Foundation and a proud supporter of the racial justice and immigrant rights movements.

Special guest Vicki Robin is a prolific social innovator, writer and speaker. She is coauthor with Joe Dominguez of the international best-seller, Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence (Viking Penguin, 1992, 1998, 2008, 2018). It was an instant NY Times best seller in 1992 and steadily appeared on the Business Week Best Seller list from 1992-1997. It is available now in eleven languages.


When: Thursday, Sept 13, 9:30 AM – 4:00 pm program, with breakfast preceding and reception following.

Where: Whidbey Institute’s Thomas Berry Hall, with break-out sessions in additional Heartland campus locations.

Cost: $85 includes optional welcome breakfast, full lunch, and optional closing reception.



7:45 to 9:15 am Breakfast open

9:30 to 10 am Opening

10 to noon Session 1: the money lies we all buy (see below)

Noon to 1 Lunch and cross pollination

1 to 2 pm  Breakouts with Christine Hanna, Douglas Tsoi, Shaula Massena and Michelle Shireen Muri 

2 to 3:30 pm Session 2: radical financial well-being, from personal to global

3:30 to 4 pm Closing circle

4:00-5:45 pm Reception


Session One Details:

The Second Life of “Your Money or Your Life”, with special guest Vicki Robin
Millennials are decamping from a presumed path into traditional wage-earning and consumer aspirations. What are we learning from them?
Capitalism isn’t the Problem—You Are, with Douglas Tsoi
Instead of blaming “the system,” let’s look within. Financial Freedom instructor Douglas Tsoi wants us to understand how our “pursuit of happiness” is uncentering, exhausting, and destructive. What are the internal holes and desires we’re trying to fulfill with our consumption of things and experiences?
Truth, Lies, and Real Life, with Christine Hanna
From shoplifting to reparations to the reluctant 1%, Christine shares stories of her revelations about money and meaning over 30 years as an entrepreneur, daughter, fundraiser, wife, economic developer, mother, landlord, and publisher of YES! Magazine.
Another side of the money-impact story, with Shaula Massena
 Every nonprofit and social enterprise wants to quantify their investors’ ROI, and “impact” is a big buzzword in these circles. But there are money impacts that don’t get talked about. Investor and VC Shaula shares stories of how even small amounts of donated/invested money can have outsized impacts—also known as unintended consequences.


September 13, 2018
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Thomas Berry Hall
6449 Old Pietila Road
Clinton, WA 98236 United States


the Whidbey Institute