By María José Munita, President, IEA Board of Directors
We are at this time of the year where no matter how and what we celebrate, it’s usually busy. But it’s also a time when we look back to appreciate and learn from the experiences of the year we are leaving behind. In my particular case it’s been an amazing year; my second (and last) as the IEA President. And I would like to share some of my reflections, learning and appreciation for this organization.
I will start with the very basics – What does it mean (to me) to be part of the IEA?
I guess the first thing that makes me feel part of the IEA is the sense of community. For some reason belonging to the IEA crystalizes when we get together and share this common interest (and passion) we have. And getting together can happen in small, medium or big groups. They each have their own beauty and flavor. The gatherings can be virtual too, participating in forums or interacting through social media. We want to know more, we want to be with people who like the same things we do, we want to learn from people who know things we don’t, we want to share what we have learnt or test what we think we know.
The IEA also encourages me to be a better professional by pushing me out of my comfort zone. There are publications…how am I not going to make use of them and/or write something? But, is anyone going to be interested in what I write? Do I have something to say? There is no way to know if I don’t try! There are conferences…do I submit a proposal? There is an accreditation program…do I want to commit myself publicly to doing quality work and using the enneagram in an ethical way? I’ve said yes to all these questions, but there has been a stretch in each of them that has helped me grow as a person and as a professional.
The IEA has given me the opportunity to work for the organization as part of the global board of directors for almost six years. This has been the most challenging but also the most rewarding thing I’ve done in this organization. As a very small but complex organization, coordinating the efforts of volunteers, I’ve learnt what true diversity is, and how to work with it effectively. I’ve used everything I know about how different we can be – I know a system that has helped me with that:) – and have learnt hands-on how to put it into practice. I’ve had the luck and pleasure of finding amazing people in this path. People who are so passionate and crazy that have also decided to donate their time and energy to make this organization thrive globally and in the different affiliates and chapters.
When people ask me about the benefits of being part of the IEA, I don’t always know what to say. I think people want to hear about discounts, services, etc. and yes, that is part of it, but the most important thing to me is all the growth opportunities it has given me by being part of this community.
Now that I have only a few days to go as President, I’m trying to give meaning to all this work we do at the IEA. And if I had to choose one thing, it would be found in the efforts to build bridges.
A bridge with the future, making sure we have a sustainable business model so we can serve the community for a long time.
A bridge between the various schools, through creating a fair ground in which all the approaches are valued and considered. Being a neutral entity that takes care of the needs of everyone.
A bridge with the local communities – through the affiliates and chapters – understanding their culture and needs, in order to create a platform that can support their efforts and help them operate successfully.
A bridge with the world providing tools for our members to show their work. The main thing here is Nine Points Magazine (www.ninepointsmagazine.org). This publication, where all our members can submit articles, is open to the public and has been seen by people in more than 120 countries in the world.
A bridge with local communities. This is mainly done through our conferences and events, most hosted by our affiliates and chapters, but also the Global conference. We reach people with all sorts of interests; spiritual, personal growth, business, etc. This year, within five months I attended three conferences: the IEA global conference in San Francisco, the European conference in Portugal and the IEA Brazil local conference in Teresopolis.
The latter event stands out for their warm and joyful energy, but also because of an activity during the conference they have done for years that deserves attention and respect. On Saturday evening we all got on several buses and went to one of the “oficinas sociales” available. They selected the venue for the conference based on the needs of the people who live there. This area had recently gone through a mayor natural disaster and the community needed support. The groups went to hospitals, schools, etc. I went with a group that visited a rehab center. These were people who had never heard about the enneagram. Father Domingos Cunha masterfully introduced the enneagram to the participants, and most of them were able to come up with a hypothesis of their type. They were able to see how their personality had influenced the use of drugs in their lives. The rest of the conference attendees participated in the session with a spirit of service, sharing their type and comments, helping the people at the rehab center feel comfortable. All this in three and a half hours. At the end of the session, they reported how affecting and useful this had been to them and wanted to continue. A teacher who lives in the area offered to continue working with them. From beginning to end this activity showed care and respect for the local community.
How did we get here? What have we accomplished?
There have been various incarnations of IEA Boards that have taken us here. I would like to wholeheartedly thank those who were before me as IEA Presidents. Especially those I had the pleasure of working with since I joined in 2009. Uranio Paes, for having the vision of a truly international organization and his unconditional friendship and support at all times. Deb Ooten, for her passion in everything she did. Mario Sikora, for his vision and determination to take this organization to a new level, and ability his to lead us in doing it. Also for mentoring, pushing and empowering me along the way.
There were many board members in this journey as well. Each board member stays on the board for 3 to 6 years, so I’ve seen many come and go. I’m the longest serving now, but it seems like only yesterday I was brand new! I would like to thank all of them, and those who will come in the future, for their generosity and commitment to this organization. It’s not an easy job, but it’s tremendously rewarding and fun!
We have accomplished a lot in the past few years, but I would like to use this opportunity to highlight some of the main things.
– A more professional organization:
- The IEA changed its Mission in order to reflect the new reality of its members. We are enthusiasts, but are becoming more and more professional in an attempt to bring the Enneagram out to the world.
- The Accreditation program has consolidated and is growing
- The Selection process for presenters of the Global Conference has transitioned into a blind review process where three readers evaluate each proposal and a committee includes the information available about the presenter from feedback of previous conference.
– A financially sustainable organization. We have made great efforts to get here.
- We are at a point now where we are no longer at risk of disappearing, but have created a reserve fund that will ensure operational continuity in case of a problem.
- We also have resources that will give us the opportunity to invest on some projects that have not been possible in the past (like a new website, enhancing our social media presence, etc.).
- We are now able to provide a reimbursement to board members for all their travel and lodging expenses when attending board meetings. In the past, board members have paid a portion of these expenses out of their own pocket.
- It might sound basic, but we now manage our finances with a budget and quarterly reports that allow us to be on top of what’s going on operationally.
– We are reaching more people through our new Nine Points Magazine and allowing more members to share their work with the world through this platform.
– We are becoming a truly international organization. The process has been hard and involved a huge learning about the differences in cultures that impact on the affiliates and chapters. But there is a true desire to keep making progress in this area.
– We are now launching a new IEA Branding concept, which will be rolled-out in steps during the following months. A sample of this is the banner of this email, but you will see more soon!
– As a Community, we have come a long way in building trust between the different groups, and that is one of the most meaningful things I’ve witnessed and tried to help happen during my time on the board.
What’s coming next?
I’m not the one to talk about this, and will leave it to those who will be leading the organization forward. I can only thank and appreciate the board members who are currently on the board and wish them luck:
Kathryn Grant (USA)- for her amazing job as Conference chair
Peter McNab (UK)- for having given birth to the new Nine Points and now for taking care of the Affiliates and Chapters
Curt Micka (USA) – for taking Nine Points to a new stage and working on membership
Angie Arendt (Canada/USA)- for her support and wise advice when it’s needed
Juan Antonio Martinez (Spain)- for bringing such professionalism and humor to the board (and agreeing to be the new treasurer)
Patrick Kayrooz (Australia)- for taking the IEA to a new level with our new branding
Brian Mitchell-Walker (Canada)- for his lightness of spirit and commitment, and how he quietly gives support when needed
Earl Wagner (USA)- for his youth (really!) and desire to share his talents with the rest of us in order to make the IEA grow.
Lynda Roberts (USA)- for being our new President as of January 1st! She is a talented and committed professional, who has always worked hard on the board; she can be trusted and walks the talk. I am very happy that she has agreed to do this for the next two years and know she will do a fantastic job.
Finally, I want to thank Sandy Hatmaker, for the passion and devotion she shows for this organization; she is critical to all we do and can always be counted on.
As I finish writing this, I think back about the meaning of being part of this organization. Together, we can touch so many hearts and can make a difference in so many lives, including our own. Let’s continue doing so!
The warmest regards to you and wish you the best for 2015
María José Munita
President, IEA Board of Directors
The IEA’s mission is to help our members thrive through providing opportunities for:
- Developing greater excellence in the use of the Enneagram
- Education in theory and application of the Enneagram
- Engagement with an international community of shared interest and diverse approach
www.internationalenneagram.org – Phone: (513) 232-5054 – Fax: (513) 563-9743
International Enneagram Association 4010 Executive Park Dr., Suite 100 – Cincinnati, Ohio 45241