Post-Urban Campfire: Meet Susan Gibson


Urban Campfire 2014 in Seattle is complete and we’ve now had a week to process the on- and off-stage stories, inspirational Girl Scouts, food, hair chalk, and meditation, etc. Many of us also shared our poignant and authentic personal stories in response to the question, “what and who in our lives have influenced us most?” 

That lunchtime question stems from my three-day residential retreats (a.k.a. Labs) for small groups of women who are interested in transformational learning through story-telling. I use the Temenos method, a process by which individuals and leaders can better understand their motivations and relationships, both personally and professionally. In these Labs, women share their past influences, acknowledge their patterns of success and self-sabotage, and activate their personal visions for the future.

Thank you for listening to my story as I told it on stage at Urban Campfire 2014. Thank you for sharing your stories across the Urban Campfire lunch tables. You helped demonstrate what I identified as my core, below (originally posted: October 2013).

I grew up in a small town in Northern Maine, the only child of parents who divorced when I was young, who had experienced deep joy and profound suffering in their 17 years of marriage.From the influence of their experiences, I learned two things that are core to who I am: The power of having a voice and the value of community.

The most important thing I learned about the power of voice is that it carries with it a responsibility – to myself and to those effected by that voice. As I wield my voice with strength and conviction, I’m mindful of the impact it has on those around me. Being intentional in my thoughts and actions is central to who I am.

In learning the value of community, I learned about relating to other human beings, the need to make authentic connections, and to surround myself with people whom I love and trust and who love and trust me. This is central to my very existence as a human being, and I have found it to be a central theme for most women.

These two things together – the value of community and the power of having a voice – have become my personal vision and my life’s purpose. Through my work, I am building a community of women who can expand and transform themselves by sharing and experiencing connections in a safe and supportive environment.

In this community of women, we are intentional in our thoughts and actions, understanding the impact our voice has on one another. We can share our influences and experiences, create authentic connections, and shift our context from competition to compassion. Together, our collective voice will emerge, stronger than our individual voices. And through this process, we can experience both personal and professional transformation.

This is me, and this a what I want from my life.  I’m grateful that my own personal and professional transformation has brought me to a place where I can help other women activate their personal visions to live out what they want from their lives as well.