On September 10, 2023, Scarlet Spark is celebrating a significant milestone – our first birthday! As we mark this special occasion, we want to take a moment to look back at the incredible journey of our past year, along with what we’ve learned from this amazing community.
One of our core values is to "drink from the cup of joy:” to dwell on the good things before we move on to solving new problems. Sometimes, we tend to move too quickly to criticism or think about what could be better, without also reflecting on—and celebrating—what’s going well. This principle has helped us learn faster and has kept our passion going strong throughout this endeavor.
It’s more fun to drink together. So, we hope you’ll join us as we reflect on our accomplishments and the lessons we've learned along the way!
Our top three learnings:
1. About Our Movement: The animal protection space is incredibly generous
We have many years of experience in the leadership development space, but we were all newbies to the animal protection movement. One of the most heartwarming lessons we've learned is how remarkably generous this community is.
Generosity with time:
Countless individuals have dedicated their time and expertise to help us deliver on our mission. Your commitment to the cause is a daily inspiration. Whether it's sharing insights, providing introductions, or showing up to our events, we are so grateful.
Generosity with resources:
Your donations have allowed us to expand our reach and impact. You have enabled us to provide vital support to organizations doing incredible work for animals but stretched too thin or just new to leadership. What’s more, donations allow us to offer our services for free, so that cost is never a barrier to entry. As each leader and organization in this space becomes stronger and more capable, the power of our entire movement grows.
Generosity with one another:
The sense of camaraderie within the animal protection space is truly remarkable. So many of you have passed along tools we’ve created, offered peer-to-peer advice in our office hours and workshops, and recommended our services to others. This space is rich with leaders who have come together to support each other, creating a network of strength and resilience. We’re honored to be part of it.
Your spirit of unity gives us confidence that we will achieve our mission for animals.
2. From Our Clients: It’s important to make the implicit, explicit:
While each of our wonderful clients has unique strengths and challenges, one theme we’ve seen throughout all organizations we’ve served is the need for even clearer communication. Since we’re all working toward the same mission, it’s easy to assume that our collaborators know what we’re expecting. But throughout our consulting sessions, we’ve seen this assumption result in misalignment, misunderstandings, stress, and double the work.
The solution? Commit to making the implicit, explicit. Whether it’s our expectations, our norms, or our needs – everyone benefits when we take the time to be clear, especially the animals. This looks like: asking clarifying questions, explaining reasoning, providing context, and getting important information in writing so we’re all on the same page.
Clear communication, even if it feels like over-communication at times, is key to preventing misunderstandings and fostering collaboration.
3. About Ourselves: We must remember the cup of joy
In our relentless pursuit of making a positive impact on animals, it’s been easy to forget to pause and savor our accomplishments because our impulse is always to do more and do better. We’ve seen our clients struggle with this tendency and noticed it starting to happen to us too. We reached for cups of self-criticism, self-blame, or sorrow, but neglected the cup of joy!
We came to realize that it’s essential to take time to celebrate the progress we've made and to reflect and learn from our achievements. This practice not only prevents burnout but also serves as a source of learning and motivation to keep us pushing forward and making a difference. We’ve recognized that our entire team needs the reminder to dwell on the good things, so we’ve made the cup of joy one of our core values.
Here are our top three accomplishments:
1. We’ve worked with 74(!) animal protection organizations:
One of our proudest achievements this year is serving 74 inspiring organizations so far, including nonprofits in Asia, Africa, LATAM, Canada, Europe, the U.K., and the U.S. Collectively, these incredible charities are fighting for the rights of farm animals, wild animals, aquatic animals, and insects, and represent a range of strategies and theories of change. It has been a privilege to support you.
2. We surveyed the community and shared our findings:
We wanted to assess the organizational and leadership needs in the animal advocacy space so that we could provide resources that the community actually needs. We gathered feedback from 63 respondents across 60 organizations and used that input to build the People Skills for Animal People (PSAP) Leadership Program curriculum. Read the full results of the survey here.
3. We launched the People Skills for Animal People Leadership Program:
We're thrilled with the successful launch of our PSAP Leadership Program 2023. This initiative is designed to equip leaders with the key skills they need to lead high-impact organizations. Over 40 animal protection organizations from around the world are participating, learning, and teaching one another.
Your Scarlet Spark Birthday Mini-Mission:
As we celebrate our first birthday, we invite you to join us in celebrating yourselves, too! Take a well-deserved five minutes right now to "drink from the cup of joy" with us. Reflect on your personal and professional accomplishments from this past year, no matter how big or small. Your contributions have played a vital role in our collective mission to serve animals, and it's essential to acknowledge and appreciate your efforts. Share your cup of joy with us on social media on Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook!
Scarlet Spark's first year was filled with meaningful achievements and valuable lessons. We are deeply grateful for the support and generosity of this incredible community. We can’t wait to continue creating human-friendly workplaces that spark the full potential of the animal protection movement. Let us remember to celebrate our successes and always find joy in the journey. Together, we can create a brighter future for animals everywhere, humans included. Happy Birthday, Scarlet Spark!