Tendrel forums are regular, confidential, and local peer groups where social entrepreneurs reflect, share, listen, and support each other through personal and professional growth.
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What is a Tendrel Forum?
A Tendrel Forum is a group of 6-10 social entrepreneurs, coming together in a recurring meeting (approximately once a month) to discuss personal and professional challenges in a confidential and trusted setting.
Members of a Forum are committed to helping each other grow personally and professionally, overcome challenges, and supporting each other. For a Forum to be successful, members must prioritize attendance and be willing to speak openly.
The key components of a healthy Forums are an agreement of confidentiality, a commitment to members owning their own experiences, and a Gestault language protocol of speaking only from experience in a non-judgemental manner. This creates a safe setting where members can be free to speak openly.
Members are all peers as social entrepreneurs, but may come from very different sectors, backgrounds, cultures, etc., allowing for diverse experiences. In order to ensure open sharing, members who are partners, co-founders, clients, or family members are generally not in the same Forum (though they can still join Tendrel and be placed in a different Forum).
How do members join a Forum?
By applying for Tendrel membership (apply HERE), members are either placed in a local Forum, or supported by staff to find other social entrepreneurs in their city and launch a new Forum. Members are placed in an existing Forum after they have met with the local Champion or Moderator and a mutual fit is established.
What is the time commitment to be in a Forum?
In order for a Forum to provide value to all members, each member must be committed to regular attendance and willing to make it a priority against their many other obligations. Each Forum sets their own understandings of attendance requirements, but attendance is taken seriously for the good of the entire group. Most Forums hold meetings once a month, for 2-3 hours. In some Forums, participation over video conference (to accommodate travel) is permitted.
What happens in Forum training?
Forum training is a four-hour workshop for all members on understanding the tenants and protocol of Forum, including group alignment on confidentiality, training on how to speak from experience versus advice-giving, and the importance of personal responsibility to show up fully for the experience with peers. It brings the group together to create the trusted space for open discussions. The Moderator of the Forum will receive a separate training on how to hold the space and be an effective leader.
What is the structure of a Forum meeting?
A typical Forum meeting includes the same structure for each meeting, but can be adapted according to the interests and needs of the Forum members. Meetings start with updates from all members-- these updates provide a parking lot of topics feeding into presentations by one member. One or two presentations or “deep dives” on a specific challenge or opportunity from one member occur each meeting. Other reflection activities, brainstorms, or ice breakers occur throughout the rest of the meeting, which is usually about four hours.
What kinds of themes or topics are discussed in Forum?
Any personal or professional topic important to a member may be discussed. Other members of the group share their own experiences in dealing with similar challenges, to help the member find their own path forward. The question “What’s keeping you awake at night?” is often used to determine what topics are most pressing.
“Tendrel immediately resonated with me. I’m part of other entrepreneur networks, but none have a local component with ongoing engagement.
This is a place where I can connect with other like-minded people who are having similar struggles."
- Sasha Chanoff, Founder and Executive Director of RefugePoint
“I have wonderful friends, but none of them really understand what I do. They say that I work too hard and I should be getting rich instead. But I get to live with what I love, and my Forum keeps me enthusiastic. We learn together, we share experiences and we help each other.”
- Carolina Nieto, Founder of Saber Para La Vida
“You can learn so much from people w similar experiences, but our experiences as social entrepreneurs are not so common. We’re constantly confronting questions about things like succession planning, hiring challenges, messaging, and organization structure, but with a different approach than for-profit organizations.
- Mathis Wackernagel, Founder and CEO, Global Footprint Network
“As social entrepreneurs, it’s usually not in our DNA to want a ton of attention, so it can be pretty lonely. We’re all out there pushing so hard in the world. Bringing people together who are of a similar mindset is invaluable to me. We all have to fight battles, and this organization sustains us. You don’t have to be alone.”
- Victoria Hale, The Institute for One World Health