Friday Updates & Have A Great Weekend!

Cultivate the Karass is about making unlikely connections, forming lasting relationships, and holding each other accountable to live into the democratic promise of our nation. Sometimes, that seems further away or more abstract than others - especially in moment of political turmoil and uncertainty. But the promise of the karass we are cultivating is this: Loyal Antagonists are those you can trust to deeply challenge as well as deeply support you, throughout your life.

As the Karass continues to grow, we have more great news from our Fellows & Alums! Here are just a few of the exciting announcements:

  • Laura Leigh Oyler was named the Senior Director of International Regulatory Integration at JUUL Labs

  • Ross Dakin has joined the State of New Jersey's Office of Innovation

  • Sasha Moss is now a Senior Director at Insight Public Affairs 

  • Nick Allardice was promoted to Chief Product Officer at

What we’ve been watching and listening to this week:

As we close out the week, we want to thank the Fellows & Alums who have stepped up recently to make “Pay It Forward” Donations that ensure that the Campfire continues burning. Have a great weekend!

Have A Lovely Weekend!

More amazing news from CtK.Campfire Fellows and Alums:

Maria Town with an exciting announcement: AAPD announces new President & CEO

Today, the Board of Directors of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) announced that Maria Town has been selected as the new President & CEO. Ms. Town, a well-recognized disability rights advocate, will begin her new position on July 15, 2019. AAPD Board Chair, Ted Kennedy, Jr., said he is excited about the future of AAPD with Maria at the helm. He went on to say that he is “incredibly grateful to our current CEO, Helena Berger, for her leadership and dedication to AAPD. She has created an environment that will allow the new CEO, Maria Town, to have maximum impact at AAPD in 2019 and beyond.”

Jen Pahlka on taking Code for America to the next level: Making Government Work: The Next Ten Years (and some news)

We decided that when government truly works for people, the services it provides will be simple, accessible, and easy to use, and will get measurably better outcomes. And they will cost less. We decided that we can and must serve everyone with respect and dignity. And we realized that if we could all come together to make this real, it would be the biggest source of societal good for a generation. To solve all the daunting challenges we face as a nation and a planet, we will need smart, capable government that has the trust of its people.

Think about Code for America’s footprint: In addition to the 75 full-time people we’ll have this year, there are our community fellows and the 25,000 people active in Brigades. And there’s huge growth coming our way as we rise to the occasions of clearing all the eligible criminal records in the country, redefining the safety net, giving everyone in the country the tools they need to transform their own governments, and building a nationally visible movement. A successful growth-stage leader who is passionate about our mission, holds our vision, and can effectively lead the business processes we need at scale is exactly what we need.

Emily Holden with an in-depth look at toxic exposure in everyday life: Is modern life poisoning me? I took the tests to find out

All this testing came during a six-month journey to try to answer what sounds like a very simple question: how toxic am I?

As an environment reporter for the Guardian in Washington DC, I had noticed a growing number of experts expressing concerns about how Americans are exposed to potentially toxic chemicals just by living our everyday lives.

But how concerned should individuals be? How worried should I be?

Have A Great Weekend

Anne Snyder named Editor-in-Chief of Comment Magazine!
”Having served as a contributing editor to Comment, Snyder says she’s excited to lead a magazine at the nexus of North American cultural conversations. ‘I love Comment,’ says Snyder. ‘No other magazine has challenged me so consistently with such big questions, playing an important role in my own thinking as a Christian seeking to interpret our times. It would be an honour to amplify that role for the benefit of a wider pool of writers and readers. The world is hungry for a moral lens that is both ancient and future-oriented, coherent yet open to new ideas.’”

Anurima Bhargava in Soul Mechanism: A Community Conversation at Carnegie Hall
In preparation for the Soul Mechanism concert on May 19, celebrated performer Toshi Reagon leads a discussion with artists, activists, and community leaders on the ways ideas travel from generation to generation and across borders. Part of Migrations: The Making of America.

Bishop Garrison with his first published fiction in
“Today's speculation is truly something special. Bishop Garrison, an army veteran, joins the small but distinguished ranks of vets who use both their personal experience and speculative fiction to examine the future of warfare and the trauma it engenders through a lens you quite literally cannot find anywhere else. As Garrison tells me, "I based this writing loosely on my own experiences as a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as a West Point graduate and a national security professional working within and for the government since 2010." The subject is an AI soldier forced to cope with the trauma of war, and the result is unmissable. See for yourself. -the Ed.”

Sarah Hunt writing about innovation espionage in Protego Press
”The best weapon against these attacks, however, is something we already have in this country: Unmatched ingenuity. We can always use more — but we will only get it if our policies adapt to show our innovators that we will protect their ability to innovate and home and profit off the results of their genius on a global scale.”

Three CtK.Campfire Fellows will be hosting an event in NYC on June 11. Huge thanks to Sam Corcos, Shaun Gordon, and Claire Baumann for hosting and a special thanks to Sean O’Hare for providing the venue. If you’re in NYC on 6/11, join us for cocktails and conversation!

Plus a few interesting additions to the world of democracy building and talking across difference.

  • Eric Liu - Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy. You can buy his new book here or check out his TED Talk here. And you can hear him reading from it tomorrow (May 18!) at Politics and Prose at Union Market.

    Co-founder and CEO of Citizen University and executive director of the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program, Liu addresses groups around the country on how to be an engaged citizen in these polarized times. His new book, a follow-up to his “citizen’s guide to making change happen” You’re More Powerful Than You Think, collects nineteen of these “civic sermons”—bracing essays that explore urgent questions related to democracy, liberty, equal justice, and what it means to be part of an empowered citizenship. By turns inspiring and comforting, these pieces offer hope as well as concrete guidelines for getting involved and rehumanizing politics.

  • "For every hateful message, there was one of gratitude."

  • And a little about the SALT conference: SALT [was designed] to be a safe place to debate political opinions without vitriol. “I want to put the ‘fun’ back in political ‘dysfunction,’ ” Scaramucci said. “To me, these people should figure out a way for four days to get along with each other.”

    “I think what they are trying to tell us is that it’s okay to be together,” said Robert Wolf, the Fox News commentator who moderated the discussion. “It’s okay to respectfully disagree. And it’s okay to agree on things we should agree on.”

    “Whatever noise is going on on Twitter, there really are solid people, whether they are R’s or D’s, who just want a better, stronger, fairer country,” said Lynn Forester de Rothschild, an investment executive and Democratic Party supporter.

We continue our work to build the capacity of leaders who are willing and able to build a stronger democracy. Join us! And have a great weekend.

Transformational Leadership Development

Early feedback from the launch of CtK.Leadership Academy has been incredible. Thanks to those who participated in our inaugural workshop.

I'm loving the leadership workshop. It was just what I needed--ways to think about what being a leader means, what skills/capacities are required, and how to get there. Also, it's just wonderfully positive group to be around!

-Transformational Leadership Participant, May 2019

Have A Great Weekend!

We’re heading into the weekend with lots of reading and watching on our plate - most of it from CtK.Campfire Fellows and Alums who’ve been in the media of late:

As featured in the Times Magazine, “Meet the Other Resistance: The Republican One,” CtK.Campfire Alums & Fellows Joel Searby, Evan McMullin, and Sarah Longwell are profiled for their work as loyal antagonists on a national political scale.

  • "It was at these confabs that Longwell met Kristol...The two started Defending Democracy Together."

  • "McMullin announced his candidacy in August. Searby ran his campaign."

Emmy Ruiz among these extraordinary women: “Kamala Harris chooses women of color to drive her campaign.”

  • “Harris senior adviser Emmy Ruiz hasn't experienced this before in national politics. ‘I remember the first meeting I ever walked into,’ says Ruiz, recalling her start in the Harris campaign after she was hired in February. ‘I was surprised. I was taken aback. It was the most diverse room I've ever walked into in politics, and I've been a proud member of many diverse teams in politics.’"

Zahra Billoo on MSNBC talking about Speaker Pelosi’s response to attacks on Rep. Omar

Bishop Garrison on MSNBC on religion in public discourse. And writing in InkStink about how The Crisis at the Border Is Deepening the Civil-Military Divide.

Sarah Longwell making her debut on The Bulwark’s podcast talking about whether Bernie can beat Trump.

Plus some fun photos from our recent DC Happy Hour.

Exciting news from all around the CtK family.

Jenn Brown’s new role: “Friends, I’m so excited to announce my new job, Deputy Campaign Manager for Cory Booker!!!!

Jose Antonio Vargas is a Broadway Producer!

We wanted to highlight his recent comments on what it means to take risks in order to engage with people who don’t agree with you.

We’re closing out the week with a quick reminder about an upcoming executive leadership program! Transformational Leadership: Vertical Development & Beyond is coming up in May and there is still a little space in the 2-day program!

Want to get more out of your leadership approach? This workshop is designed to give you personal feedback and an action plan to build your capacity as a high level leader. You can find out more about the program here.

Register today! (Some discounts available.)


A Unique Approach to Leadership

The executive leadership workshop, Transformational Leadership: Vertical Development & Beyond, delves into why we lead the way we do. The program offers a stimulating and challenging curriculum that invites you to learn how to exercise leadership with more courage, skill, and effectiveness – especially in challenging times.

Transformational Leadership: Vertical Development & Beyond is different than other executive leadership programs that focus primarily on building a distinct set of skills and tactics. The program challenges you to look beyond formulating quick technical solutions that try to solve deeper organizational issues and assess your own role in making lasting change.

The two-day program requires participants to be actively engaged on several levels—in the classroom, in small groups, and in individual reflection. You’ll leave with a renewed sense of passion for your work, a personal assessment of your next steps, and the tools to transform your leadership.

Work with our team and:

  • Enhance your personal capacity to navigate complexity and change

  • Expand your self-awareness, build interpersonal effectiveness, and move towards your aspirational self

  • Learn and apply global leadership models, premises and approaches

  • Determine how to work with more efficiency - while not losing depth or meaning

  • Gain skill in giving and receiving feedback that builds relationships and generates positive change

  • Participate in transformational learning with colleagues who desire to grow into their next level of leadership effectiveness

  • Receive a personal leadership assessment and action plan


FAQs about CtK.Leadership Academy

We’ve gotten lots of interest in and questions about the upcoming CtK.Leadership Academy program Transformational Leadership: Vertical Development & Beyond and wanted to offer up the answers to a couple of FAQs:

Q: Didn’t I already do this at Campfire?
A: No! You got a brief look at Vertical Development at Campfire, but this drills down into your personal leadership style using vertical development as a tool.

Q: Do I have to have gone to Campfire to enroll in this program?
A: No! This program is ideal for anyone who is in a leadership role. Whatever training you’ve had before is great, and the skills that our executive leaders bring into our programs are always helpful. But there are no prerequisites.

Q: Will I be able to put the skills to use immediately?
A: YES! This program is designed to offer insights into your leadership style that you can operationalize immediately.

There are still a few spaces available in Transformational Leadership: Vertical Development & Beyond - and a discount for Fellows and Alums. Register today!


Campfire Testimonials

As I looked around the room on the last day I thought to myself, ‘I truly believe that some of the people in this room are going to be standing on a stage or sitting around a table together in positions or tremendous power and influence in a pivotal time in our history. And because of the seeds planted in this weekend, they will figure out a way forward.’
— Campfire Fellow, Cohort V

Campfire Testimonials

The exchange shared at CtK Campfire provided an opportunity for personal introspection and growth as well as partnership for the future. In a time of American tribalism and partisanship people of diverse backgrounds with unique perspectives came together and learned that while their American experiences were different, their goals were the same: A More Perfect Union.
— Campfire Fellow, Cohort V
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Campfire Testimonials

One of the most incredible and truly unique things about CTK Campfire was that it wasn’t just another “common ground” or squishy middle gathering. We have enough of those in my opinion and I question their efficacy. This, in contrast, was a place for robust disagreement. To stand where you stand, on principle, to be heard, to listen and then to figure out how, in that tension, to still be friends. And that’s exactly what happened.
— Campfire Fellow, Cohort V
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