Monday, May 28, 2018

Gale West's Success with Soul Summit starts June 4

Success with Soul Summit host
Gale West

What do Rhonda Britten, Lynne Twist, Dr. Richard Schwartz, Ben Saltzman, Susan Jenkins, Georgina Sweeney, Lisa Marie Platske, Brandon Peele, Mark E. Sackett, Alison Armstrong, Jennifer Hough, Sahar Nafal, Martin Rutte, Jeffrey Van Dyk and Jodie Baudek all have in common?

They’ve all been on Oprah?

Close. A few of them have been.

They’re authors, coaches, and thought leaders in the area of personal transformation. All are participating in the Success with Soul Summit hosted by Evanston’s own transformation coach Gale West. It starts June 4 and runs for two weeks.

Gale talked to these leaders about living fearlessly, designing your own destiny, love, the need for community, the value of creativity and other topics relating to aligning passion and profession in agreement with the nature of one's own being...and recorded their conversation.

One thought leader/coach is featured daily. Sign up online to receive the link to his/her conversation with Gale in your inbox each morning.

The summit is "free" and hopefully freeing. ;-)
The summit will only cost you some time and attention. It might even cost you some limiting beliefs, which would surely make this all worthwhile.
(If you'd like access to the talks after the summit, that will cost you some money.)

If you’ve been feeling that our society’s current definition of success, which tends to foster competition and values image, status and money for money’s sake, is soul sucking, this is for you.

Gale says this summit aims to promote new definitions of success that are soul nourishing, life enhancing, celebrate your unique gifts in the marketplace, allow your magnificence to shine and for money to be an agent for good.

It promises to be inspirational. Maybe it will change your life.

Ooh. Cool. Thank you, Karen.

You're welcome.

Friday, May 18, 2018

PizzaFest ala Evanston Rotary at Gigio's May 22

Incoming Rotary Club of Evanston president
Michele Berg, with outgoing club president Dick Peach,
at last year's eat-a-thon.
[Photo by Ada P. Kahn]
Evanston's annual May all-you-can-eat pizza and pop extravaganza is a go for Tuesday, May 22 at Gigio's Pizzeria, at Davis and Maple. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and close at 8:30 p.m. Go having combed your hair, washed your face and wearing a clean outfit, because lots of pictures will be made at this party. Last year's doings can be seen online.

The big cheeses expected to serve up the slices include Rotary International's John Hewko and Evanston Community Foundation's Monique B. Jones, and Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse's Aina Gutierrez, as well as Evanston's own Mayor Steve Hagerty, Alderman Peter Braithwaite and one of Evanston's unofficial mayors, Dick Peach.

Organized by the Rotary Club of Evanston, tickets to this eat-a-thon run $20 for adults and $12 for kids, if you purchase from a club member or online before May 22. Tickets at the door will cost a bit more.

Funds raised will support community projects and initiatives vital to the well-being of all of those in Evanston.

Past and recent beneficiaries include James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, Family Focus Evanston, On Your Feet Foundation, Curt's Cafe South, Evanston Food Exchange, The Ridgeville Foundation, Park School PTA, School for Little Children, Youth & Opportunity United/Y.O.U., Mudlark Theater Company and Youth Job Center.

The Evanston RoundTable ran a piece about the club's recent philanthropy.

Rehabbing homes for low-income families, cleaned-up beaches, packing backpacks of school supplies for K-12 students, planting trees, maintaining Evanston's International Friendship Garden and raising funds for not-for-profit organizations addressing issues from illiteracy to HIV/AIDS to homelessness, poverty, and gang violence are some of the other things Rotary Club of Evanston does locally.

Through the network of 35,000+ clubs connected through Rotary International--which just happens to be headquartered at Sherman and Grove--the Rotary Club of Evanston and the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club partner with other clubs to do what they can to tackle the world's most pressing humanitarian challenges, which include eradicating polio, disaster relief, clean water and micro-enterprise in Kenya, and upgrading health care systems in Guatemala.

Most of the humanitarian efforts Rotarians work on globally fall under six areas of focus: peace and conflict prevention/resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development.

To donate to the Rotary Club of Evanston (or a buy a ticket to PizzaFest), you can go online. Another way to donate is to walk a check over to Dick Peach at Dempster Auto Rebuilders before July 20. In exchange you can get a hug, but if you're not into that, he'll shake your hand.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

What’s on your mind, Evanston? What do you believe?

Update: April 27, 2018

The On The Table Evanston 2018 dinner will be at Evanston Township High School on May 8. Anyone and everyone who cares about Evanston is invite. That said, seating is limited, so if you want to come, sign up soon. Click here to RSVP and for other additional information.


March 2018

Tell me and my colleagues HERE.

Below I ask again, but more graciously, and explain why it matters.

THIS I BELIEVE: When you and I come together, as fellow human beings and community members, to listen and learn, we have the power to enhance the lives of our neighbors and the quality of life in our community. I also believe that all of us--I say ALL OF US--have stories and perspectives to share that others would benefit hearing about. Can I get an AMEN?!

What do you believe? I'd like to know. Others would like to know. Really.

In the works for mid-May is an On The Table Evanston dinner. I hope you’ll come. I’m one of its organizers, on behalf of the Rotary Club of Evanston. My co-organizer is Joi-Anissa Russell, Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Moran Center for Youth Advocacy.  The exact date, time and place for this meal has yet to be determined. The point of this gathering is to get neighbors talking, listening and thinking about the issues that matter to them, as well as inspire new relationships and collaboration in the Evanston area.

How lovely would it be to break down some of the us vs. them perceptions that creep into the way we think?

Joi-Anissa and I don’t pretend to know everything, so we’re asking for guidance.

Here’s what we want to know: What topic(s) would you be most interested in exploring with community members at this meal? What is on your mind regarding the larger Evanston community and your specific neighborhood?

Please answer HERE. Note that if you give us your email address, we’ll make sure you get an invitation to what we expect to be a rare, very interesting event. Thank you.



On The Table meals are not new to the Chicago area or Evanston. I hosted a dinner 2 years ago at Peckish Pig. That same year a variety of Evanston organizations hosted their own gatherings. Initiated by the Chicago Community Trust in 2014, On the Table is an annual forum designed to elevate civic conversation, foster new relationships and inspire collaborative action across the region.

Terry Mazany, Chicago Community Trust's former President and CEO reflects on his takeaways: Listening with Courage and Compassion: Lessons from On the Table

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Let's Talk about Engineered Foods, Pesticides and Health at ETHS April 10

ETHS Green Team invites everyone who cares about the food they eat to a conversation with Drs. Thierry Vrain and Susan Buchanan. They will discuss
how does industrial agriculture impact your health and steps we can take to protect ourselves and families.
Tuesday, April 10, 7 p.m.
ETHS Auditorium
1600 Dodge Ave.
Tickets: Free
RSVP via Eventbrite
Dr. Thierry Vrain is a longtime soil biologist and genetic engineer at the Canadian Department of Agriculture, past president of national and international associations of soil biologists, and an associate editor of scientific journals in Europe and the USA.
Dr. Susan Buchanan is the Director of the Great Lakes Center for Children’s Environmental Health/ Region 5 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health.

Co-hosts include Go Green Oak Park and Citizen's Greener Evanston.

As a primer to this discussion, consider listening to
what Dr. Vrain has to saw about GMOs here.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

My Spouse Daniel Biss: Our Best Choice for Governor of Illinois

Karin and Daniel with their children,
Theodore and Elliot.

by Karin Steinbrueck

It’s not every day that someone gets to vote for their spouse to be the Democratic candidate for governor in the state of Illinois – but that day is almost here for me. And I couldn’t be prouder. 

Since Daniel and I met thirteen years ago, I’ve always supported him in all his endeavors. I wouldn’t have said yes to this campaign if I didn’t believe that he is truly the best person to be out next governor and rebuild Illinois for working families. Here are a few reasons why:

    •    Daniel has been a standout progressive leader in the Senate of the Illinois General Assembly, passing over 80 bills that have improved the lives of working families like ours. From protecting patients with pre-existing conditions to banning the gay panic defense to protecting reproductive freedom -- Daniel works harder than anyone I know (with maybe the exception of his mother) to get things done. He may not always remember where things belong at home, but he never forgets that his work in government is to help and better the lives of the people of Illinois.

    •    As a middle class father with kids in public schools, he is in a much better position to represent everyday Illinoisans than any inexperienced billionaire – because he knows what it’s like to worry about things like sticking to a budget in order to pay the mortgage, and to cover property taxes that are 10% of our income.

    •    Even though our family isn’t part of the 1%, Daniel's campaign for governor has the resources to succeed. He has actually raised more money than the other guys, and he did it through small grassroots donations from passionate supporters. He has the kind of support that money can’t buy, while others have to write giant checks to themselves to meet their quarterly deadlines.  

    •    I’m in a unique position to tell you that Daniel is compassionate, committed, and works harder than anyone I know. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Any of his colleagues in the Illinois General Assembly will tell you the same thing.

Even though I am biased, I ask that when you vote in the March 20th primary you’ll cut through the noise and consider Daniel’s proven record of progressive leadership, legislative experience, and commitment to working families – and, like me, that Daniel has earned your vote.  Thank you.


Karin grew up in New Hampshire, but traveled often to Illinois to visit her maternal grandmother in Chicago and family in Mt. Prospect and Addison.  She is a first-generation American and the first in her family to earn a PhD, which she received from Northwestern in 2017. She is a historian of modern European history, specializing in 20th century Communist Central and Eastern Europe.  She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the former Soviet Union, was Fulbright Scholar in Romania, and worked as a photojournalist. Currently, she is an adjunct professor in history in National Louis University's Pathways Program. In her free time she loves to cook, knit, and be in the forest or at the beach. 


I hope when you go to the polls on March 20 or vote early, that you'll have done your homework, consider all you've learned about candidate in all the races and cast an informed vote for the women and men you think will do the best job for all of Illinois.  

I've known Daniel Biss since as early 2010 when I started working with Abbey Fishman Romanek on her election for Cook County judge. I like him. I appreciate his intelligence and demeanor. He's a good listener and supportive of what others are working on. Translation: He's really smart. He's put up with my smartass-ery very well. He's been nice to me and said nice things about me in public. He didn't mock me when an event for new voters that I planned didn't go as expected. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Joys of Canvassing

This New York Times Magazine piece I just came across is such a lovely read, you’ll consider canvassing to see if you too can blow someone's mind.

“…After a long day of canvassing on that Saturday, tired but exuberant volunteers returned for a debriefing. One canvasser stood up and spoke of moving a man to a seven from a three. Another — a tattooed student who identifies as gender-nonconforming — proudly recalled persuading a voter “who clearly had no experience with anyone who identified as being outside the gender binary. He said I blew his mind, and that he would never forget the conversation we had!”…” Read more here.

Originally posted January 19, 2012

by Anne Crowe 

Saturday morning, 10 a.m.  It’s sunny and crisp as I pull up to my local Democratic office. Gear check: comfortable shoes, hat, gloves and chapstuff. There’s a spring in my step and a smile on my face. Canvassing today!

Inside, there’s coffee and donuts and collecting packets for the canvass. The packets include your walk map, lists of names and addresses of Democratic voters and a script. I could go alone, but I prefer a walk partner. Both to commiserate and cheer with. More importantly, for me, a walk partner shares tasks and its easier for both of us. Sometimes, we do odds and evens, making our way on blocks that maybe we’ve never seen before and talking to people who have never heard of our candidate.

So off we go, into the neighborhood. We check where we are, house numbers and names. The first door knock and the next. This is where the real work starts and the reward.

This is a chance to interact with my neighbors on a meaningful level about a candidate I know and believe in. Some people aren’t home, aren’t answering or aren’t interested. When someone comes to the door, we are elated. We establish rapport by introducing ourselves and our candidate. We offer information, answer questions and discuss the ideals and values of the candidate. 

Even when the weather is awful, the idea that I can be an instrument of political change is enough to keep me going. The people we meet make it worthwhile and perhaps, in part because of us, our candidate will garner another vote.

The camaraderie in a Democratic campaign office after a successful canvass is energizing.  Our packets are complete and given to the campaign manager.  Stories of friendly supportive neighbors are exchanged over the last cups of coffee. 

Community building is a civic privilege. Canvassing allows citizens a unique means of connecting with each other, the ability to educate neighbors and effect real change.

That said, walking around talking to people is a great way to lift body and spirit. And at the end of the day, to feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from doing the good work.

Anne Crowe lives in Chicago, near the shores of Lake Michigan. Anne enjoys all aspects of campaigning and volunteers for local, state and presidential campaigns. When not involved with politics, Anne is a licensed clinical professional counselor and works at NORC at the University of Chicago.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

New Years Eve Lite: Hacks for First Night Evanston 2018

by Victoria Reeves

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve?  Many folks want to stay home where it is warm and safe. What if there was a low stress way to celebrate New Years without dressing up?

Come check out First Night Evanston, a community event located in 3 venues surrounding Raymond Park at Chicago Avenue and Lake Street. First Night is a family-friendly celebration of music, comedy, poetry, storytelling, puppetry and circus arts.

First Night began in Boston in 1975, when a group of artists and musicians wanted to celebrate New Year’s Eve by sharing their creativity in an indoor/outdoor, all-ages format. From Burlington, VT to Monterey, CA, cities across America host these unique cultural celebrations. Why not join the movement and take back New Year’s?

I am all about convenience and comfort. After attending First Night for over 10 years, I’ve come up with some First Night hacks to help you end the year on a fun note:
  •         Buy your First Night Evanston button(s) at either Whole Foods Evanston location (service desk) before the night of the event. It’s $30 for adults and $10 for teens/children.  Pin the button to your backpack for easy entrance to all events.
  •         Take the Purple Line to Dempster Station and walk a few blocks. If you are driving, you can park for free at the Evanston parking garage adjacent to the Holiday Inn at 1501 Sherman.  This parking garage is a central location that will get you to most venues within a few blocks. Check the website for other free parking alternatives.
  •         Dress in wool layers and bring a large backpack to carry your clothes. If possible, avoid wearing a large coat that you will have to carry around. The venues get crowded and hot, so stripping down to a base layer of a t-shirt and jeans will keep you comfortable.  There is also folk dancing, so bringing a water bottle is a great idea. In the performances, you can put your backpack under your feet or your chair to allow others to sit near you.
  •         Bring snacks. Once you find a seat at that performance you were dying to see, you won’t want to leave it to forage for open restaurants in sub-zero weather!
  •         Plan out which performances you want to attend in advance.  Plan to arrive 15 minutes early to line up for seating. That may mean leaving 15 minutes early from a previous performance.  It will be worth it in order to get a good seat.  I always try to sit at the end of a row, near the door, so I can leave early without disrupting others.
  •         Go alone! Many people attend by themselves as this is a great way to fight cabin fever, hear some quality music, watch some storytelling and poetry performances or even hang with the families during the children’s programming from 2-4pm.  The energy at this event is very welcoming, so feel free to join in with or without a plus one.

For information on the 3 venues, artists and times, go to the First Night Evanston  site. There is a day time schedule focused on family and kids fun and an evening schedule especially for adults. A sincere thanks to all the former and current organizers and sponsors of the celebration of creativity.

There's a nice write up about about this year's December 31 fun by Peter Winslow on the Evanston RoundTable news site.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Victoria Reeves is a writer and career coach based in Evanston, though her focus is worldwide. For more than 15 years, she has worked with thousands of college students and professionals in the U.S. and abroad on all aspects of their written and spoken communication skills. "I'm fascinated with the process of clarifying, quantifying and actualizing one's true voice," she says. Through this experience of unearthing "right livelihood", Victoria helps her clients open doors to personal, academic and professional success. She is passionate about empowering others to clarify their values, discover their true paths and map out steps towards integrating their intentions with concrete actions.

Along this line, Victoria is also an artist who makes textile art iterations called Empowerment Dolls: Art Dolls for Grown Folks and writes essays about Explorations on Internal and External Journeys on her blog, Victoria Reeves: Cool Girl Writer.