Niyonu: My Personal Story An Instrument of Transformation
If the process of transforming an individual or an organization was
as straightforward as developing a business plan, an artist would contribute little to the effort. But when you’re charged with achieving profound and lasting change, you’re dealing with deeply held feelings and beliefs. You need to engage the whole person – heart, mind and spirit. That is absolutely the province of the artist.
I was raised in a family where music
and social justice held equal sway.
Growing up in Newark during the uprisings of the late 1960s, confronted by burning buildings and crumbling neighborhoods, stoked my activist spirit. My passion for music, however, led me to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where a seed was planted:
my music could become an instrument of personal and social transformation.
In the 1980’s and early 90’s, I taught high school and directed student musicals. I also assumed administrative roles, and became fascinated by the inner workings of organizations.
My interest grew with each passing year, and finally took root in the Master’s Program in Organizational Development at American University. I found my mentor, Dr. Darya Funches who fused business, math, psychology and metaphysics into the art and science of transformation.
My work with Darya helped me develop a core of ideas that would become the basis of my consulting practice:
• An organization’s mission is its reason for being. It’s what unites the organization’s people and activities around a common goal.
• Over time, an accumulation of policies, practices and perceptions that have lost their relevance can leave people and entire organizations out of alignment with their purpose.
• Inside every organization lies the knowledge and passion which can increase effectiveness. Releasing the energy bound up in aging and ineffective systems requires more than strategic analysis and planning. In order to illuminate and tap into that collective knowing, you must engage the whole organization.
• Releasing the deep-seated beliefs that fragment focus and smother passion requires a holistic process able to set free the emotional baggage stored in our bodies.
• The quickest way to re-align an organization with its core mission is to re-engage its people with the truth and passion in their hearts.
Our growing understanding of human and organizational dynamics points ever more directly to creativity as the foundation of today’s successful enterprises. As we strive to release the highest potential of individuals, organizations and the communities that they serve,
I am deeply grateful to have first found my calling through the arts.
More organizations and programs founded and led by Niyonu: