May’s theme is Preserve

The beauty in our world deserves to be cherished, sustained, and rediscovered. We share this life, and every day we have the opportunity to act as thoughtful participants in it.

What do we care about? What do we take for granted? Would we miss it if it disappeared?

Preservation begins with asking deep questions and turning our attention to the environment around us.

Marine biologist and explorer Sylvia Earle wrote in her book, The World is Blue, “Should we race to see how quickly we can consume the last tuna, swordfish, and grouper? Or race to see what can be done to protect what remains? For now, there is still a choice.”

Our daily habits are a mirror reflecting back what we truly care about. Our actions are key to protecting the wellbeing of our communities, cities, and planet. Pause for a moment to notice what is being neglected and take an audit.

We can break out of patterns, simplify our lives, and focus on the things that will last a long time. Together, we can chart a brighter path into the future.

Our Charleston chapter chose this month’s exploration of Preserve and Chris Nickels illustrated the theme.

Thank you to our Global Partners—Mailchimp, Adobe, and WordPress.com—for supporting us.

INCLUSIVE | SALLY KEMP

I create opportunities for people to connect…to awkwardly & beautifully bump into each other and into new ideas.

And now that you’re here, be brave. Be everyway alive.

The last lines of Peter Gizzi’s poem that, for Sally Kemp, inspire thought and action. As founder of Milk River Arts, Sally uses courage and creativity to inspire a neurodiverse community of artists who make up a collective in the Church Hill neighborhood in Richmond, VA.

Her purpose is simple - Recognize and value the artists who live among us and introduce them to the right mentors & materials so they can support one another and amplify what is their One-of-a-Kind Voice. Sally curates the exchange between artists with and without disabilities and feels the hum of being most fully alive in moments where validation, delight and discovery spring up inside the studio.

Thank you to our generous partners at Capital One, IdeaWeavers, Worth Higgins and Associates, ICF Next, Martin Agency, and Joe Smith

  • Venue November Theatre
  • Coffee & Breakfast Urban Hang Suite
  • Videography Antonio Knoxx
  • Photography Jae and J Photo
  • In Kind Printing Keith Fabry

Watch the full talk here.

Flow through the photos here.

April’s theme is Inclusive

When different people come into our lives, they bring gifts. We can blend the best of our wisdom with the best of theirs. We can teach and learn from each other to produce closer circles that foster community and commit to diversity.

People who include with intention, raise their hand to do the work of embracing what is unfamiliar. Inclusion is an attitude to consciously be open to ideas that come from outside of our settled ways of thinking or feeling. It’s about making a decision that comes from a place of love, of caring for others.

When you place inclusivity at the center of how you live, it has great power to heal, elevate new voices, and change the narrative of who belongs. As diversity advocate Vernā Myers once said, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” Our Grand Rapids chapter chose this month’s exploration of Inclusive, Libby VanderPloeg illustrated the theme, and WordPress.com is presenting the theme globally.

WATER | REBECCA THOMAS

“One theme has remained consistent throughout my career: I rely on my best ideas for work.” Rebecca Thomas is a veteran entrepreneur, expert problem-solver and writer of useful things. Her entrepreneurial career began at twenty-four with a small real estate firm. In 2005 she opened a retail wine bar which has grown into a 150 seat restaurant (kybecca.com).

Her experience in building a restaurant from the ground up, sustaining it and evolving the business to meet a changing marketplace has enabled her to understand how important it is to set your enterprise up correctly from the get-go. Structure sets success.

Thank you to our generous partners at Capital One, IdeaWeavers, Worth Higgins and Associates, ICF NextMartin Agency, Fahrenheit IT, and newest addition Joe Smith

  • Venue The Woman’s Club of Richmond
  • Coffee & Breakfast Lamplighter Coffee Roasters
  • Videography Starchild Productions
  • Photography Heather Michelle Photography 
  • In Kind Printing Keith Fabry

Watch the fluid talk here.

Flow through the photos here. 

March’s theme is WATER

It’s the main source of all life. The lifeblood element that makes up 60% of our bodies. It’s the liquid that we don’t drink enough of, yet waste effortlessly. It’s home to millions of species, mysteries, and undiscovered knowledge.

We know more about the stars in the sky than the depths of our oceans. We can use it to save lives. If used foolishly, it can take lives. We think there is an abundance, yet only one percent can be touched. If we don’t protect our waters, then what will happen to life?

Our Perth chapter chose this month’s exploration of Water and Sofia Varanoillustrated the theme.

Richmond, join us on March 15th to explore together. 

February’s theme is SYMMETRY What do a planet, an attractive face, and a snowflake have in a common?

Symmetry.

Symmetry is prevalent throughout life. You can fold a sunflower in half, stories have an arc, and the human body can bend and create mesmerizing shapes. There are also irregularities that enhances life; it adds beauty and complexity. If there’s symmetry in nature, then there must be a kind of symmetry in the way we lead our lives.


Symmetry cannot be possible without asymmetry, the same way sadness magnifies joy.

Alan Lightman wrote in The Accidental Universe, “I would claim that symmetry represents order, and we crave order in this strange universe we find ourselves in.” But chaos will happen whether we like it or not, it’s how we respond to it that either creates order or more chaos.


When in chaos, create your symmetry.

Our Saint Petersburg chapter chose this month’s exploration of Symmetry, Anna Fadeeva illustrated the theme, and Mailchimp is the presenting partner.



Tickets go live on Monday, February 11th at 10:00 am. 

SURREAL | MARCEL AMES

Marcel Ames of X of Pentacles gave us a dose of reality and empowerment as he shared his story about how surreal events in his life led to the most creative adventures. 

Thank you to our local partners who helped us start the year strong: Capital One, IdeaWeavers, Worth Higgins and AssociatesICF Olson and Fahrenheit IT.

Watch the full talk here.

See more of the global action with #CMsurreal.

MEET OUR JANUARY SPEAKER: MARCEL AMES 

Before Marcel Ames became the guy in wingtips, he was on-track to join the boys in blue. The Richmond native was gearing up for a career in law enforcement when life—in the form of a concussion suffered during training—set the 30-year-old on a new path. Today, he produces pocket squares, ties and made-to-measure suits, as well as a collection of women’s scarves set to debut later this summer, which can be purchased from Ames directly. 

Read more about Ames’ inspiration in this Virginia Living article here


Meet us for coffee and creative inspiration on Friday, January 18th at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture as we explore this month’s global theme #CMsurreal. Tickets go live for this month’s event on Monday, January 14 at 10am.

January’s theme is SURREAL. 

When you look at the artwork of Frida Kahlo or Salvador Dalí, there’s an element of surprise. Why does it feel familiar yet also otherworldly? Surrealists sought to break free from the shackles of the rational mind and dive into the deep end of the unconscious. The canvas, then, became a mirror for what emerged out of that process. This movement was inspired by events in the 1920s on the heels of the first world war and continues to influence artists, writers, photographers, and filmmakers.

This cultural and artistic movement ushered in new techniques that helped humans expand their minds. Today, we recognize a sense of the surreal in unexpected moments in daily life. Art exhibits like Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room are becoming readily available, encouraging people to immerse themselves in experiences that break reality. A ballet performance or a silent meditation retreat can be a dreamlike experience.

Whether we experience a surreal moment or dabble in processes like drawing without thinking or writing without self-editing, there’s something to be learned about ourselves and what lingers under the hood of our desires to keep life orderly and controlled. Happy New Year! Our Brussels chapter chose this month’s exploration of Surreal and Charlotte Dumortier illustrated the theme. SURREAL is presented globally this month by WordPress.com.

Join our exploration on January 18th. Tickets go live January 14th at 10 am. 

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