A Rare Type of Guild Gathering in the Land of Enchantment

Written by Fallon Grafe

Photo of Al Sample, Jeremy Marshall, and Zander Evans.

On December 7, 2023, there was a unique Guild Gathering in Santa Fe. Our southwest office was hosting an in-person board meeting that week and decided to have a social gathering to give the Board of Directors and our staff a chance to meet with partners, members, and anyone with a general interest in the Forest Stewards Guild. The event was held at CHOMP – a multi-cultural food hall and event space. (Photo of Al Sample, Jeremy Marshall, and Zander Evans)

We gathered and chatted about Guild happenings in the southwest and around the country. It proved to be a terrific way for ideas sprouted at the board meeting to spill over into a casual scenario, allowing even more creative juices to flow. Members and partners met board members and talked with staff about current and ongoing projects or ideas for the future. Sharing values and concerns while talking with people in the Guild community seems to be a fantastic way for plans to bloom.

Having board members from across the country discuss what was happening in their regions was quite enlightening. The last chance the board met in person instead of virtually was before the pandemic. It was an excellent meeting of the minds and a welcome chance for board members to develop deeper and more meaningful relationships with each other and see multiple points of view in one place. (Photo of Eytan Krasilovsky, Kate Cartwright, and David Van der Goes)

Eytan Krasilovsky, Kate Cartwright, and David Van der Goes.

Wrapped in this bundle of opportunities was another, for one of our newest staff members, Erika Rowland. Erika is based in Maine and came to the Southwest and met staff members in Santa Fe for the first time. It was wonderful to spend a little time with her and learn more about her strengths and the previous experience she brings to the Guild.

In addition to great company, there was a festive and fun atmosphere for the Gathering. Santa Fe is a lovely place to be for the holidays and we had a nice snow storm the week before. It was a beautiful winter evening and lights were up all over town. The farolitos were glowing (if you do not know what these are, come to Santa Fe in December – you may give us a reason to have another gathering). This first night of Hanukkah was just the beginning of a happy and festive holiday season. The Guild worked with local vendors at the venue for a fun and delicious spread. Plus, we got to be fashionable because Guild gear was given as door prizes.

Photo of John Fenderson, Bill and Dixie Bradley.

The gathering was a success. Good things came from it and innovative ideas and points of view went home with members and partners and were fresh in the minds of board members the next morning for the second day of their meeting. This was a rare event, but hopefully will become less so in the coming years. Cheers! (Photo of John Fenderson, Bill and Dixie Bradley)