2010 ITW Retreat
On January 23rd, ITW volunteers, board and staff met in a grayish Seattle to vet problems, generate ideas and strategize about the rapidly approaching Uganda project! Attendees traveled from Vermont, Arizona, Utah, Texas and Canada. ITW is an organization of telecommuters and working groups who nearly always meet through teleconference calls and WebEx. What a treat it was for us to face each other in a room! We got to know each other much better and learned that ITW’s ranks include: a former synchronized swimmer, a breeder of African cichlids from Lake Tanganyika, an attendee of the 1962 World’ Fair in Seattle, an individual whose name, literally translated, means “Free Honey” and a professional rifle shooter. Brilliant ideas were generated and quashed in minutes, fires were lit, urgencies were communicated, cross-disciplinary meetings were forged… The breadth of educational and professional backgrounds was rich and myriad, appropriately, as the multitude of tasks and activities related to the ITW model require.
The general spirit was one of egoless inspiration as all parties work towards a goal bigger than anyone in the room: improving and saving the lives of those living in vastly under-resourced areas. For me, it was important to see the workgroups meeting for the first time to see how their pieces fold into overall model. This meeting affirmed my belief that nothing works well in a vacuum and while telecommuting saves all kinds of resources (time and money being two big ones) there is no substitute for face to face contact.
I’d like to send a special thanks to Natasha Fedo and Berk and Associates for facilitating, McKesson for providing the great space, and all of the ITW volunteers that incurred great time and money expense to attend this important meeting. ITW wouldn’t exist without the altruistic spirit that we seem to run across in spades. Although ITW has yet to receive the funding we need to really make this project go, we are wealthy in the dedication, passion and expertise of our people.