Mindful Consumption

In the USA, the Friday after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, is a major shopping day. Each year showcases huge sales and the mobs that attend them, and the day always includes at least one episode of heated exchanges over products getting out of control. Why do we engage with commerce in this way? Is it benefiting us? 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to get a good price, but as November, with all its emphasis on abundance and nourishment, comes to a close, and we look towards December and its huge emphasis on consumerism in the lead up to Christmas, we want to make sure that we stay connected to ourselves by engaging with mindful consumption.

But what is mindful consumption? EFLI staff share their thoughts:


I learned mindful consumption through participating in EFLI NYC, EFLI’s spring break program that focuses on the importance of sustainable fashion. In that program, we discussed fast fashion and how easy it is to not shop intentionally; to be lured by cheap prices, without considering what makes the clothing so cheap. I now look at price tags in more complex ways, and take into consideration how something is made, and why it costs what it costs. Now, even with things I own, I donate what I can instead of throwing it away, and work to be mindful about what I need versus what I want.  

Asking myself before I buy anything- do I have this already? Why do I want to buy this? And if I want to buy something, I make sure to take into consideration where the item was made, and what materials are in it.

Recognizing why I am choosing to look at a screen has helped me be more mindful about when and how much I do it. Am I actually interested in scrolling Instagram, or am I stressed about what my boyfriend just said? I’m watching this TV show because I need to have a mental escape from my busy day, or because I am avoiding something else that would be better for me?

EFLI taught me to ask more questions about the clothes I buy. The big question I now ask about my clothing is: How many hands have been involved in the creation of this clothing? Also: do I agree with the value on this price tag?


I think mindful consumption is when I spend time on meaningful things, and spend money on necessary things. It makes me less wasteful, and inspires me to reduce what I buy, and recycle and re-use everything that I do consume.

Mindful consumption can feel like an oxymoron, but I think it’s when you take steps to define what it means to consume in a way that is healthy or manageable for you. I know that, for me, I have to be aware of everything that I am consuming, and where those things come from. It is as important to know where your food is from and who makes your clothes as it is to know who is buying ads on the social media apps you use or the television you watch—there is so much to consume, and we have to be really mindful about the impact our choices make.

Consuming anything mindfully leads to a feeling of wealth, richness, because it allows me to look for the innate quality of goodness and value in all that I consume.

I think mindful consumption stems from asking myself if I really need something. I don't generally buy things in excess. We are all consuming things every day - food, products, ideas, images - mindful consumption would mean reflecting on all of that intake and making a choice about each one of those things.

Self Nourishment

“Everything that makes me happy is nourishing.”

Thanksgiving is around the corner, which means that we are thinking a lot about nourishment. Nourishment is a word typically associated with food, but it’s also a word we find ourselves using when we explore ways to stay connected to ourselves during this hectic time of year.

Whether or not you choose to celebrate Thanksgiving, we hope you can find time to take advantage of this time of year as a moment where we can hit pause and give gratitude for the conversations we are having about abundance, nourishment, and mindful consumption. What are they, and why are they important? Everyone at EFLI has differing opinions about what these words and concepts mean, so we wanted to share them here.

This week’s topic: How do you nourish yourself?


Finding time to eat is really important, but so is finding time to spend with my friends, reading books, and being quiet.


-going for walk

-being in nature

-reading a book



-taking pictures

Nourishment is anything I’m consuming: from what I eat to what I wear, and being conscious about the effects of my consumerism. It’s how I protect the relationship I have with my body and my mind. It’s how I choose to engage with the world around me.

I find nourishment when I create space in my life to enjoy pleasures that aren’t rooted in work or school, like taking a bath, getting my nails done, going to a museum, hanging out with my friends, drawing, spending time with my family, and traveling whenever I can.


I feel nourished when I surround myself with friends and laughter, and also when I allow my body to sleep as much as it needs, make time to go to therapy, and watch the sun rise or set.

Silence is a form of nourishment--it allows me to listen to the world around me. I also like to nourish myself by dancing in the shower!

I find nourishment to be a daily practice in and of itself. Each day I think about nourishing the mind, body and spirit/soul. In addition to mindful eating practices (not gonna lie, I had a giant, gooey, chocolate chip cookie yesterday and felt nourished by the decadence, so my definition of mindful eating is more about consciously eating things I love), I have started playing piano again - I find the practice of reading music and learning a new piece to be incredible stimulating and nourishing. It activates my brain to read the language of music when starting a new piece - and then my body/soul when I play and hear the piece. Yoga and regular physical activity really support my nourishment as well. I find I'm a much better person when I have gone to the gym or done something that aligns my mind back together with my body and spirit.

Spotlight on EFLI Alumni Jessie Heller

Former EFLI participant Jessie Heller is a student activist whose anti-gun work was recognized by Dazed magazine this past summer. Watch this short video to learn more about Jessie's journey, and please join her and other EFLI alums tonight at 6:30pm EST for "Too Young to Vote?" a conversation and resource guide for young people who want to make a difference in their communities, but are too young to vote! Tonight's event is online, and open to all.

Please register here: https://efli-alumni-network.mn.co/events/too-young-to-vote


With the days getting shorter and the holiday season fast approaching, along with all its pressures to buy gifts and experience this time of year in specific ways, it can feel difficult to stay connected to ourselves. Instead of letting these pressures distract us, we want to remain engaged with the gifts this time of year can offer anyone: a moment in our calendars to hit pause, reflect, and re-connect with ourselves.

As we pull out our sweaters and think about where we want to spend our time off from work this year, we have also been discussing abundance, nourishment, and mindful consumption. What are they, and why are they important? Everyone at EFLI has differing opinions about what these words and concepts mean, so we wanted to share them here.

First up: What is abundance?


Abundance means not just having enough, but having more than enough. When you have abundance in your life, you accept what you have and don’t ask for more.

The feeling of having plenty of something, whether it’s a literal object or a feeling of love or connection, is my definition of abundance.

I feel abundance when I am able to see the good in situations, and when I feel capable of shifting my mindset from one of fear towards one of bravery.  

When I have an abundance of resources, that means I have all the tools I need to do what I want to do. This makes me feel capable, empowered, and confident.


Abundance is the ability to fully enjoy what you have, without guilt.   

Abundance is the feeling of having enough while also knowing that there is enough for everyone's needs to be met.

I think abundance can be a mindset (i.e. the difference between have a poverty mindset vs. a mentality of abundance). When we operate from a place of abundance, we are filled with gratitude, generosity, caring for others, and a deep sense of possibility.

Abundance is contentment. When I experience it, I have a feeling that I can share openly, because there is nothing I have to protect or hold back.

Mindful October (Part 3)

October is almost over, but we will remain mindful. Here are some closing thoughts from the EFLI community about what mindfulness means to them.


Mindfulness is being fully present and in tune with myself, my body, my surroundings, my actions, and the impact of my actions.

Working out feels very meditative for me because it really helps me get in touch with myself and my body. Journaling and drawing allow whatever is brewing to come out and onto the page, helping me connect with what's going on in myself without having to think about it too hard. Sitting in silence is a way for me to set intentions for myself; usually after I work out and stretch every morning I give myself a moment of silence and set some intentions for myself for the day.

I think finding ways to practice mindfulness in some of the smallest and simplest actions of my day really helps me feel more present and full. Like when I walk and practice mindfulness, I really try to take in my surroundings using all senses, and just focus on being as fully present as possible.

For me, mindfulness makes me feel meditative and calm. When I am mindful I feel more present and aware, and a joyful sense of energy that connects my self with the people around me and the environment I'm in.

Mindfulness to me is practicing awareness. It means shifting my attention to myself, observing what I am paying attention to, and then--when necessary--shifting those observations towards something that feels more productive. It helps me get more attuned to my sense of direction and purpose.

Thank you for reading! ❤️

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Mindful October (Part 2)

There is no single way to be mindful. That’s why, this October, we sharing insights from the EFLI community about what mindfulness is, why we practice it, and how it impacts our lives. Read on for more answers to the questions we posed:

What does mindfulness mean to you?
How do you practice mindfulness?
Why do you want to be more mindful?

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Mindfulness means bringing the fullness of the present moment to your body, mind & spirit. I practice it by taking an actual minute to stop, breathe, and reflect on the current reality or situation I am facing. Pausing in this way allows me to see what I may be missing, or offers up answers I wouldn’t have come up with if I didn’t allow myself a moment of stillness.

My mindfulness practices are really varied. Sometimes I practice mindfulness by engaging with other people and doing something fun or meaningful, and sometimes I practice mindfulness by giving myself the space I need to listen to music and have alone time.

Mindfulness to me means taking good care of myself mentally and physically, both at home and at work. I define “taking good care of myself” as doing yoga, being a good communicator, looking at family photos or listening to music when I am stressed, and doing breathing exercises.

Yoga is my regular mindfulness practice. I do meditate but I often find that I need to work out the energy in my body in order to center and become more aware of my thoughts, attention, or awareness itself.

When I am mindful, I gain a sense of clarity and ease in my life. I can prioritize more clearly and be more attuned to my intuition - what I want, what I need and what I love. I'm less focused on what my friends or family might want me to be and able to be more of myself. I also find I am able to focus more when I need to - I can be present and show up more fully.  


Mindful October (Part 1)

Mindfulness. It’s a word (and a concept) we hear about all the time. But what does it mean, and why does EFLI put so much emphasis on it?

This October, we are diving into the idea of mindfulness, asking ourselves what it means to us as individuals, and how we practice it in our day-to-day lives. We asked people in the EFLI community to answer three questions:

What does mindfulness mean to you?
How do you practice mindfulness?
Why do you want to be more mindful?

The responses we received were so varied that we realized we want to share what everyone said, in the hopes of spreading understanding that there is no single way of being mindful.

How to Practice Mindfulness by Grace Ludmer

When my brain is full of daily worries and anxieties, I use mindfulness to empty it, and invite my mind back into my body. I pause, exhale, and ask myself “can I bring love into myself, so I don’t react harshly?” Life is so much more colorful when you are able to have patience and tolerance towards yourself and others.

When I engage with mindful practices I feel engaged with the purpose and process of my life, and can better see its many gifts.

I don’t think it’s possible to be mindful without starting with self care, so to me, mindfulness is taking care of myself mentally, physically, and emotionally. I practice it by taking long walks outside, listening to music, disconnecting from technology, and going to therapy.

I use “mindfulness” and “heartfulness” interchangeably, because when I am being mindful I am working from the place in my heart that is present and paying attention. There are many different ways of practicing it. I think running can be as much a mindful practice as meditation, because a mindfulness practice is any forgiving way you find to get yourself back on track when you feel like you’ve gotten off course.

With mindfulness, I can recognize when I’m getting caught up in drama or other unnecessary emotions, and helps me to take a step back, honor my feelings, and then let them go. This allows me to expand my awareness to include the world around me, and it helps me to enter into everyday interactions with curiosity and kindness.

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EFLI Participants Give Meaning to "The Future is Female"

This summer, EFLI fellows and facilitators teamed up with Christa Myers from Eileen Fisher Inc. to produce a video responding to the prompt “The Future is Female.” Watch the video to see what it means to them!


Julia Moschetta, 2018 EFLI Fellow

Jonah Listokin, 2016 EFLI Fellow

Kevin McGinnis, 2017 EFLI Fellow

Ana Sandoval, 2018 EFLI Facilitator

Video by:

Christa Myers, Filmmaker & Multimedia Producer

Victoria Tarantino, Video Production Coordinator

ABC Theatre

This September, EFLI is kicking off a brand new Fall program: Awareness Based Collaborative Theatre (or ABC Theatre), with lead facilitator Edinson Rodriguez-Castaño and EFLI’s Executive Director, Antoinette Klatzky.

Over the last nine summers, EFLI’s closing ceremonies have been centered around plays that EFLI summer participants create together. This practice is an integral aspect to our leadership development training and has deeply impacted our community by sparking conversations among parents, teachers, friends, and local government officials.

In this post, Antoinette answers some questions about what this new program is about, and why we think you should register for it!

EFLI Closing Ceremony

What is Awareness Based Collaborative Theatre? 
ABC Theatre is a combination of theatrical and embodied forms of expression and leadership development that uses methodologies from Theatre of the Oppressed, Leadership Embodiment, and Social Presencing Theater. The aim of engaging with ABC Theatre is for participants to learn more about how plays can help us understand the ways society evaluates itself, and to better see where individuals can activate new alternatives to current problems.

How was this program developed?
The program has been developed by combining aspects of the works of Wendy Palmer's Leadership Embodiment, Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed, and Arawana Hayashi's Social Presencing Theatre. Having facilitated elements of these disciplines in the last nine years of summer programs,  Edinson and I have been working on an engaging curriculum to share these practices with young people during the school year. 

Working Together

Why has EFLI added this program?
Each summer, EFLI watches young people’s confidence in their ability to articulate and engage with their individual needs blossom.  We have added ABC Theatre to our yearlong offerings in the hope that this program will offer young people a real channel with which to share the challenges they face, and serve as an opportunity to open up intergenerational community dialogue. Young people, specifically young women, are a voice of wisdom for their generation. But all too often, when young people express their needs, their pleas fall on the deaf ears of the adults around them. We are hopeful that this program will change this paradigm, and lead to tangible changes for young people in their communities.

What do you hope participants will get out of the program?
Our hope is that all participants in ABC Theatre will expand their journeys of personal growth and development through storytelling, build solidarity with each other by collaborating in an open, judgement-free environment, and actively spark community engagement on the social and societal issues they face by confidently sharing their truth. 

In Process

Who is this program for?
The program is for young people ages 14-18. Ultimately, as the plays are shared and audiences participate, the program will be for entire communities!

ABC Theatre will be held at The Eileen Fisher Learning Lab, 50 S. Buckhout St., Irvington NY every Thursday from 4-6pm from September 27-November 15, 2018. To register please click here.


EFLI Team Retreat, Summer 2018

Written by Julia Moschetta, Summer 2018 Fellow

At the beginning of July, the Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute summer team convened at the scenic Wainwright House in Rye, New York. The three-day retreat was filled with activities that solidified the bonds between co-workers, making them not only friends, but a team. Continue reading for more!

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Day 1:

            The Wainwright House was buzzing with positive energy and hopes for the three days. Decorations were being put up to help create a space unique to EFLI, and name tags were being craftily designed to give a small visual introduction to each staff member. Day one was off to a great start after discussing goals for the seven weeks of the EFLI summer.

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            The Connection Circle brought together members of the staff by creating a forum to share aspects of their personal life that they were bringing to the table. With the outer circle moving to the left, each individual took a minute to speak to their partner, listening intently to each other with an open mind and a compassionate heart. The circle broke so that staff members could get to know each other on an even deeper level through a Dialogue Walk.

Day 2:

            The second day of the retreat began with yoga to reconnect the mind, body, and spirit. After discussing the activities for the summer, the group worked with workshop leader Ivan to write a song about our “honey.” “Honey” was used here as a metaphor for the passions that we have that influence others in ways that are not always obvious, but are still impactful.

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            Past participants and fellows joined the group for the later half of the day as a reminder that the bonds made at EFLI are long-lasting, memorable ones. These past participants not only marveled at the work that was being done, but radiated love and support for the summer that they knew the current staff was about to have.

            After a communal dinner, the team headed outside for a game of soccer while the sun set. The day closed with Cosmomo, an activity that allowed the staff to discuss their experiences in life with things such as love, heartbreak, great achievements, relation to heritage, and more while sharing their musical talents. In creating a space of affirmation and understanding, the staff grew closer.

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            Day two was packed, though extremely rewarding, leaving the staff excited for the third and final day of retreat.

Day 3:

            The sun rose on the Wainwright House as staff convened for yoga that turned into a silent breakfast and continued into a period of silence. The period of silence allowed the staff to reconnect with nature and the space that was created on the first day of the retreat, reminding them of the power of their words and of verbal communication. After lunch and Fellow Skillshares, staff prepared to leave the space, and got ready to close the retreat with a Gratitude Circle.

            Here, fellows, staff, and interns came together for the final time this weekend to share with one another the impact that they had on each other, and to express thanks. The retreat came to a close with the song, "One Voice," by the Waillin’ Jennys. The song reminded the staff that even though each person brings something unique and important to the space this summer, together, the staff has one voice that will continue to teach and influence others. The retreat was complete, and hearts were full.

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The staff, interns, and fellows of EFLI are excited for what the summer will hold. They are currently preparing to welcome the participants of the first program of the summer: Activating Leadership.

Meet Emily Langtiw: Conscious Fashion Blogger!

We first met Emily Langtiw when she joined us for EFLI NYC, our spring break residential program in New York City that focuses on the intersections of design and sustainability. Emily currently lives in Chicago, and is a rising junior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she studies advertising.

Emily has also recently partnered with EFLI on Instagram for our campaign “5 Days, 5 Ways,” showcasing how to re-use and re-cycle the same article of clothing for 5 days in a row. Follow along on that journey here!

We have been consistently impressed with Emily’s commitment to sustainable and ethical fashion, and love following her journey on her blog, Seashorties, where she documents her commitment to learning all that she can about sustainable fashion, ethical living, and more!  Read on to get to know more about this amazing young leader.

Hi, Emily!
Hi! I’m so glad to speak with you today.

And we are so happy to be speaking with you! Can you tell us how you first heard about EFLI?
I found the application for the EFLI NYC program in the ethical index network, an online resource for people who are invested in developing ethical and sustainable practices in their businesses and lives. The program seemed like a fabulous opportunity to me, and it was!

What were your biggest takeaways from your experience in EFLI NYC?
I learned that clothes can be “designed to be re-designed,” an idea that I know Eileen Fisher is always working on. This is so interesting to me, because most people think of clothes as a single-use item, meant to be worn for a specific event or season. But when you designing to redesign, pieces can have more than one life, be used for more than one season, and have more than one purpose.

This combats textile waste at all stages of the creation of an article of clothing, and stretches the boundaries of fashion in really exciting ways. Fashion is an art form, and we are so far from understanding an article of clothing as a piece of art when most of our clothing is meant to be used for a single purpose, and then thrown away.

What first sparked your interest in sustainable fashion?
In high school I became a brand ambassador for a philanthropic fashion company, and I liked the idea of using fashion as a means of promoting good causes.

Once I became a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I founded and directed the Brands Give Back Sustainable Fashion Show. In total, we raised over $700 for the Rainforest Alliance. We are no longer producing events, as there is another sustainable fashion show on campus that promotes student designers, but our members have joined forces to participate in Sustainable Fashion Chicago! 

Was the experience of producing these fashion shows the inspiration behind starting your blog, Seashorties
Yes! I started writing Seashorties in December 2017, a few months before I joined EFLI NYC. The name of the blog describes me: I love the ocean, and I am really short! I started writing it because, through my experiences in high school and my research, I realized that I could promote sustainable fashion as a way to help spread awareness about conservation efforts from individuals, organizations, and brands that are already doing the work to change our impact on the natural world.

I also write the blog because I want to always remain accountable for being a conscious consumer myself.  

That’s really great. So why is sustainable fashion so important?
Most consumers only care about clothes being cute and cheap, and not about the environmental and human impact that goes into making those clothes. This lack of attention to the process behind the clothes hanging in our closets is really problematic, as it contributes to climate change and the ongoing exploitation of workers.

It’s interesting to me that people think taking sustainability into account when they buy clothing isn’t important, and that we can continue to treat people and the planet poorly, and these choices won't matter in the long run. But we are seeing already how the choices we make are catching up to us through the effects of climate change, and our changing world.

I’ve learned that committing to only buying sustainable and ethical fashion is a way to stand up for what I believe is right. I think it’s really important to know who makes our clothes, where the fibers for the clothes were sourced from, and how well the workers who made my clothes were treated. I don’t want to participate in subjugating people or the earth because an item of clothing is cute and cheap—I want to feel good about what I wear, and to know that my actions are not causing suffering.

How do you think a commitment to sustainability in the fashion world is connected to leadership?
The fashion industry is still run by men, even though most buyers are women, and most fashion is aimed at female consumers. I think that women designers like Eileen Fisher and Stella McCartney are advocating for values that a lot of women believe in— they are actively building efforts to offset the industry’s contribution to climate change, ending exploitation of factory workers (most of whom are women), and offering consumers smarter, better choices for their money. We need to see more leadership like that. And I want to see more women take control of the industry so that more companies will reflect the values that I think women care about.

On a personal level, I see my blog as a way for me to be a leader in creating awareness about sustainability and ethical choices. On Seashorties I write a lot about the fact that you can always make a choice in what you consume, and, although it takes a lot of time to find resources to share with people interested in living sustainably, I take pride in the work that I do to spread awareness in my online community.  

What do you say to people to think they can’t afford sustainable fashion?
The money issue is a big deal, because it’s hard to work around the elitism in many high end sustainable brands. But it’s not impossible!

It’s true that, for most sustainable fashion brands, we pay more for clothing in order to offset the costs of paying workers a higher wage, and for ethically sourced fabrics. While most people talk about buying higher quality clothing less frequently, I think instead it’s helpful to remember that sustainable fashion doesn’t have to mean high end fashion! It can also mean shopping at vintage and second hand stores, upcycling your own clothes, or participating in clothing swaps.

I love getting hand me downs from my aunts and sisters, because even though the clothing may not be completely new, it’s new to me. And if you can reclaim, or redesign a piece of clothing into something that you can love again, that, to me, is what fashion is all about. You can also rent dresses online, borrow from your friends, and easily find apps where you can sell and buy your clothes online.

What’s inspiring you right now?
I’ve been traveling a lot this summer, and that inspires me to open up my mind to more designers, brands, and styles. I also spend a lot of time in nature, with my friends and without my phone, hiking, canoeing, and wandering around. Our decisions right now are going to determine if we can preserve the beauty of the natural world, and I want to be sure that I am doing all I can to protect our beautiful earth!

Thank you, Emily! Keep up the amazing work!

Introducing the Gratitude Gala 2016 Honorees: Alexandra Bell

As we lead up to our Gratitude Gala 2016 , we are excited to highlight the 2016 LiFe Award Recipients; Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Dorian Baroni, and Alexandra Bell.

Alexandra Bell completed EFLI’s Activating Leadership Program in 2013, and now continues to support EFLI’s growth by spearheading the efforts to bring EFLI to Japan. Join us December 9 at our Gratitude Gala 2016, where will honor her passion and embodiment of EFLI values in the world.

Alexandra took the time to answer our questions about life, leadership, and inspiration. Please read on for her courageous and inspired answers.

Alex with EFLI team members, Summer 2014

Alex with EFLI team members, Summer 2014

What does being a member of the EFLI community mean to you?

AB: The summer I participated in Activating Leadership, EFLI provided me with a community of women who listened, supported, and learned with me when I needed it most. Ever since, the EFLI community has been a second home to me. I have learned so much at EFLI and continue to value and embody EFLI philosophies and practices in my life. EFLI pushes me from a place of love, which has helped me grow as a person. EFLI encourages me to pursue my passions and dreams. Through my work continuing to support EFLI's growth, I have been able to meet with incredible women organizers in Japan and, this past summer, had the opportunity to co-facilitate a workshop with my sister on art and social change. The EFLI community has become a second family for me that is ever growing and evolving. I know that whatever I do and wherever I go in life, I have a community of people who will support me through it.


How would you describe your leadership style?

AB: My leadership style is constantly changing and evolving as I continue to learn and grow. Key aspects of my leadership style I would say are listening, positivity, and collaboration.

  • Listening: I believe listening is really important in leadership because not enough people in power actually listen to others, choosing instead to silence them. I work to practice real, deep listening with everyone I engage in conversation with.
  • PositivityI am a very positive and optimistic person and maintain these attributes as a leader. I try to see the best in every situation and have a positive attitude when working. I work from a place of love, anger, and hope and I try to emulate this when working with others and in leadership roles.
  • Collaboration: I believe that when everyone is able to actively participate in a project, the project is only strengthened. We all have so much to learn from one another.


What is the biggest challenge you see facing young people today?

AB: I think young people face many challenges that are unique to the individual and are not faced alone. Before joining EFLI, I felt really isolated. Even though I had friends in school and played on sports teams, I still felt alone. Through EFLI I saw that the challenges I was facing were valid and real. I learned the language to name these struggles and found a community to work through them with. I believe it is really important for all people to have communities that are founded on deep love, support, and connection and don't think we have enough of these spaces for young people.

Alex works on an art project during her Activating Leadership session, Summer 2013

Alex works on an art project during her Activating Leadership session, Summer 2013

Who inspires you, and why?

AB: My mom inspires me, each and everyday. I am inspired by her strength, compassion, love, wisdom, confidence, and resilience.


If you had 3 words to describe yourself, what would they be?

AB: Passionate, caring, reflective

Alex in Japan during the EFLI expansion trip, January 2016

Alex in Japan during the EFLI expansion trip, January 2016

Join us on December 9 as we celebrate Alexandra Bell and her remarkable achievements at the Gratitude Gala 2016. For tickets and more information, please visit: http://www.efli-life.org/2016gala

Introducing the Gratitude Gala 2016 Honorees: Dorian Baroni

As we lead up to our Gratitude Gala 2016 , we are excited to highlight the 2016 Life Award Recipients; Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Dorian Baroni, and Alexandra Bell.

In Summer 2014, Dorian Baroni created and facilitated powerful programming for EFLI participants based on her experience as an Executive Coach and Coming Into Your Own faculty member. Join us in celebrating Dorian on December 9 at the Gratitude Gala 2016, where we will honor her commitment to feminine leadership practices and dedication to transformative facilitation.

This week, Dorian took some time to answer EFLI’s questions about life, leadership, and inspiration. Please read on for her insightful answers.

Dorian at EFLI's August 2014 Closing Ceremony.

Dorian at EFLI's August 2014 Closing Ceremony.

What does being a member of the EFLI community mean to you?

DB: At my current stage of work and life, being a part of the EFLI community is about being connected to the future of women's leadership contributions. I have been emboldened, inspired and encouraged by the power of witnessing EFLI participants' changing capacity to see themselves, supporting each other while growing into their own, and asking difficult questions about assumptions, mindsets and societal inequities before finding a way to take action. It is  a true joy to be involved in a community that encourages participants to walk the path of their individual and collective leadership.


How would you describe your leadership style?

DB: My leadership style is informed by a set of unshakable beliefs that shape me and my connection to others: that we are all here to fulfill a calling that is uniquely ours to live out. That we are all inherently connected and interdependent. And that we each carry within us the capacity to choose how we might nurture our light and integrate our shadows.


What is the biggest challenge you see facing young people today?

DB: The biggest challenge, in my view, is how to not let oneself be taken over completely by the narrative that our world is falling apart, and instead stay inspired, centered and emboldened by a broader perspective that acknowledges the powerful momentum of the positive, all the while taking action to improve what is not acceptable. A singular overfocus on what is not working puts us at risk of missing the fuller picture and the potential in any situation.  

These are undoubtedly challenging times, but all times have harbored their particular set of challenges. I don't believe the ones we face now are any larger or smaller than those of previous generations. They are simply the ones that are ours to overcome.

Dorian shares a moment of silence with EFLI participants, July 2014

Dorian shares a moment of silence with EFLI participants, July 2014

Who inspires you, and why?

DB: Those who truly inspire me are the people who live their lives in service to others: artists who open portals for beauty to shine forth for us; humanitarian relief workers who put themselves on the line every day to bring essentials to people in need; healers who bring their gifts to bear for those who are physically or emotionally impacted; everyday people who approach their work with a spirit of collaboration, compassion and vocation; family members who attend to the small rituals of life to uplift and celebrate with those they love; activists who choose to leave the comfort of the status quo to stand for ideals that need upholding, regardless of the cost; educators who truly care about nurturing the gifts and talents of their students.  

When I pay attention to these everyday heroes whose paths I cross in my work and my life, it reminds me to notice the spark of life that shines in each of us, and it makes me feel the inherent connection we have to each other and the world around us.


If you had 3 words to describe yourself, what would they be?

DB: Edgewalker. Dreamer. Passionate.


Join us on December 9 as we celebrate Dorian Baroni and her remarkable achievements at the Gratitude Gala 2016. For tickets and more information, please visit: http://www.efli-life.org/2016gala

Introducing the Youth Ambassador Board

Meet the 2016-2017 Youth Ambassador Board (YAB) - a select group of program participants responsible for guiding EFLI in decision making and program development! With monthly meetings throughout the academic year, YAB members help to create EFLI community events, plan summer programming, and generally advise the EFLI staff.

YAB is made up of four committees: Connection, Community, Visioning, and Sustainability. Working together over the course of this past year, each committee has been instrumental in planning the  Second Annual Gratitude Gala, taking place on December 9, 2016 in Irvington, NY.

The incredible members of YAB have been supportive of all parts of the Gala planning process:  from drafting an invitee list, managing outreach, planning the evening’s agenda, organizing the post-Gala party for young people, and so much more. Through this experience, YAB members gain valuable skills in event planning, marketing, and public speaking, all while practicing EFLI values of creativity, confidence, connection and community.

As we enter into our #seasonofgratitude, today, we invited YAB members to join us by sharing a little about what they are thankful for…


"I'm thankful for EFLI being in my life, for the connections that I have made there, and for the opportunities and confidence that EFLI ensures."

- Paula, 2016-2017 YAB Treasurer


“I am grateful for my family and the dynamic and interactions we share.
I am grateful for nature - sunsets, oceans, trees and flowers.
I am grateful for all I have learned and all I have been pushed to discover about myself and others through EFLI. I am grateful for the little moments - laughs, smiles, hugs shared with loved ones - those things that make all the difference in the world."

- Samantha, 2016-2017 YAB Co-Chair

"I am thankful for EFLI because it is a community where my opinions and ideas matter and I feel valued, supported and respected. It is a great place to be me!"

- Alexandra, 2016-2017 Visioning Committee Co-Chair

"I am grateful for this community which, after three years, continues to support and empower me, and for the wonderful staff at EFLI who constantly inspire me to keep growing."

- Ana, 2016-2017 YAB Co-Chair

"I am grateful for safe spaces where I can be myself; I’m really grateful EFLI came into my life and provided exactly that."

- Alexa, 2016-2017 Connection Committee Co-Chair

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We are so grateful to each of the members of YAB and all the brilliant work they do to support EFLI and their broader communities. If you’re interested in joining YAB and celebrating the amazing work they have done, please join us at the Second Annual Gratitude Gala on December 9, 2016.


Introducing the Gratitude Gala 2016 Honorees: Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins

As we lead up to our Gratitude Gala 2016, we are excited to highlight the 2016 LiFe Award Recipients; Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Dorian Baroni, and Alexandra Bell.

Since the very beginning of her tenure in government, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins has distinguished herself as a trailblazer in local and state government. With her strong belief in advocating for the underserved and championing the needs of working families, she continues to espouse her core values of empathy, empowerment and civic engagement as she serves in her current position as Democratic Conference Leader for New York State. Join us in honoring Senator Stewart-Cousins on December 9 at our Gratitude Gala 2016 in Irvington, NY, where we will celebrate her dedication to families, and for serving as a role model to the EFLI community and beyond.

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