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Week 15 | 52 Rolls in 52 Weeks - BGI

It's always good to visit BGI Intensives at Islandwood, especially now that I'm finished with the studying part. The past two months I spent one day on the Islandwood campus for either Alumni Weekend or for a photo shoot I was doing. After being away for some time, it's even easier for me to remember why this is such a special place with such special people. All images below were created with the Leica M6 loaded with Ilford Delta 400 film, shot at ASA 1600, and developed in Ilford DD-X.

The  I "Love" BGI   stickers are everywhere

The I "Love" BGI  stickers are everywhere

Former mascot Beth Robinette still takes command of a room. She's also up to some really innovative farming and training people around the nation.

Former mascot Beth Robinette still takes command of a room. She's also up to some really innovative farming and training people around the nation.

I got to sit in on a management class. After continuing with business consulting, I now have a new perspective when looking on.

I got to sit in on a management class. After continuing with business consulting, I now have a new perspective when looking on.

Two of my favorite people at BGI. Both will be graduating this year. Aric Ho (left) is supposed to be my menthe, but I think he's been one of my greatest sources of inspiration. Amanda Thornton is one of the warmest, deepest, and thoughtful people I've ever met. I love the insights she's able to provide.

Two of my favorite people at BGI. Both will be graduating this year. Aric Ho (left) is supposed to be my menthe, but I think he's been one of my greatest sources of inspiration. Amanda Thornton is one of the warmest, deepest, and thoughtful people I've ever met. I love the insights she's able to provide.

For over two years now, I've been witness to this wonderful team. They always bring an extremely positive energy into the space, and take much care in their preparation of the food, the treatment of the environment, and the treatment of each other. I'm most appreciative to this crew for not only keeping us nourished physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.

For over two years now, I've been witness to this wonderful team. They always bring an extremely positive energy into the space, and take much care in their preparation of the food, the treatment of the environment, and the treatment of each other. I'm most appreciative to this crew for not only keeping us nourished physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.

BGI Commencement Speeches

Below are the speeches from the BGI Commencement. After two years of intense work, I finally crossed the stage this past Sunday. Thank all of you for all the support. I couldn't have done it without you.

Warmly, 

Michael B. Maine



Below is the speech as it was written. I didn't read the speech on the stage, but the time and effort I put into writing it helped me know what I wanted to convey. Feel free to read below if you want to catch the few pieces I left out of the oral version.

As this is business school, I thought it only fitting to prepare this speech in an Excel spreadsheet. If you asked me 2 ½ years ago if I’d be studying business in the woods, I would have said absolutely not. Had it not been for one man named Mitsu Yamasaki who asked me one special question, I’m not sure it would have happened. Mitsu asked me what I thought about business as institution. My response to him was that I see business as one of the most pervasive institutions on the earth. Throughout history, the buying, selling, and trading of services have impacted every aspect of our lives. As such, it has the ability to effect change or not effect change in any way we decide to use it. As a tool, it has the potential to do small things, large things, considered things, and unconsidered things.

I came to BGI because my hope and dream was, and remains today, to be immersed within a group of people who think about business a little differently. People who think of business as a means rather than an ends. In this community, I’ve found so much more. In this community I’ve found a group of people who ask what’s possible. From you I’ve learned creativity, trust, and rule number 6. I am grateful for the time shared with such an inspired group of people. Through knowing, observing, and working with each of you, my life has been tremendously enriched. If life is truly about the experiences between life and death, this has been one of the most rewarding pages in my book of life.

I am forever indebted to each of you for how you have touched my life. I just hope that I’ve been able to enrich yours as well. I firmly believe that one of the best ways to learn about and gain an appreciation for any subject matter is to study something seemingly completely unrelated. Perhaps that’s how I came into BGI as a business consultant to leave as a photographer. After being intimate with Excel for two years, I draw a key set of learnings from Aristotle, Plato, and a fallen tree. Aristotle believed that in all things there are four causes (or reasons for why they exist). The first three explained the physical makeup of something and how that changes. The fourth asks the question, what is the larger purpose? What is the fourth cause of business? I can’t say that I know the answer, but I know we’re not afraid to ask the question.

During orientation, at Channel Rock, I was walking along a trail when I came across a fallen tree. On it, I noticed six small trees growing from it. This was the first time this city boy from Dallas had ever seen that. I thought it was beautiful that in its decay, the tree provided the nutrients and foundation for new trees to grow.

So I ask myself, what can I learn by applying this scene of the fallen tree to business? For me, it serves as a metaphor. And I think that’s what makes BGI and all of the people who make it work so special. In a rapidly changing world, in which we must address new challenges, ask new questions, dispel myths, and connect to ancient wisdom, I find it extremely important that we are able to respectfully and gently put those old ideas to rest. For while those ideas and practices may or may not lose validity over time, they are the foundations for which we are able to grow and cultivate new ideas, new thoughts, new myths. And we too will mature, grow old, and die. How are we preparing ourselves and our institutions now to provide the most nutrient rich materials on which the next generation can grow?

Plato thought that there exists, in a spiritual world, an ideal form of everything, a mold that all living things aspire to become. He believed that our unconscious memory of this form allowed us to identify different types, shapes, colors, sizes of horses, people, trees, etc. as a horse, a person, a tree, etc. I think he was partially correct. I think that perfect form exists in each of us already, right here right now. Class of 2013, you are a prime example of how each of you has emerged from a shared experience completely changed, yet completely the same. Congratulations, in each of you perfection already exists.

 

My Reflections From the #WomenMission Conference

This Tuesday, I spent most of the day at a conference I didn’t even know was being held until Friday the week prior. The Women On A Mission conference, hosted by Seattle Good Business Network and See Green Ventures took place on March 20, 2012 at Urban Enoteca in the South of Downtown Industrial District in Seattle, WA. They had an amazing roster of speakers including Carol Sanford, Amee Quiriconi, Melissa Feveyear, Kim Armstrong, Dani Cone, Julie O’Brien, Tonya Mosley, Stephanie Ryan, Sharon Hall, Michele Rupp, Betsy Power, Marta Kapple, Laura Culberg, Dune Ives, Jessica Neu, Lara Feltin, Tammy Dunakin, and Lara Hamilton. Click here to see the full program and speaker bios.

I’m very glad I went. After going to several conferences this one was one of the most powerful ones I’ve ever attended. It was refreshing to hear the voices of so many who are often silenced or ignored. The ideas (and plans/tools for implementation) of true collaboration, identifying your essence, using business to find fulfillment, looking at the triple bottom line, and solving complex business and societal problems was a testament to the importance of diversity in all of its forms. By engaging in diverse conversations we are able to identify, analyze, and solve problems in socially, economic, and environmentally responsible ways not otherwise possible. What some call “sustainable” I call, “the only way to go about business.”

As one of four men who attended this conference, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to gain insight into the professional world of women. As a student of sociology, I have researched the Barbie Doll Complex, The Glass Ceiling Effect, and other social norms and hegemonic institutions that have not only oppressed women, but everyone. I, for one, feel that if any ONE person is oppressed, then we are ALL oppressed—denied the opportunity to live our lives in a truly authentic way because of the fear of social and/or physical repercussions. Throughout this experience, I was completely welcomed into the community, and not once did I feel alien. For me, this conference is important not because it is about women in business, but because it is about people in business. At the end of the day, I was surrounded by 150 other people who want to use business as a tool to promote positive change in the world and live in a way that serves themselves and others.