December 18, 2020

Happy Holidays? Yes. Happy Holidays!

By Vega Subramaniam

Well, friends, we’re almost there. Not that I’m quite sure what “there” means, exactly. Should I be worried? Probably. Am I still feeling hopeful? Yes. Am I feeling maybe even a bit festive? Also yes! I don’t know what’s coming up for you over the next few weeks, but I hope it is OK. I hope you (and we) are and continue, somehow, to be OK.

As with all things 2020, I’m feeling equal parts blessed and heartbroken right now. Blessed because Mala and I will be closing up shop for a few weeks, which means time to wind down, rejuvenate, and set (crosswords) intentions (more crosswords) for the year ahead (still more crosswords). Heartbroken because we had the opportunity to work with two of the most talented and conscientious humans I’ve ever met, and today is our last day together as a team.

We SEEM happy, I will allow, but inside, we’re a slobbering mess.

This is a more self-involved post than is typical. I hope you’ll bear with me.

Maria Taylor joined us earlier this year to support Mala as she juggled her ever-growing workload with her also-increasing eldercare responsibilities. It was a lot, and Maria was a godsend in not only keeping Mala from sinking fully into the quicksand but also moving projects along and keeping Mala on track. Maria’s got a kind of soothing, joyful, positive spirit that buoyed us on even the most harrowing of days (and we had our fair share of those). She’s unsinkable…which makes her upcoming journey into the world of life coaching all the more exciting and fitting.

A note from Maria:

Thank you, Mala and Vega, for allowing me the privilege of working with you as I continue to learn and grow both professionally and personally. You are the nicest, most generous, and most thoughtful people I’ve ever known in my several decades of work experience. I am deeply grateful for all the pleasant memories I’ll cherish as I move on to a new season of my life.

Best wishes to you for continued success with VMC as well as in your personal lives.

I beg to differ, Maria. You are the nicest, most generous, most thoughtful person you’ve ever met. I know you’ll succeed beyond your wildest dreams, and I look forward to our continuing and changed relationship.

Megan Rolfe puts the “minister” in “administ(e)ration.” The “gem” in “project management.” The “lit” in “facilitation.” (I could go on.) (But I’ll stop.) (You’re welcome…Megan.) She forged order out of chaos. Among other things, she turned our trash policies and procedures into actual things that we actually use, streamlined pretty much every part of our operations, and ably shepherded any number of HR/equity projects in partnership with Mala–all with gut-splitting humor, bottomless patience, and not an insignificant quantity of a topline locally-brewed craft beer. Darn good thing we’ll be able to continue our rich collaboration via her recently-launched consulting company, Blue Swallow Consulting, which “works in community with those who seek to upend systems of privilege and oppression. We provide social justice consultants/consultancies and small organizations with the project support and capacity they need to move work forward and impact change.”

A note from Megan:

I recently came across a journal entry of 2020 goals, and it is comedic gold, y’all. (Exhibit A. “Try intermittent fasting for three weeks.” Bwahahahaha.) But I also recalled here at VMC we had written a resolutions post in January, and in it I had committed to pivoting in times of stress from belaboring my lack of resilience to simply acknowledging that circumstances were tough.

Goodness gracious, was that ever a central tenet for 2020. Vega and Mala, I’m glad we got to practice building/borrowing resilience together in this most rarefied and epically challenging of years. When I joined Vega Mala Consulting two and half years ago, I had no idea that it would give me the nurturance, grounding, experience, and courage to transition back to independent consulting work (but this time, with feeling!). And if I had known…I might have been too scared to do it. Insert terrified face emoji.

So thank you for helping me build hardiness and heartiness alike. You better know by now how much I care about you both, and I am eager to see how the seeds we planted together will sprout and flourish in the years ahead.

Megan, you better know by now that you’re not rid of us by any stretch of the imagination.

Friends, thanks for bearing with us. I know that we are all experiencing our own volatility as we approach the holiday season and (finally, finally) the new year and all its promise.

I hope we’re able to embrace all the contradictions, nuances, and polarities of this strangest of times. I hope we stay grounded, mindful, and compassionate. I am determined to seek and create “happy holidays,” and I hope you are, too.

See you in 2021!


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Leadership, Resilience