What Happened to The Skid Row School?

We have divided our four-day in person training, Skid Row School, into four separate six-week online courses. Breaking up the training this way allows us to go deeper into the Model For Unleashing principles and bring in other experts. It also opens up an opportunity for you to tailor your learning to fit exactly what you need.

Here are the four courses.

Exponential Impact

If your solution works in one community – let’s add a zero and bring it to 10.

If your solution is being implemented in 10 school districts – let’s add a zero and bring it to 100.

If your solution is being used in 100 health care settings – let’s add a zero and bring it to 1,000

Course period is closed for 2021. Enroll in 2022 cohort

Course Dates:
Jan 4th, 6th, 18th, 20th
8:00 – 10:00 a.m. PT

Unapologetic Genius

A step-by-step journey for social change leaders

to maximize your impact without burning out.

CTRL + ALT + DEL “business as usual”

This course will help you find the courage to let go of what you suck at and free you up to embrace your purpose, talents, natural enthusiasm, and joy.

2022 course dates TBD 

Impact With Integrity

How to Repair the World Without Breaking Yourself

even if you feel overworked, overwhelmed, exhausted, and afraid right now.

“In addition to learning about (and putting into practice) a radical shift to approaching social change internally and externally, this course also enables deep connections with folks all over the globe.” – Jessye Kass

Course registration period is closed for 2021. Add your name to our waitlist and we’ll let you know when enrollment opens in early 2022.

Solutions Worth Scaling

A step-by-step journey to help third sector leaders determine if their solution is ready for spread/scale and if not, how to get there.

We’ve partnered with Dr. Christine Ortiz Guzman, Founder of Equity Meets Design, to bring together the disciplines of equity and design in an absolutely genius way.

Course registration period is closed for 2021. Add your name to our waitlist and we’ll let you know when the next session is open for enrollment in 2022.

Coaching Community

We have a membership program called the coaching community for people who’ve graduated from our courses.

Join to get support in implementing and course correcting as you go.

Everyone in that community is leading social change of one kind or another and we believe friends don’t let friends lead social change alone.

And as Selena likes to say, it’s cheaper than therapy.

Course has been updated to a la cart 1:1 coaching 


Can’t Decide? Want it all? 

And if you just can’t decide where to start – you can get an All Access Pass. For less than what it would have cost you to come to the Skid Row School in person, you can get all four courses plus the coaching community for an entire year. 

Really Want to Come in Person?

We will still be offering the Skid Row School four day intensives through our partnerships with groups within the national health service in the UK. These will be hosted in England or Wales. We have several of those planned for this fall and next year. If you are interested in taking your team, please contact us!

Thanks for taking a minute to hear what we’re up to! We look forward to seeing many of you in our upcoming courses.

Honoring Women Mentors

They say you become the average of the five people you hang out with the most. While that may be true, I have noticed that a small handful of people have had an outsized influence on my growth and development as a leader – as a person – no matter how much time I have spent with them.  I want to tell you about some of the women mentors I’ve had in my life and how they have influenced me, and invite you to reflect and do the same. At the end of this blog, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in a public art project as a way of honoring your women mentors. We’ll share this on our facebook page after you’ve had a chance to add in yours. 


Mimi Finch

CPT Finch was my TAC officer for my company during my “cow” (junior) and “firstie” (senior) years at West Point. As I was coming to understand my own sexual orientation, in the homophobic environment of the United States Military Academy, Mimi Finch would speak openly about how stupid it was to fire gay people. She was the only person at West Point that I ever heard speak about treating gay people right. We have stayed in touch over the years. Recently I saw on my facebook feed that this retired Lieutenant Colonel knelt Colin-Kaepernick-style when her instructor – inexplicably, might I add, – had her Zumba class recite the pledge of allegiance. Mimi never spoke to me about how to be fearless, she just does it. FEARLESS.

Judy Bramlett 

I met Judy the first day of my firstie (senior) year at West Point. Her husband was the newly instated Commandant of Cadets. She jokingly referred to herself as the “Comtessa.” For those of you who are civilians, the Commandant is #2 in command of the entire post. A friend and I were walking past the Comm’s house on our way back from taking the cadet physical fitness test when Judy beckoned from her porch with a friendly, “Yoohoo, cadets….” We were in our gym clothes and we knew we should not be in the Comm’s house dressed like that, but we also knew that we should be polite to the Comm’s wife, so we obliged. Over a glass of lemonade, Judy initiated a friendship that would last until the day she died, way too early back in 2008. Everything you need to know about Judy – and what I learned from her – is captured in her invitation to lemonade. Every inch of her refrigerator was covered with photographs of friends near and far. On one visit many years later, she was excited to show me that I had “made the fridge!” And that was the day she pulled me aside and said, “I’ll never accomplish anything like David (her husband who was a four star general at the time). But here’s what I do contribute: presence. I am present with people. And that is more than enough.” Judy didn’t teach me how to be present. She just did it. I miss my friend. PRESENCE.

Jan Hicks

I had received so many messages at West Point that leadership required “military bearing” and hiding your true self. Enter LTC Jan Hicks. Jan was my Battalion Commander when I was a Lieutenant stationed at Helemano Military Reservation – part of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Jan defied everything I had been (mis)led to believe about what it takes to be a successful leader. Jan was authentic to the core. If Jan was angry, she’d let you know. If she was sad, she’d let you know that, too. And if she thought something was funny, she would howl with laughter. Jan was this larger-than-life figure in my young adulthood who had an extraordinarily successful career by being true to herself. She went on to attain the rank of Major General. Jan never sat me down for a conversation about authenticity. It’s just who she was – and who she is to this day. AUTHENTICITY

Rosanne Haggerty

I was minding my own business as a stock broker when my college professor, Jay Parker, called me. “Cease work on whatever it is you’re doing and call Rosanne Haggerty right away,” he said. So I did just that. I ended up working for Rosanne from 2003 – 2014. Rosanne is a relentless entrepreneur, single-minded in her determination to disrupt the systems that create homelessness. She and her team are finalists right now for the MacArthur $100 Million & Change award. If they win, they will get $100M to make their big dent in the Universe. What strikes me the most about Rosanne, though, is that there wasn’t anybody she wouldn’t meet for coffee. I’ll be honest – I thought some of those coffee meetings were a waste of her time. But years later, when faced with a new challenge, she’d say, “Remember so and so – I met him for coffee back in Camden? I think he’d be great for this project.” I was always like, “Who is so and so? And how on earth do you remember him and what he’d be great at doing?” But Rosanne never forgets anybody’s genius. She’s just waiting for the opening to appear and she makes the match. She’s never spoken about this with me – I just observed it over the years and benefited tremendously from her willingness to support me in finding my way into my genius, too. Rosanne is the embodiment of endless possibilities. POSSIBILITIES

Sue Fulton

Sue was in the first class of women to graduate from West Point – the famous class of 1980 – so you already know she has ovaries of steel. I was in the 11th year to graduate, so our paths never would have crossed had she not continued to remain involved in the community. Sue was one of the first people that I came out to as I was reckoning with my sexual orientation and we have remained friends for over 30 years. Along with a handful of other amazing people, Sue and I co-founded Knights Out, a nonprofit organization that advocated for the end of the discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in the military. In the early days of getting this organization up and running, we learned that West Point was holding a diversity conference. We looked at each other, said, “We’re diverse!” took the day off from work and crashed the conference. We thought FOR SURE that as out LGBT people we would be skunks at the party, but we were greeted with enthusiastic, open arms by many people all the way up to the highest ranking General Officers in attendance. Never in 100 years would I have done this alone. Sue has gone on to work on transdender rights and was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Board of Visitors of West Point. Sue didn’t sit me down and talk to me about showing up for one another, she lives it through her example. SOLIDARITY

This list is woefully incomplete. There are so many more women who deserve to be mentioned here – my mom (PRESENCE), my Aunt Sharon Kanis (COMMUNITY), Kathlyn Hendricks (LOVE- WITH-A-SPINE), Jane Holl Lute (HUMILITY), Marie Connor (JOY), and many more – not to mention the many fabulous men who have influenced my life for the better, too. I’d love to continue – and I want to turn my attention back to you, my reader friend. 

I’m hoping these stories get your gears going about the women who have mentored you and how they did it. Did you ask them to mentor you? I never asked these fabulous women to mentor me, I just kind of tagged along and they seemed to tolerate it. I’ve stayed in touch with them over several decades, sometimes going hundreds of miles out of my way to stop in for a visit whenever our paths might cross. Likewise – you might be considered a mentor to someone and not even know it. Our actions speak louder than words. And they’re watching! 

The Enemy Within

Hi Friends!

We would like to begin this blog, which posts on Martin Luther King Day, sharing an opportunity to sign up for SVP’s “Anti-Racism for White People” course. It is a year-long learning community for people interested in showing up as agents of racial justice.*** Registration closes January 20th, 2021. Enroll today to secure your place! ***

Last week,

We shared our self-assessment quiz with you, to help you face into what is holding you back from making your big dent in the Universe. Depending on your answers, you were prompted to consider one of the four most common toxic dynamics that we’ve encountered when working with change leaders: blame/criticism, overwork/overwhelm, indecision, or micromanagement. By the way, if you haven’t taken the quiz, we encourage you to take a minute and do so now. 

Regardless of which dynamics are holding you and your organization back, though, it is all too easy to come to the conclusion that the problem is “out there.” And you would be correct to do so. There are real problems that need to be solved. 

Today, we confront…

…that’s only part of the story. 

If there is anything toxic in our context – and we’re aware of it in any way – then we are also engaging with it – consciously or unconsciously. 

When we’re consciously engaged with our challenges, we have a much better chance of actually changing something. We are able to step into 100% responsibility for all our choices and actions. 

When we’re unconsciously engaged, despite our best intentions, our problems might morph and shift, but they will persist. The key is to notice when we’re unconsciously reacting and shift ourselves back into presence. 

Shifting from our unconscious reactive mind into conscious presence is easier said than done, and we will be going into more depth about this in our facebook live later today, (10:30 AM Pacific Time), but for now I want to give you a quick overview of the three primary ways leaders avoid responsibility on the Drama Triangle so you can get curious about how these patterns show up in your life. 

When you think about the biggest organizational challenge you’re facing right now – whether or not it was reflected in our quiz results – are any of these postures familiar to you? 

  • I’m at the effect of somebody or something else. 
  • I can’t believe all of this is happening to me.” 
  • This shouldn’t be happening. And it’s not my fault, it’s theirs. 
  • Or – equally problematic – it’s all my fault. 
  • I must do something about this right now. 
  • This isn’t fair! And it’s never going to change. 
  • I need to stick up for the people who can’t stick up for themselves! 

If any of these stances are familiar to you, what they have in common is they’re all coming from the Drama Triangle. And taking action from this place has zero likelihood of making things better. One of the most important things we can do as leaders is notice when we’re on the Drama Triangle and take steps to get back into full creative presence. We’ll be talking about some ways to do that on our facebook live later today, and if you can’t make it, you can catch the replay later. We hope you can join us there!

Want More?

We are also offering a free Webinar ‘The Five Secrets to Becoming a Happy and Effective Change Leaders: How you can do the most good with the least drama, during a global pandemic, and still find time for yourself and your loved ones, too.”

There will be two sessions, the first on Tuesday January 26th @ 10:00AM PT and the second on Wednesday, January 27th @ 8:00AM PT. When you register you can choose which time works best for you. 

I hope to see many of you there! 


What’s Holding You Back from Making Your Big Dent in the Universe?

Hi Friends!

Last week,

We invited you to join us in creating a dream board for 2021 – a visible reminder of your strongest values and your wildest aspirations for this new year. Dreaming and opening up to new possibilities is absolutely essential for creating a new world together. A lot of people don’t even give themselves permission to dream big, so I want to give a shout out to those of you who did just that. If you want to revisit our live session that helps guide you through this process you can check out “Creating A Dream Board That Works” on our Facebook page. 

But there’s a big difference between dreaming and doing. Today we shift gears and square off with our current reality. Today we face into the challenges or obstacles that will stop us from making our big dent in the Universe. 

I dedicated an entire section of my forthcoming book to this notion of facing your challenge because it’s that important. 

As James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” 

We’ve learned from working with hundreds of social change leaders that it’s the seemingly small things that can add up to big things if they’re not addressed with our full attention and care. 


We invite you to bring your attention to those little corners of your world that aren’t quite in alignment with your intentions. Those little wobbles that veer you off course. Those energetic drains that if left unchecked will prevent you from making your big dent in the Universe. 

We encourage you to visit “Overview of the Four Most Common Dynamics Which Hold Teams Back” to get some actionable tips on how to get rid of these common types of toxicity.

Next week we will pick up where we left off and turn our attention from what’s wrong “out there” to what’s going on “in here” with you. You can register for our Facebook Live event here where we’ll be diving deep into the drama triangle and personas. This will be the last session of our series “Starting The New Year Right” so be sure to tune in! 

Lastly, if you take the quiz and come to the conclusion that you might need more help than originally thought, I’m offering a FREE MASTER CLASS: The Five Secrets to Being a Happy and Effective Change Leader which addresses organizational toxicity and MUCH more.

We hope you’re enjoying this exploration with us.

Most warmly,


Setting Yourself Up for an Awesome 2021

Hi Friends!

Last week we invited you to join me in a journaling practice that I’ve done every New Years Eve since the year 2000. Some of you even joined us on our inaugural Facebook Live to complete these questions together. I did this exercise again with my wife, Christine, this New Years Eve, then we took turns sharing some appreciations of one another and all the ways we grew in 2020. 

Today I want to share with you what we do to build upon those reflections and sharpen our commitment to what we want to create in 2021. Starting January 1st, we pull a big piece of flip chart paper into our kitchen counter and plenty of bright markers. Over New Years Day, we co-create our dream board for 2021. As our kids have gotten older, we’ve begun to include them in the process. Here is our dream board for 2020.

Once this feels complete,

We hang it in our kitchen and we refer to it often. We also take a picture and have a catalog of dream boards from years past. I’ve also done this with teams as a way to punctuate our strategic planning retreats. Dream boards are a great way to visualize your commitment, your vision, your values, and your intentions. I invite you to give it a try and share yours on our Facebook page

All of us at the Billions Institute wish you a safe and healthy 2021, and may we all shift our attention from surviving to thriving as we step into all the possibilities ahead.