Simone Uncensored

November 20, 2017

Memories of IFC 2017

Thanks to the Resource Alliance, UK for the marvelous IFC 2017 (International Fundraising Congress). 

Truly international – and risk-taking.

Imagine talking with colleagues all over the world... And you can always find and connect with people in the dining rooms reserved for IFC participants. Just sit anywhere… Perhaps you’ll be talking with Chinese and South African colleagues. Fundraisers and executives from Nigeria, Argentina, Slovakia, Thailand, Singapore, Canada, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, France, Autralia, Turkey, Jordan, Pakistan, Czech Republic, Germany…. And more….

Here are some wonderful highlights… To inspire and challenge you and me over and over…

Ahmen…Fundraiser and rapper…This is my favorite plenary session. Beautiful. Angry. Hopeful. Speaking out. Challenging us.

I did a 6-hour masterclass called “Changing Your Organization for Greater Impact.” Here’s my video promo for the masterclass. (People came up to me at the conference — whom I didn’t know — saying that they liked my ad.)

Have you ever seen live graphic documenting during meetings or presentations? It’s marvelous. And the IFC has this happening… First in 2016, I think. And again in 2017. And I hope forever!!!

This is the graphic facilitation (by Housatonic) for my masterclass. You can see many more IFC drawings on Facebook.





Filed under: Leadership, Research, Resources

November 14, 2017

What are we white people doing?

Marvelous piece about white people power. The article is called “America is Burning.” It’s directed to white people working in philanthropy. And the article asks us, “what is your next move?”

And check out this wonderful interview by Bill Moyer, “Peeling the Whitewash from our Myths.” Moyer is interviewing Susan K. Smith, researcher in American history, religion, and culture.

What are we white people doing? Why don’t we understand? So many years. So many deaths. So many laws and demonstrations. Yes, of course, some change. But not enough. I hope athletes – both black and white – will take the knee on every field and court possible. I hope that protests abound, whites marching in partnership with all people of color.

I watch people twitch when I talk about my unearned privilege of being white, heterosexual, well-educated and affluent.  And my disadvantage is being female. I have people hug me because I talk candidly. And others criticize me because I shouldn’t talk about this stuff.

I think everyone should talk about “this stuff.” I think philanthropic organizations should talk about “this stuff” lots and lots.

November 9, 2017

Reflections from the past – and still happening somehow today

Slavery did NOT end in 1865…

And please don’t tell me that “it’s so very very very much better now.”

So very very very much better? OVER?  NO! Not over! How about the still-alive-today Ku Klux Klan?

Yes, better in some ways. No more lynchings.         But still lots of killing. STILL!   And more imprisonment and …

Visit the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Such sadness and pain and so much truth to hear and learn and embrace. Truth.                Have you read the Emancipation Proclamation? 

Are you familiar with Jim Crow laws and the 1896 Supreme Court decision Plessy versus Ferguson?

How long did it take to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson? Until 1954. Brown versus Board of Education. And here’s the timeline.

Did you and I think that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 fixed everything? How about the Voting Rights Act of 1965? One of the most beautiful stories for President Obama’s first inauguration: “Wish you were here.” Thank you Bob Herbert.

Do you know about the Southern Strategy – building a new majority based on antipathy towards the Civil Rights movement and the work of Lyndon Baines Johnson?

What have we done? What are we still doing?

Just read the news. Listen to the stories. Look in someone’s eye. Think in your mind and heart.

And watch this YouTube video. What will you do differently? Will you speak out? Will you and I learn more and speak more loudly? If not you and me, who? If not now, when?


November 4, 2017

Stories from my dorm room

Ah Cohort 27 (and your two Cohort 26 colleagues)….. You’ve been so fantastic in Emerging Issues for SMUMN’s Philanthropy and Development Program.

Hey out there in the world…What kind of emerging issues have you been observing, do you anticipate might become trends… (And absolutely do NOT NOT NOT say anything about Millennials or social media. I mean really…. Emerging? Not hardly!! Emerged. Past emerged. Life.)

So what were those 12 marvelous colleagues in PHDE 657 Emerging Issues writing about?

Things like:

  • Can we really afford to close our borders?
  • Building a new era of trust
  • Girls in the Boy Scouts
  • Trauma informed and feedback movement in the social sector
  • Change coming in our diocese – or can we be agents of change?
  • Apocalypse Soon: The need for standards
  • Valuable recruits are following emerging issues
  • Fundraising for the New NCAA (No one Can Abuse Athletes)
  • Emerging into my new
  • Instability and uncertainty in the development director role
  • Throwing away the rubber stamp: a board self-assessment to drive growth

And how about that NCAA thing? That’s collegiate sports for those of you not into sports (like me)!!! And how about taking the knee in NFL games? So we had all this great wonderful back and forth in the online classroom, talking about race and racism and athletes. So very very cool!!

And the author of the final project for the “new NCAA” emailed me with the new Sports Illustrated cover.  His email to me said, “This month’s cover of Sports Illustrated… The NCAA is Broken (but you knew that). Interesting stuff and sad the exploitation of young African American athletes.”



October 31, 2017

I started crying…memories…

WARNING: Totally personal. Memories. Reflection. You don’t need to read this.

Sitting on the couch in living room in Valros, France. Just a few days left and we return to the USA. I started to cry. Decided to write this. Collecting my memories.

The beginning: Reading email from a colleague who mentioned Stony Brook University (Long Island, New York, USA).

The email reminds me of Herb Weisinger, dear friends of my parents…which, of course, reminds me of my parents.

My dad – referred to as “the Frenchman” –  was a professor at MSU. So was Herb. Herb was one of the “famous” MSU profs and authors. One day… no idea how old I was but certainly high school…Wandering through my dad’s basement bookshelves…I encountered Herb’s book The Tragedy and Paradox of the Fortunate Fall. I read it. Wow. I think I took the copy from dad’s shelf when he died. Published by MSU Press. Just ordered a copy on the Internet, just in case.

While wandering the Internet (you know how that happens!) I encountered another book by Herb…Co-authored with Georges Jules Joyaux. (Yes, there’s an “s”.) The Crisis in Comparative Literature. Is that when I started tearing up? My dad died of cancer in 1990, 67 years old.

My mom, Jane Peckham Joyaux, worked at MSU, too. She was the managing editor of MSU’s Centennial Review. And helped build the original Sparty when she was an undergrad in the art department. I remember us kids fighting – and calling mom at the office (when she was secretary in MSU’s Department of Statistics) – so she could negotiate. Thank heavens the department chair was a family friend! Mom (also called Grandma Jane or Grammy … even by her own kids, not just grandkids) died in May 2016.

Amazing to grow up within a university. I remember wandering briefly through parent parties.  

Talking with Herb (his wife Mildred smoked thin cigars); Pulitzer prize winner Russ Nye (who gave me novels at all my ages … including Sweet 16!); Jimmy Wong (poker player with dad and Sam and others); Madame Abelle and dad speaking French, with English words thrown in. So many more, of course.

And French guests visiting MSU always partied at 975 Lantern Hill Drive, East Lansing, MI. Like the entire French theatre group. And mime Marcel Marceau (very talkative when not on stage!)

So I was searching Herb on the Internet. Wandering around. Herb mentored the author Jim Harrison. I’d forgetten that Jim (MSU grad) wrote the novel Legends of the Fall. Wonderful movie but it makes me so sad.

I encountered an article Herb wrote about the obligations of universities: “Universities Must Consider Ideas, Create New Worlds”. This reminds me of my October 2017 newsyletter article about the University of Chicago and its beliefs: a campus culture committed to “discourse, argument and lack of deference.”

How many universities – and other institutions – embrace (and fight for) conversation and disagreement and cage-rattling questions? What’s happening in our societies and our local communities? Within our governments and institutions and…

I say I’m suffering from PTSD. I laugh (but not really). Apparently a definition of PTSD is “moral injury.” That’s how I feel: Every day, violation of my values and fundamental beliefs.

Memories…. I just realized something: That violation began for me when I was 9 years old living in France. I observed American (USA) disrespect for other cultures. Life moved on. So much nationalism now. And still (and I suspect forever) racism, sexism, homophobia, and on and on and on… We just can’t seem to embrace differences…Yet I was taught that. Thanks dad and mom.

Thanks, Papa Georges for giving me France…which gave me diversity and so much more. Based on an old newspaper interview of yours, I took your message and crafted this: People eat, sleep, and make love in languages other than English, in colors other than white, and in pairings other than opposite sex. And that’s beautiful. That’s what I fight for. (Tom says that’s our family mission statement. You never knew the detail of all this, Dad. Because I became all this  only by the early 90s. You helped me become this. Thank you.)

Anyway… I’m rambling. Just wandering through memories.

I’m crying now. But that’s okay.

Thank you Jane and Georges for the life you’ve given me. I hope, Dad that you would be proud of me. You never knew this Simone…author and teacher like you. Oh, how I suspect you’d dislike the tacky rings and weird hose!!!! I actually remember blue shoes with ties that I bought in France. You commented on those!

I know, Mom, you were proud of me – although I’m not sure you understood what I do.

Thank you both. What a life.



Filed under: Uncategorized

October 23, 2017

Please help: Survey about leadership…yours, mine, & others!

Please join me and take this leadership survey. Takes only 14 minutes to complete.


Hail all leaders… CEOs, directors of development, team leaders, COOs. How do you behave? What’s your management style? How does this style make you a successful leader?

Would you like to be a better leader – more successful? I would. So I plan to participate in this survey.

Please help research the relationship between leadership styles you and others use … And how each style might produce good outcomes, such as a thriving culture of philanthropy.

Here’s the survey link. I’m hoping you’ll participate.

 Who’s doing this research? People I really admire and respect.

  • The very trustworthy Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy (founded by Adrian Sargeant with Jen Shang as the research director).
  • Marc Pitman (CEO of The Concord Leadership Group. I think of him as bowtie guy.)

Filed under: Leadership, Research

October 17, 2017

Reflections on what’s happening…

This is a lovely and sad piece. The Summer of Love’s Sad End. (The Summer of Love’s Dispiriting Fall.) By Ted Widmer. New York Times op-ed.

Does Kindness Matter? By Zoe Ferguson… From the Transformation newsletter.

The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber, II…….. Inspiring. Angering. I’ve heard Barber live. Watch this video.

The American system of education, still not equal. Brown v. Board of Education outlawed segregation…demanded equal opportunity for all. And 63 years later…still no equal opportunity. Nikole-Hannah-Jones. Alina Tugend. Mosi Secret. Mark Binelli.

Charlottesville is not the continuation of an old fight. It is something new.” Just think about this: “The simple fact of the matter is that the world has never built a multi-ethnic democracy in which no particular ethnic group is in the majority and where political equality, social equality and economies that empower all have been achieved.” So the fight is different now. Can we make the change? The article ends with…”May we dig deep, to find the soil of love, and make America great at last.”

Surely we can still fight for change. Rise up and make more progress. Each of us. And we can help change the world.


Filed under: Social Commentary

October 11, 2017

I keep learning from novels.

Yes yes yes learning from novels.

I’ve told you that before. Romance novels. Spies. Sci fi fantasy. WHATEVER!

I just fell in love with a new series of novels by Martin Walker… Mysteries of the French Countryside. St. Denis in the Périgord. Bruno is the chief of police. I’ve read 4 so far. I have the 5th next to my bed. And there are at least 2 more!!!!

Mystery. Action. Love. Family. Community. French cooking. Wine.

And now these quotations:

“There was something mind-numbing about official prose that could turn a profound human drama into lifeless bureaucratic verbiage…perhaps that was the point.” (I read this to Tom Ahern and he snickered – or was it a snort?)

“They tended to discount claims of rape between lovers…thinking that once the woman had already been to bed with the man, what difference would another sexual incident make?” (WTF are they thinking?)

“Napoléon said no plan ever survives contact with the enemy.” (Hmmmm…. Does this mean we shouldn’t plan? Maybe a portion of the plan would work… Maybe good planning – which means deep conversation and challenging assumptions and gathering information and evidence and and and … Maybe the exercise is good enough? And good planning includes foreseeing the unforeseen and so much more.)

October 4, 2017

Planning for any future that could come along

Part of my consulting practice is strategic planning . . .

Today’s thought #1: Build the adaptive capacity of your organization. (See Carl Sussman’s great article about making change…. External focus. Network connectedness. Inquisitiveness. Innovation.)

#2 thought: Plan to the highest probability.

Thought #3: Choose “no regrets” moves.

#4 thought: Check out my notes about planning for any future that could come along — a series of vantage points / lenses in my Free Download Library.


September 18, 2017

Eve of destruction…Ken Burns’ PBS show

Wow. A second blog in one day. So sorry but…

I’ve told you before that Viet Nam is my war.

Was it Burns’ war, too? Started last night on PBS in the U.S.

See the pre – review of all 18 hours….“Ken Burns’ ‘Vietnam War’ will break your heart and win your mind,” by James Poniewozik.

“The saddest thing about this elegiac documentary may be the credit it extends its audience. “The Vietnam War” still holds out hope that we might learn from history, after presenting 18 hours of evidence to the contrary.

Do you remember The Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire? July 1965. I get so angry and sad. And we didn’t learn. Still happening today.

Do you know Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers? Thanks for the photocopying and leaking of classified info. You’re a hero. (By the way, I think Edward Snowden is a hero, too.)

Just think about this, from the Poniewozik review: “Mr. Burns is willing to risk obviousness because his project is not to find surprising twists on American history. It’s to create a historical canon in the most proadly acceptable terms…. Mr. Burns’ films assume that it’s still possible for americans to have an agreed-on baseline … on government, war, race and culture … from which to go forward.”

I wish that were true…that agreed-on baseline. Because I haven’t seen it … certainly not about Nam and not about race or gender or even good government or culture or….


Filed under: Social Commentary

Simone Joyaux, ACFRE, Adv Dip, is an internationally recognized expert in fund development, board and organizational development, strategic planning, and management.

© Joyaux Associates 2005-2016

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