Jackie Peraza recently wrote a good post entitled Banner's, Bloggers and Staging that I encourage you to read. In is she asks an important question about Stage It Forward and what is happeing under its "banner". I've learned that if one person is thinking thoughts like this... others are too. Question like this need to be asked and should be asked.... so thank you Jackie. I am so pleasee you asked this question. I know you and I share a similar hopes for this industry. Sometimes the reply is better heard, just because the question HAS been asked.
So, in her recent post, Jackie questions what SIF is, in a legitmate statement of concern. She asks,"I didn't really understand when I signed on to blog and post within SIF that I was agreeing to being organized under any one person's or any one group's banner. I'm asking now, is that a pre-requisite to blogging or posting in this forum, if so; perhaps I should know that here and now and at that point I'll at least be able to make an informed decision.."
Below is my LONG reply, so if you don't want to read all I have written, here is my reply in a nutshell. First, like Jackie, when I created and I "signed on" on to Stage It Forward I didn't know I was organizing a banner. As it was from the begining, being part of SIF on AR requires nothing of you, it is community of voices you can chose to be a part of. In fact there are many members that do not blog or even comment. Plus, there are also those that come from the "outside" to read what we say and are not members of SIF either. But like life, Stage It Forward has been and is an evolution that is unfolding and rising.
So to be as transparent as I can be,starting here, I have written a more detailed account of SIF history and how this has evolved and opened up under the Stage It Forward BANNER and were it is going >>>
As for joining under "one person's banner" I agree this should not and is not the intent of this group. As the founder of this group, I first wrote of the vision I had for something I saw that could help create a new bigger, better, organized industry and I gave a name to that vision. I called it "Stage It Forward". That original blog has been paraphrased and shown in the side bar text on the home page of this group since its inception. For what ever reason people saw something possible in the words I wrote and the group I formed under those words. There were other staging groups that formed at about the same time and there are other staging groups that since have formed here on AR. But this group has caught the collective attention of MOST stagers that are on Active Rain for a reason. I believe that reason is because people and assocaitions adopted, share and build upon the vision I first wrote of over a year ago.
As long as ActiveRain keeps this as THEIR policy, the SIF Community on AR is and will always remain FREE to join. Members are also FREE to leave if it is NOT what a member wanted, hoped for or thought it would be.But, on the flip side, what Stage It Forward evolves into and offers does NOT require people to be members of this blogging community either. In fact, recently I told facilitators, who have asked, that ALL stagers (SIF members or not) are invited to and welcome at SIF RoundTables.
But having a vision, writing that vision, refining that vision is a process that grows and evolves. Take, for example, our own country, it was "birthed" out of a vision first written as a declaration. It is a widely held belief that Thomas Jefferson led the way when he wrote the initial draft of the Declation of Independence, which then evolved and was refined by others.
Literally, the very moment I thought of Stage It Forward I sat down and wrote the description of a possibility that I saw for all stagers. These would be the founding words that launched the group. In fact , 4 days after I wrote that KEY post entitled STAGE IT FORWARD..., where I first wrote of the vision and possibility I saw for the future of the home staging industry, Audra Slinkey sent me an encouraging email which wisely said, "I noticed a good little business niche for you in the last blog :)." Over a year ago Audra saw possibility for what Stage It Forward could become. But where my intital "vision" came from I don't know. I do know I was impressed with what I saw in the "big" Rain: and I knew part of what home staging needed was group where all voices could be spoken freely.
So to keep true to what I saw possible I know I had to incorporate a united collective voice into ALL that I have done. I have learned that in order to unite you have to listen to the "collective voice of the disgruntled" as well as what I call the "collective voice of those who are quietly content". Both are members here in Stage It Forward. For me the difficulty has been reaching out to the collectively "entrenched" and leery of any and all who strive to make this industry better. Plus, I have already come to see that the more one tries to do, the more there will be those that will set you in their sites as a target and take shots at you try to undermine you. This industry has seen PLENTY of this negativity. I wish I could say it is over.
So listening to, gathering and sharing the collective voice is what I have passionately try to make sure is incorporated in all I do for SIF and its members. Unfortunately, in the gathering and then the sharing, some people are going to make the assumption that Stage It Forward is ALL "Craig". Ongoingly, as SIF has been unfolding, I have been working hard make sure it is not seen as such. Knowing this would an issue I knew I had to be proactive. So when Callie Waterhouse first asked me if I would speak to a group of stagers in AZ, I was honored. It was important that I did not make it all about "Craig", the INDUSTRY had/has to be the star. It is for that reason I contacted stagers across North America (literally right before I was heading to the airport) and asked that they submit a question we could use for the AZ discussion. I promised that I would be sure to give them credit for their words. From what was to be submitted I hoped to get 10 good questions that would spark dialogue. Well I got more... I think it was about 20 good questions. So I thought of a way to incorporate them ALL into the discussion giving ALL a chance to "be heard". I listened. I gathered. I shared.
As we all now know, this first RoundTable went SO well and the questions were SO good and sparked SO much conversation and because so many contacted me wishing they could have, what is now called a SIF RoundTable, in their areas, I came up with a way to organize it on behalf of all. I listened. I gathered. I shared. The same ORIGINAL questions, first submitted by others, would be used as a springboard for discussion at these too.
But something like this must be organized, so I asked for help. Yvonne Root, a participant in the AZ SIF RoundTable, offered to help. To make an undertaking such as this worthwhile, they MUST be led. But again NOT wanting this to be the "Craig" show, I have been adamant that we are ALL just Members. Yvonne and I had a discussion and chose the word "facilitator" to describe the member who leads the discussions. We thought the word conveyed leadership without title and power. In fact, Yvonne, then researched and then sent me an email with the definition of the word "round table" and the EQUALITY it conveys to all who participate.
While I am the founding member of this group of bloggers that is and has grown under under what is become the "Stage It Forward..." banner, I am still just a member. While I have taken on roles and responsibilities in places BEYOND what a typical member is doing on their own fronts for SIF's sake, this does not make me better then any other. It is just where my passion is. I gotta admit where that passion comes from I do not know. All I know is what I have been doing has helped and I willing enjoy doing what I can. As time has unfolded, who I personally have evolved to be in SIF and this industry is changing. THIS was not something I set out to do, planned to do, schemed or connived to do. It just opened up. What I've said and what I see and how I say things connects with people. But as the saying goes, talk is cheap. So SAYING it is one thing. Putting it into action is another.
"Action" means that which does, and will fall under the Stage It Forward banner will expand. As I am sure Audra wants for her foundation training program (HSR) and her new industry association know as ASHSR. Expansion is the natural progression of things. As SIF evolves, over time, my hope is more WILL become involved because more good opportunities to participate will be made available. But as I have tried to do now, as SIF expands I will continue to LISTEN, to GATHER and to SHARE the best collective message that I can.
So... if members here believe in what is ufolding under the Stage It Forward banner... I invite you to stay. If people DON'T like or believe in what is evolving, I invite you to stay or leave. Either viable choice is their's to freely make. But Stage It Forward's evolution will continue as it's banner rises higher.
Stage It Forward...