How the Transformation Foundation got started
Someone whom I will never forget gave me the gift of the Landmark Forum. Although he didn’t pay for it, he pushed for it – and my life was never the same because of his commitment. My Forum was awesome in the truest sense of the word. I became alive in a way I hadn’t known before. I saw all my “reasonable-ness” – all the ways I played it safe and let reasons stop me from pursuing my dreams. I had been playing it safe and had a good life, even a great life. Yet, I had no idea how amazing it all could get.
After tasting this new aliveness, passion and commitment to life, I wanted it for others. I stood for my friends to do the work – and truly wished the world could have what we all got to share.
Then, I took the Advanced Course, and the idea came to me that I could take the concept of ‘everyone should have this’, and make it a reality. EVERYONE should have this – and money should NOT be a barrier to that.
The idea was born. It was first called “the Chick-a-go Foundation”, and I enrolled two of my best friends to work with me to create it. The name came from a defining incident that was one of the many “reasons” I had for playing it safe. In third grade, reading out loud in front of the class, I said: “The windy city…” then paused as I encountered a word I didn’t know how to pronounce… “is known as Chick-a-go…” And, the whole class laughed. At least that’s how I remember it – and part of me shut down and said – never again will I feel that way. I will not take risks in front of people – it’s dangerous!
So here we were with a name, a commitment and a vision! We were a stand that all people had access to living life powerfully regardless of income barriers. I talked to senior Landmark grads, then staff about how to handle such a thing – I got input – and then spoke with legal at Landmark to make sure what we were creating had integrity. Harry Rosenberg gave us his blessings and even gave us a scholarship for our first candidate!
We slowly spread the word. We held bake sales (literally), we threw small parties and invited all our graduate friends. The idea started catching on, and we realized the potential was bigger than the three of us could handle.
I had the good fortune of meeting Kate Maloney, a powerhouse of a graduate, through mutual friends. In Kate, I spotted the future of the Chick-a-go Foundation.
With her partnership, we re-branded as the Transformation Foundation and the rest is history!