ABOUT THE FOUNDING FACILITATOR
I am Rowena Ebdani Suarez, the founding facilitator of Seeds of Transformation. The Seed of my work had been planted sometime in 2011 when I was participating in a workshop which, according to its organizers, is the kind that changes your life. I particularly remember the facilitator of the workshop saying “once you’ve been awakened, you can never go back to sleep.”
Shortly after the said workshop, I was introduced to a movement whose carriers have been cultivating seeds of a sustainable future. They offered alternatives to society, and I have spent over nine years immersing in these alternatives, being in constant dialogue with their co-carriers and collaborating with them in many fronts—in agriculture, education, health among others.
One of the alternatives I helped found and lead was the Cebu Farmers Market—an alternative that was born out of the GMO-Free Cebu campaign. The Cebu Farmers Market was the first and, probably, the only physical hub for organically-grown produce and naturally-processed products in Cebu, Philippines. It has evolved itself to give birth to the Communities of Alternative Food Ecosystems Initiative which is now the holding NGO running the Cebu Farmers Market and is helping grow backyard garden communities in the urban center.
Because of these experiences, I saw that it would take a different approach to development. One in which the Human and Spiritual dimensions are going to be cultivated. These are two of the Seven (7) Dimensions of Sustainable Development, developed by one of my mentors, Nicanor Perlas. The other five dimensions are Ecological, Economic, Political, Cultural and Societal.
I was in a unique place of being in corporate management and leadership roles—in the Business Process Outsourcing Industry—and being a cultural creative when I saw how the corporate world and the world of civil society, which includes the non-profit world, can learn from each other. The Essence of my work was revealed in the process.
The overarching framework that guides me is Inner Work for Outer Work. It is best summed up in the words of Bill O’Brien who said that: The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervenor.
My desire for integration of the different aspects of my work allowed a clear initiative to Emerge. To help facilitate the work of bringing more awareness into the work that is needed in ourselves and in the world as well as in helping individuals and organizations respond to the call, I launched Open Heart Café, a Human Development Initiative prototype, in 2016. It is a heart-based approach to human and social relations, holding workshops, inquiries and dialogues, as a response to the divisive ways in which relational, social and political issues are being tackled in families and communities.
After resigning from my corporate job in November 2018, I launched full time training, coaching and consulting practice in January 2019 under Seeds of Transformation, an alternative approach to mainstream Organizational Development. Its work is Human Re-Source Development, which is connecting individuals back to their source of creativity and strength.
I have reached hundreds of individuals through HeartMath workshops, related talks and retreats since 2017. The HeartMath System is, arguably, said to be the most sophisticated resilience system in the world today. I am one of the only three (3) Certified HeartMath trainers in the Philippines as of writing time.
The other coaching and facilitation tools that I use include consciousness-based practices, personal mastery practices, systems thinking tools and frameworks such as Appreciative Inquiry as well as social technologies like the “U” or Presencing.
I am a co-carrier of the Movement of Imaginals for Sustainable Societies through Initiatives, Organizing and Networking, or MISSION, a group of committed individuals who are working for the vision of a new Philippines and a new world.
My work makes me alive. True to the principle of the S.E.E.D., the Design, or the form in which my work takes, or the container that holds it, continues to evolve.
I keep listening for what is being asked of me in response to the call in the world, and I am excited to meet all of you so that we can become co-creators of the world we have been longing for.