Heeding the Wake Up Call – A Letter From Our Founder

Published June 2, 2020

By Fran Johnston

Dear Teleos Community,

As I type, protests and riots, are underway in 75 cities in the United States and more in the world, including my beloved Philadelphia. The combination of such raw recent examples of the horrible murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of the police, the stark intimidation of Chris Cooper by Amy Cooper, the disproportionate death toll of black and brown citizens due to Covid-19, and the harsh economic reality of more than 40 million newly unemployed people has broken open the system. Before seismic change there is pain and destruction. We will not go back to the old ways.  

More than 100,000 people have died in our country in less than four months, more than 1,000,000 people in the world are confirmed to have COVID-19. Each person is important to their people, each person matters to me. The trauma is incalculable. Some of us have gone numb, some think it “doesn’t affect” them, that it is something happening over there or to other people, not their kind of people.

We are interconnected. We are offered the opportunity to learn, again, how interconnected and interdependent we are. My health is impacted by yours. My breath, your breath. My humanity is tied up in the humanity of others. I am enriched by your existence, and impacted by your suffering and your joy.

More than 100,000 small business have expired due to COVID, and now more due to the riots. All the dreams, blood, sweat and tears that went into starting and maintaining those precious entities. They matter to their people and their community. They matter to me.

Our Federal government is mired in conflict, and our state and local government leaders are scrambling to respond to the ever-unfolding crises – health, justice, education, economic. They are learning and leading every day.

My Friends, we are called.

We are called as citizens and community leaders to take action. We must speak up for essential human values of love, care, respect and community. We share these values. I know because I have witnessed the way you strive to be your best self, to be leaders in the essential, time honored practice of creating safe spaces where people grow, heal and evolve. We must coach and raise awareness, and advocate for new ways of being, working, educating, and living with one another.  As leaders, and as coaches, you stand behind your teams and colleagues. Now is the time to be a little (or a lot) bolder, clearer.  If ever there was a time when emotional intelligence is needed, it is now. It is time to look clearly and critically at the systems that we work and live in from the perspective of non-majority people. Thank goodness you are on the journey of growth so you can be a role model for others. People are afraid, they are weary, some are angry, many are grieving; everyone is affected.  

In challenging times we must look to our values — I am clear — we stand for Equity, Fairness, Black Lives. I want to yell, I am WAY beyond Black lives mattering, Black lives are precious, have significance and are part of the fabric of our society. We must continually act to ensure Black and Brown people’s safety and access. Poor people everywhere are suffering, they are hungry and worried for their children and families. We must work to make America, and the world, a society that offers equal opportunity and looks out for the vulnerable amongst us with love and compassion.

My heart has broken so many times these past months. I have been all over the place emotionally, and walked a hundred miles around the block –literally and figuratively. Each day, week and month presents new and different losses and challenges. I don’t know how yet, but I am sure I, and we, will be different as we reemerge and reconfigure our behaviors, relationships, work and focus. This period of quarantine, social distancing and social explosion has presented us with a serious set of wake up calls. Apparently, we need a really loud one, or many of them. These calls help us tune into our selves. What needs to change? What have you realized about your self and your systems? Where are you called to serve?

This is the time to speak and lead from your values. Still your mind and listen to your heart. Your heart knows what is needed now. Trust yourself. Take actions that make sense to you, listen, act, grow. I trust you. I have your back, I love you.

If you feel like joining me for a reflective conversation about what we are seeing and feeling, and where we feel called to act, we will hold our next Teleos Community Forum this Friday, June 5th at 10am EST. To join the conversation, email lbingaman@teleosleaders.com for a link to participate.

I hope to see you there.

Know that I am with you.

All the best,


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