Highlighting LIVING Her-story,  amplifying our team, and two women-owned Partner companies
By Dr. Katherine M. Schlatter

Welcome to March and with it I wish you a wonderful International Women's Day! So much is happening this month,  and as our social media feeds are quickly filling up with Women's History month posts I wanted to create a space to celebrate our team which is made up, primarily, of dynamic women.  THENCE,  a boutique training delivery platform, continues to collaborate with incredible female talent around the globe and with two women-owned partner companies, The Art of Living Collective based in the New York tri-state area, and Afrocentric Montessori based in Atlanta, Georgia.

THENCE  was born during the lockdown year of late 2021,  and from its inception developed interactive media as a dynamic and accessible training format. Making the media flow requires multiple skill sets, both technical and a type of dynamically informed capacity for composing many true scenarios. The Art of Living Collective (ALC), founded and operated by Andrea Patterson, uses the applied theater method to foster new skills in individuals and groups, by acting out real life scenarios in a manner that reflects our most familiar challenges. Thus a type of synergy quickly evolved between THENCE's technology and the ALC's methodology. 

In 2023 as the collaboration grew more involved, Patterson took on additional roles as THENCE's Chief Creative Officer and Co-founder. THENCE launched several new areas of training, with Patterson front and center in this effort. It melded applied theater and multi-media interactivity together in a way that shares an evidence-base of knowledge around childhood development, and yet counters professional trouble spots and common misconceptions that can perpetuate stigma, isolation, and the misinterpretation of behaviors in the classaroom setting.

Patterson has many talents, she is an actor, educator, editor, writer and entrepreneur. Off stage she has a keen editorial eye and an exceptional attention to the details wrought by language, movement and expression. Perhaps these attributes are unsurprising given the exacting nature of her other very demanding career as a stage actor.  On stage Patterson has been cast as so many character types, a parade of personalities and portrayals with every performance rendering exceptional insight into a woman's life now seen. Last year she scooped up an Obie for sustained achievement in recognition of four role performances in three New York-based stage productions. For more on Patterson's amazing story, read a summary of the plays that got her the Obie, and hear her talk about the applied theater method at This Month.

The second enterprise that has been fundamental to the development of THENCE's interactive media style is Afrocentric Montessori, a company that curates and sells lines of beautifully crafted Montessori wooden and ceramic materials that center imagery, art, shapes, forms and culture of Africa and the African diaspora. Additionally the company has provided approachable professional development for teachers and home-schoolers interested in expanding their knowledge of quintessential pedagogies.

Afrocentric Montessori, was founded by Ashley Causey-Golden, a fellow alumni of Teachers College, Columbia University. Causey-Golden has been sharing her professional development presentations for years, and long before we collaborated. THENCE has transformed some of these lessons to validate how interactive media can work with byte-sized trainings. Causey-Golden has almost two decades of teaching experience including years spent in public, charter, and private school settings. Compellingly, her teaching spans several pedagogies and approaches, but most importantly, her strong emphasis on black community empowerment never wavers.

After leaving more traditional school campuses she combined Montessori pedagogy with her unique blend of thought leadership to create two exceptional schools that center black identity and community allowing for a broader ecosystem of educational possibilities. One is a forest school where everyday learning takes place outside and among the trees.  Lessons incorporating environmental science, sustainability, and applied land stewardship are all woven into the school fabric and curricula.  The second space is a homeschool pod with sensorial stations and play areas that are ideally curated for very young learners. Followers of her social media feed can attest to the beauty and care with which she presents coaching, and allyship to families that have struggled with sub-optimal educational choices.

Integrated into our collaborative partnerships is our core team of subject matter experts. Meet the talented instructional designer and interactive media technologist Zeinab Mzungu who has worked tirelessly on developing our special blend of multimedia that is both validated and significantly effective at boosting professional development outcomes.  Our health and medical writer/researcher Innocensia Kambewe has worked to uncover a THENCE style that truly blends teaching with the development of metacognitive process for coaching. Giulia Galimberti, our social media expert has established our strong LinkedIn and newer Instagram presence and has taken the reins as a project manager for our first print publication and its debut at the Bologna Children's Book Fair. You will be hearing more about this in April as we launch our first non-fiction illustrated book for educators and an accompanying electronic textbook in a multi-media format (More on that later).

Nikita Lai-Jing Tse our illustrator and graphic designer has taken our visual media to the next level with her beautiful renderings for the soon to be published book Displaced, not to mention producing, filming and directing, numerous origami and hand craft videos for our varied audiences. Abigail Otadade has made these media even more accessible by filming her sign language interpretation of the book Displaced and other multi-media. She is currently working with Helina Seyoum who joined us late last year as a sub-editor, administrator, and our accessibility advisor. 

Both Helina and Abigail bring unique perspectives to our accessibility advocacy efforts and will debut a series of thought-provoking conversations and interactive multi-media honoring deaf culture and the use of sign languages as a vehicle for communication, culture and community.  These will all be available mid-March on This Month.

Lastly, I wish to make the work of our allies visible. We are grateful for all the allies who work collaboratively with our efforts to sustain the technology, sales, marketing, content creation,  financial planning and stickiness that make our boutique services and infrastructure work.  Among our allies we would like to thank our dev-ops manager Viktor Turych, our finance head Joseph Mauro, and our many freelancers. 

One major detail I left to the final part of this blog post is that I want to personally highlight the dynamism of the amazing women with whom I work and collaborate. Women are the main hunter-gatherers of our scarcest resource, time. But women's ability to find time, and to make use of every moment, even when this acrobatic dance of balance calls for an almost magical management of not ever letting our families and dependents down. Sometimes this comes with personal sacrifice of sleep and wellbeing. Let's just say many of us are balancing family, including little ones and elders, domestic chores and households, tasks that do not shrink over time but stay put with the deepest roots connecting us to all women who came before us.  As a woman I can speak to this, but also that we often rely on other women,  for childcare, domestic help, PLUS, emotional, physical and technical support. Whether these transfers come through family duty, exchanges in friendship,  direct compensation, or a mix of all these things, no work is superior, or more important than that work. 

So finally, in amplifying all women, let us also amplify all their work, all their efforts all their triumphs, and all (the often) invisible parts of their lives.

Want to learn more about THENCE, our partnerships, services and products? Message us using the form below. Kindly refrain from using this form to sell us your services! Thank you!

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THENCE offers the most customizable and secure training platforms for schools and school districts to take professional development to the next level. THENCE achieves this by partnering  with highly effective trainers and integrating interactive media, applied theater, cognitive science and a wide base of stand-out evidence to boost and sustain personal development. This means relevant training for practitioners, it also means skill-building is achieved through activating metacognitive, and meta-strategic action.  Want to know more connect with me on LInkedIn. Many thanks Dr. K. M. Schlatter
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