FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 05.10.2022

In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch: AMMC, how long meetings should last, change fatigue, building pro-Black organizations, and, of course, Happy Mother’s Day!


Dear friends,

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and mother figures who read this letter! I hope you enjoyed time with your loved ones this past weekend.

The holiday felt especially tender following the Roe v. Wade news. The draft opinion is a difficult blow for progressives, and it will take some time to process and regroup. I thought this “what’s next” roundup from Stanford Social Innovation Review was helpful. Fortunately, in recent years we have learned how to support one another. Let’s keep showing up.

Speaking of which, Avalon sent a team to the American Museum Membership Conference this week. We hope to see you there! Senior VP and director of client services Jackie Libby will present with John Perell and Colleen Morith from Smithsonian on Harnessing the Power of Giving from Donor-Advised Funds (DAF). A big piece of the DAF puzzle, as always, is tracking and interpreting results. Avalon Analytics can help you with this.

In other news, May is Mental Health Awareness month. Marketing VP Barb Perell shared an inspiring interview with Bonobos founder Andy Dunn, who recently disclosed his bipolar disorder. His mission is to destigmatize talking about mental health in the workplace. It’s a good reminder to take breaks for self-care, use PTO, and ask for help. We can also be supportive and be good listeners when colleagues prioritize their mental health.

Barb also shared a great article on how long meetings should last. According to the author, the ideal formula is 25 minutes max, 7 people max, and a clear purpose. The timing comes from the Pomodoro Technique for time management, which breaks work into 25-minute increments followed by intentional rests.

I also recommend this HBR feature on change fatigue. In it, authors Molly West Duffy and Liz Fosslien explain the high toll of change during recent years. It’s not enough, they say, for leaders to encourage individual self-care. They recommend four practices that address the problem at team-level:

  • Pause to acknowledge change and the discomfort that comes with it.
  • Adopt the mantra, “I am a person who is learning _______.”
  • Make a plan from which you will deviate.
  • Invest in rituals.

Of course, change not only happens to us. We also seek it. Progressives are in the business of building a better world—and that starts with us. So, be sure to check out the NPQ Spring 2022 issue on Building Pro-Black Organizations. In “A Journey from White Space to Pro-Black Space,” Isabelle Moses describes the transition at her nonprofit, Faith in Action. Their HR strategies stood out to me:

  • Compensate staff equitably.
  • Prioritize staff well-being to avert burnout.
  • Invest in leadership development and caucus spaces.

Finally, at our most recent virtual gathering, chief strategy officer Amy Tripi led us through a daily energy routine. If you didn’t know, Amy is a Shamanic Reiki Master Teacher and Practitioner and a certified Craniosacral Therapist. It was a neat presentation, and I love learning about colleagues’ diverse interests. What special talents are hiding on your team?!

Take care,


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Allison Porter, President
Avalon Consulting Group
202-429-6080 ext. 102