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Guiding Corporate Teams to Connection

 The Best Parts of Being a Drum Cafe West Facilitator

as written by Melinda Rodriguez

Old Navy DrummingThere’s only one thing that can inspire a person to want a job like this. Being a facilitator for Drum Cafe West not only requires a passion for drumming and performance, but it also requires a deep desire to foster human connection. It also requires a relatively thick skin on occasions when people may not be as open to connecting as we’d like.

Fortunately, those moments are few and far between. Have you ever had the realization that you are exactly where you are supposed to be? My recent experience at Old Navy was a series of those exact moments.

A few months ago, we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to train Old Navy’s leadership team. The schedule was intense; there were six three-day sessions, each with 150-200 people. The objective was to inspire their store managers from across the country and help them to further develop their leadership skills by focusing on their individual strengths, self-awareness, decision-making, and communication.  In these scenarios with such a large number of participants, it’s not uncommon to encounter resistance or uncertainty from a few participants. However, that was not the case at Old Navy.

Melinda performingThe participants did not walk into the room— they ran. The crowd was so easy to engage, and you could feel the power of their energy. It truly was corporate team building at its finest.

One woman approached me in tears following the event. As it turned out, group drumming was something on her bucket list that had just been fulfilled. Another woman approached me absolutely electrified by the experience. She couldn’t contain her excitement as she gushed about the powerful feeling of being a part of something so unifying. There was another attendee who attended every single event in the series and never tired of the feeling.

The overriding majority of participants agreed that the Ubuntu concept was what resonated with them. The moment when everyone dropped into the pulse was when it truly connected that everyone affects one another.

Not only did that moment hit home for the Old Navy store managers, but it also hit home for me as a facilitator. That’s the best part of being a Drum Cafe West facilitator— getting to experience the connection again and again.


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