Dining for Women in Rossland


Dining for Women in Rossland Visual Brainstorm by Michelle Laurie


This post is to share two great things:

1. Dining for Women is a group that originated in the US to support and empower women in developing countries.  Instead of going out for dinner to a restaurant, women get together for a potluck and donate the money they would have spent otherwise to a common charity.  Chapters have popped up across the US and one night of small dinner potlucks in many locations can raise over $20,000.00/month.  Groups are researched by the organization and a different cause is supported each month.  The organizers also provide background material to the local chapters, including a short video and country facts to help provide context for the dinner discussion.  Dining for Women speaks to me for many reasons.  Here are a few things it illustrates:

  • The power of the collective.
  • Every person can contribute.
  • Scaling up can have real impact and is worth the effort.
  • Great ideas are easy to spread.
  • Planning support (through materials, discussion ideas) is helpful to stimulate meaningful conversations.

2. Visual Thinking and Visual Recording. I have been engaging in graphic facilitation slowly over the past few years however after hosting a 2 day workshop on the topic with Nancy White as the facilitator, I am keen to really practice and use visual methods in my work.  Nancy’s advice during the workshop was to take visual notes during regular meetings, look for icons and when given the opportunity simply get up and try.  I had hoped at the Dining for Women gathering in Rossland, we could use a blank wall to help people share their thoughts.  Given the busy evening with many activities taking place, the wall was still blank when everyone left.  Days later I decided to record my impression of Dining for Women in Rossland.  The visual is above and this is what I was hoping to express:

  • Four themes of Dining for Women that took place during the past year.
  • Rossland is the first Canadian chapter of Dining for Women.
  • Dining for Women is rooted in supporting the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Reasons why women in Rossland are excited about participating.
  • Some of the topics and themes we discuss at our potluck dinners.

Hosting meaningful conversations supported by meaningful visuals is something I am striving for in my work.  For now, I will keep practicing at the wall and in my notebook and the next Dining for Women is at the end of the month…


Filed under Effective meetings, knowledge management, Kootenay Life, Rural development

4 responses to “Dining for Women in Rossland

  1. Anni Holtby

    Hi Michelle, glad to hear your continuing your graphic facilitation skills. I’m looking forward to our next July session with Nancy. I’ve recorded a focus group recently with powerful results. This helps build my confidence.

    I am looking into starting a Dining for Women chapter in the South Slocan/Nelson area. It speaks to me for the same reasons you list. Any tips?

  2. Michelle Laurie

    Hi Anni,

    I would love to hear more about how you used it in your focus group. Perhaps you can share via the FB site or drop me an email!!

    I will send you info re DfW as well – its great. If you would like to check one out in Rossland, our next one is March 31st and I can send you all info. It would be a great opportunity to meet and hear how folks here have been digesting it all.

    Can’t wait until July!

  3. Lisa

    Hi there,
    I am a new DFW Chapter Leader in Calgary, and I understand Kate Mahoney headed up your chapter? I read an article that she was or may have been looking into creating a registered charity for our Canadian DFW chapters, which is something I have been looking at as well. I was wondering if there has been any headway made there?

  4. Michelle Laurie

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for getting in touch! Yes we have made headway and are working with DfW USA to legalize as we speak! My email is michelle.k.laurie@gmail.com. Send me an email and I can link you up with Kate. She started up our group and we have been co-sharing the task of registering. At present we have a pro bono lawyer in Toronto helping with the first steps.
    Looking forward to hearing more about the Calgary chapter, how its going, how it started, etc.


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