Clare S. Richie

Book Club: Type R

Clare Richie Book Club, Philanthropic Resources

By Clare Richie, public policy specialist

At different points in our personal and professional lives, we can all face unforeseen challenges. A diagnosis, a downturn or a new threat. But one person’s doom-and-gloom is another person’s cue to rise.

In the book Type R, mother-daughter authors and work-life experts Stephanie and Ama Marston seek to answer the question “How can we leverage change and hardship into opportunity as individuals and carry that progress into the world as a contribution to the collective?”

Through inspirational stories and research, the Marstons walk us through six characteristics and skills needed for Transformative Resilience or to be Type R – adaptability, healthy relationship to control, continual learning, sense of purpose, leveraging support and active engagement.

My favorite Type R example was a creative collective response to two earthquakes in Italy that damaged 360,000 wheels of Parmesan cheese. The natural disaster threatened to close half of the Parmesan producers in Italy and cost millions of dollars in potential loss. Chef Bottura of famed Osteria Francescana teamed up with the Parmesan association to propose an online dinner party where people around the world cooked the same meal at home with a new recipe using the broken wheels of cheese. Not one person lost their job or their business.

The book also discusses how to create a Type R vision and culture in our homes, workplaces and communities to grow and improve when faced with challenge. We “can live not in fear but with anticipation.”

In my role as public policy specialist at the Community Foundation, I plan to look beyond what passed or failed during the recent state legislative session, and shift that default mindset to find opportunities to collectively move our work forward.