A Hollyhock Story

By Peter Wrinch, Director of Politics and Advocacy at NationBuilder

I remember the first time I went to SCI at Hollyhock. It was 2007 and I was a young Operations Manager at Pivot Legal Society. Hollyhock was somewhat of a mystical place that the founder of Pivot talked about with a sense of awe. Most of Pivot’s first major donors came from connections made at Hollyhock conferences like SCI, SVI, Web of Change, and Media that Matters.

I made the journey up to Hollyhock in the Pivot-mobile, a beautiful early model Volvo that had been donated to Pivot and really had no business leaving the city. We had a full car to share the cost of the three ferries and gas. Money was tight at Pivot and both my colleague, Lobat Sadrehashemi, and I were coming to Hollyhock on scholarships. The journey was an amazing part of the experience. I got to know everyone in the car much better on the long trip and once we arrived at Hollyhock I already had people I could easily share a meal with.

I have a very strong memory of standing in line for food at my first meal. The food was amazing, but who was I going to sit with and what would we talk about? Lobat and I had promised each other (and our boss!) that we were going to meet and chat with lots of other people. I am fairly certain that we ate together that first meal.

Hollyhock was generous to Pivot over the years. We sent almost all our staff to the different conferences on scholarships – it became like a right of passage. When I was the ED of Pivot, sending each of our staff to Art of Leadership was a priority. Like so many people lost in the day to day work of social change, attending conferences at Hollyhock provided a welcome chance to pause, breathe, and connect with people doing similar work with similar challenges.

For me, as an Operations Manager, a Communications and Development director, and eventually an Executive Director, my time at Hollyhock was transformational. Sitting in rooms with peers, mentors, and colleagues helped me to find my voice and allowed me to lead from a place of integrity and vulnerability. I credit a huge amount of my success at Pivot and the organization’s success during my time to insights and connections we made at Hollyhock.

In my current role as Director of Politics and Advocacy at NationBuilder, I travel around the country talking to people who are changing the world. I have come to realize how important and special places like Hollyhock are. There are so few places where people can come together to connect, grow, and imagine the future they want to create. Hollyhock is one of those places.

My goal as a Hollyhock Ambassador is to share my experience and to call upon my network to support the important work that is carried out in this magical place, where transformation begins and ripples out into the world.

To help Peter reach his goal of $10,000 raised this year, please donate here: 

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