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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Women rising

Women rising. That’s all the editorial calendar from the corporate office of Natural Awakenings said about an upcoming article, yet I knew I wanted to jump on the opportunity to highlight Atlanta women for the very simple reason that 80 percent of our readers are women. This is a chance to make a statement.

The article, which starts on page 22, is about “the emerging paradigm of heart-based feminine leadership.” In an instant, I knew Sue Schroeder, co-founder and artistic director of Decatur-based contemporary dance company Core Dance, had to be one of the women we featured.

“People never get that, and I didn’t get it either, until being submersed in it all,” says a former dancer for Core.

The “it” he was referring to is the culture of collaboration that is at the heart of Schroeder’s work. In an era when founding choreographers were all-powerful masters and dancers were mere chattel, Schroeder launched her company on the basis of true collaboration.

The dance artist elaborated: “In dance, ‘collaborate’ doesn’t mean collaborate.” He explains that dancers understand the term to mean that other artists help the choreographer fulfill his or her vision. As a result, Core newbies don’t believe they actually have a voice in developing choreography. “Really? I have a voice? How strong can it be?”

But Schroeder walks the talk – constantly, consistently and with knowing confidence. Over the years, she has melded five sets of principles and processes and formally codified collaboration. The Core Cultural Practice began as the way artists interact with each other in the studio, but spread to the business side of the house, and is now used whenever Core partners with other organizations. In Schroeder’s world, every person is valued and every voice is heard.

Fortunately for Atlanta and the world, Schroeder is not alone in infusing our work culture with heart. Meredith Leapley, founder and president of Leapley Construction, is bringing trust, connection and empathy to the most masculine of industries, and Bridgette Massey Peterson injects compassion for all creatures into a profession that seems predicated upon eating animal meat – bodybuilding. Read about all three of these ATL treasures on page 23.

Speaking of women rising, allow me to introduce our Atlanta-based editorial staff. I am fortunate beyond reason to have Sarah Buehrle as managing editor. Sarah has nearly two decades of journalism experience, most recently having served in multiple assignments as a reporter and editor for Cox Ohio Publishing, now Cox Media Group Ohio. She has authored several articles for this publication and earned a certificate in aromatherapy from the Heal Center.

I met Lucretia Robison, our staff writer, at Jeff Primack’s Qi Revolution last year, and she immediately struck me as a possibility – a resilient woman who has overcome monumental life challenges, is in the midst of her own awakening and devoted to the healing arts – she’s a licensed massage therapist who is working on a health coach certification – and the healthy lifestyle that our magazine advocates. She also happens to be an emerging writer and blogs in her spare time.

Together, Sarah, Lucretia and I strategize our editorial perspective, policy and scope, plan our coverage months in advance and respond to last-minute opportunities. I simply could not be happier with our Atlanta team, and I believe you, dear reader, will notice how we’re kicking local coverage into high gear.

Rounding out the editorial staff is calendar editor Theresa Archer, of Lexington, KY. She provides her services to other Natural Awakenings franchises, as well.

Paul Chen

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