Hollyhock’s 40th year: the disconnection in ourselves, with each other and from the natural world

Hollyhock celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The current CEO, Peter Wrinch, was just seven years old when Rex Weyler and some of his friends founded the leadership center in 1982. In a recent press release Wrinch states the institute’s program for this year, “focuses on our deep desire to heal disconnection with ourselves, each other, and the natural world in this moment.” 

Photo courtesy Hollyhock

Wrinch said Hollyhock has done some amazing work over the past 40 years, “like so many other organizations, so many other businesses, the pandemic has illustrated to us that we can’t continue for the next 40 years with business as usual.”

“We’re grounded in our history, standing in the present, but focused on the future. And I believe it looks different than what we’ve been doing thus far and I think we’re really excited to explore that,” he said. 

“In this industrial or post-industrial society that has created so much wealth, the side effect has been a deep disconnection from ourselves. What are our real aspirations? What kind of society could we have if people were really free to dream and to connect to their deepest self?” asked Wrinch.

“Disconnection from self leads to a destructive disconnection from others and the natural world. When we are unable to live in our own awareness, we are divorced from our impact on others and nature. Our society is grappling with the consequences of this in systemic racism, income inequality, and the climate emergency.” 

Chief Kevin Peacey with Goat 1 – Photo by Peter Wrinch

Hollyhock is entering 2022 with two new partnerships. 

One of their most important relationships is with the Klahoose First Nation, which has been developing for a number of years. Wrinch says the day the Klahoose landed their canoes at the beach in front of Hollyhock, in 2018, was “one of the most meaningful experiences in my life.”Last fall Wrinch joined Chief Kevin Peacey, and development corporation manager, Bruno Pereira, on the maiden voyage of the Klahoose water taxi ‘Goat One.’ Following that, the Hollyhock leadership team went to the Klahoose Wilderness Lodge for an end of season management retreat.

“Our whole team saw the wilderness lodge and just thought, ‘wow! We really have to figure out how to work with them!’”

Hollyhock program Director Ling Lo and lodge manager Chris Tate worked out the details of a partnership that would open the door for  Hollyhock’s guests to also stay in the Klahoose Wilderness Lodge

Hollyhock has also partnered with the Institute for Change Leaders, which was founded by former NDP MP and partner of the late NDP leader Jack Layton, Olivia Chow. 

“We looked at our catalog and we said, ‘one of the things we’re missing is person to person organizing, mobilizing and who better to partner with than the ‘Institute for Change Leaders.’ So we’re really excited to welcome Olivia and her team to Hollyhock,’” said Wrinch. 

Hollyhock in the 19080s – courtesy Hollyhock

They are also bringing back some of their sage-like teachers.

 Hollyhock is also introducing some new voices:

  • Amrita Ahuja is the creator of ‘Groundwork,’  a system for leaders, entrepreneurs, and people with big goals and dreams to create ease in their lives. 
  • Marc Lesser and Lee Klinger Lesser will teach 7 Practices of a Mindful Leader Amidst a world of busyness, take time to stop, reflect, and renew. Leadership is primarily about cultivating clarity, empowering others, and skillfully responding to change.
  • Cicely Belle Blain will teach Social Justice in Work & Life: An interactive and dynamic program that explores the unlimited possibilities of integrating anti-oppressive values into our personal and professional lives.

There will also be a new Psychedelics gathering at Hollyhock this year. is also adding a psychedelic gathering this year. 

“Psychedelics are experiencing a renaissance right now. There are lots of signs that these medicines will offer new and effective treatments for anxiety and depression,” explained Wrinch. “We have a lot of connections to that sector to provide a space for leaders in the psychedelics movement, whether it’s Indigenous people, industry, government and advocacy to come together and imagine what a just psychedelics sector could look like in Canada. We’ve got a very powerful national steering committee working on the gathering – we are really excited about what we will put together.

All photos courtesy Hollyhock

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