Photos by Amy Gee
Meet Trina Olson and Alfonso Wenker, the entrepreneurs behind Team Dynamics. They’re one of the 18 values-driven businesses that have come together in support of Pollen’s mission to invest in human connection. Together, they challenge Pollenites to raise $20,000 by Give to the Max Day on November 15, which they will match dollar for dollar.
Match the Hive and donate today.
All About Team Dynamics
Team Dynamics is a firm of dreamers and doers that work to build capacity of leaders and organizations to move toward racial/gender equity goals. Founded by Trina Olson and Alfonso Wenker, two nonprofit executives with a combined twenty-five years of experience, Team Dynamics continues to grow to meet their clients’ needs.
“Receive and believe” is one of their mantras. “We are calling folks away from hierarchy and perfectionism, and towards a practice of increased comfort with dissonance and polarities,” says Alfonso. “Multiple truths can be true at the same time!”
“We deeply believe that TEAMS make us more effective, more creative, and more resilient,” says Trina. Their team was intentionally founded by practitioners across a variety of differences that make a difference—race, gender, sexuality, faith tradition, regional connections, and others. They model centering and deepening relationships as a tangible way to more consistently and effectively bridge both perspectives and behaviors. “We are a good fit for you if your core values align with our core approach.”
Let’s hear from Team Dynamics
Pollen: What are some of the greatest risks you’ve taken as a new small business owner?
Trina: We knew the scale of injustice is immense, we know that reality can capture folks in analysis paralysis. We knew that if we were going to work at scale we needed infrastructure and a team within our first 90 days. We hired Stephannie Lewis as project manager to lead business operations and shortly thereafter we brought Mark Pineda on board to lead administrative functions. We had to live our advice of “build a big team” and we wanted to model what building a multi-racial, multi-gender team of changemakers looked like.
Pollen: How do you go beyond transactional relationships to build real connection and meaning in your networks?
Alfonso: Our work requires we spend a lot of time listening to stories.
The first several meetings and moments of our work with leaders and organizations are asking folks about their journey, their stories, how they understand the impacts of racism, sexism and homophobia on their lived experience.
We are also practicing the vulnerability we are asking for – as a team mixed across race and gender we use our own stories of bridging across difference to model.
Pollen: What’s the biggest opportunity for other organizations to become more effect in their work?
Trina: Leadership models born from white supremacy and misogyny ask us to use only the top 2 inches of our heads (brain) to lead – logic and information are immensely important – AND – we must become enheartened and embodied leaders.
If we’re disconnected from our hearts and disembodied from our physicality and the signals from our bodies and hearts we will miss important wisdom that will help us be more creative and expansive in our work.
Pollen: How do you stay centered in your personal life and does that impact how you run your business?
Trina & Alfonso: When we started the company we didn’t write an employee handbook right away but we knew our decisions would be guided by five things….we were nonprofit executives jumping into a next adventure and we were certain our experience of life and work must feel and be different…
- Abundance – we are enough, we have enough, there is enough
- Excellence – do the best we can with the best we have and the humility to know when something is not for us
- Self-Determination – receive and believe my story and your story, allow multiple truths, each lived experience is real and we are making our choices in accordance with that truth
- Consent – stay curious, allow relationships to be different every day, ask questions even when there is assumed familiarity, we get to say “no” and mean it and believe it
- Name + Notice – regularly share what is on our heart, in our bodies, on our minds; name differences that make a difference; notice white supremacy and misogyny in how we are with one another; notice what arises and have courage to hold it with one another
Pollen: Why do you value being part of the Pollen community?
Alfonso: Pollen is a community that seeks to live the value of interdependence – an understanding that our abilities to thrive are inextricably bound. At Team Dynamics we tell all of our clients to “build a big team” and move away from the notion that civic leadership is about one charismatic leader out in front knowing everything – Pollen lives that and demonstrates through story and connection how we lead together across race, gender and other identities.
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Find Team Dynamics and give them an online hug for supporting Pollen.