Tribes I belong to… How about you?

It seems like my weekly blogging time is now over a glass of wine at the Minstrel Café… A blissful hour and a half while my girls are at Brownies. We may have to pull all sorts of culinary and driving acrobatics to get them here by 6 o’clock, but it’s definitely worth it!

Today I was talking about tribes with my students, and oddly, I feel like talking about it more. For any of you new to my blog, one of the hats I wear is , (eh hem! Cleaning my throat) Business Professor. Sounds pretty spiff. But it’s much less glam than it sounds.

One of the benefits of huge job is that I get to talk about concepts that interest me, and then try them out in my own entrepreneurial life. The marketing concept of Tribes was popularized by the fabulous thinker Seth Godin. Basically, in a nutshell, tribes are a new way of describing a modern phenomenon. Because of technology, cultural mash-ups and geographic distribution, people are no longer just connected by where they live, and the race/gender/age/income that makes them demographically up. We tend to associate with now with people who have similar interests, and consequently have similar behaviours, understanding, and use of language.

I’ll give you some examples of the tribes I belong to… Maybe your belong to some of the same tribes? (I betcha, since you visit my blog!)

Ethiopian adoptive parents: we celebrate two Christmases and Easters, despise the shoulder shrug, have painfully tried to make injera, and understand the Habesha/Farengi concept. We are very connected online, and can be found in high numbers at Ethiopian restaurants. Have play dates with other Ethiopian and adopted kids; take our kids to any event with a lot of black people.

Simple life moms: grow our own food, have backyard ch*ckens, feed our kids organic food, ban the kids from TV, make homemade Christmas gifts, decorate with nature, repurpose furniture and clothes, have a big clothesline, attachment parenting, purposeful living, etc.

Mompreneurs: the juggle of a home based business, getting the word out when you have a budget of nothing, prioritizing your kid time, never knowing when to stop working.

Green entrepreneurs: we patronize each other’s business, challenge each other to constantly lower our environmental footprint, act as conduits into the green community, never show up in glam clothes… The coolest thing is “I got it from the Thrift Shop!”

Environmental education academics: wring our hands at how our institutions consistently ignore us, feel alone in our own institutions, meet in foreign countries to speak at the same conferences, are completed supported by the students while our sanity is questioned by our peers.

International NGO organizer: run small organizations, never have enough time, write reports and am always dreaming up another campaign, travel more than migrating birds, know how to cross the world and work the next day despite jet lag, wring our hands at bureaucracy, have exciting passports, work from home. Sometimes can’t sleep because we want to more.

And some I have belonged to, or sit on the edges of:

Big game hunters: yes, I have shot, butchered big animals. But I never wore camo. I actually never tasted beef until I was 12. We just ate moose, elk, sheep, etc. I can still drive a quad, make sausage and wrap meat. (Now I mainly eat fish.)

Rotary: oh, so many traditions… from fining each other at meetings, to navigating matching grant applications, to fundraising for every community and international project possible. The four way test of ethics. Being part of the last serice organization in the world. I still help with special events, and go back to ask them for money for my charity!

Exchange students: one of those experiences that changes you forever… Living in another culture, making your way in a new family, learning a language on the fly, growing away from and growing back into your Canadian family. All of my closest friends have been on an exchange… No coincidence, I think. And to date, I’ve lived with 13 exchange students and 3 au pairs.

Wine professionals/ serious lovers: take advanced courses in tasting, know all sorts of stories about each wine region that most people don’t care about, love geography, base holidays around wine regions, go immediately to the “expensive” section of the wine shop and drop a lot of money without regret, spit and don’t swallow.

Those are just a few examples, but you get the idea. Tribes aren’t our census description… They are really who we are. They are who we hang with, online and in person, and what we are passionate about.

I’d love to hear about some of the tribes you belong to… And if you belong to some of the same tribes as I do, tell me more about our tribe!

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