By Becky Margiotta. Girl Friday Books, 2022. 272 pages. $24.95/hardcover; $9.99/eBook.
“Leadership is a full-body sport,” declares Becky Margiotta in Impact with Integrity: Repair the World without Breaking Yourself. Margiotta, cofounder of the Billions Institute, has trained thousands of people on how to design and lead large-scale social change initiatives to solve climate change, health and education disparities, and other injustices. She uses stories, advices, and queries to guide readers toward becoming healthy, effective change leaders by reclaiming body wisdom and emotional intelligence in the workplace.
You may find it surprising that a convinced Friend would review the work of a West Point graduate who served nine years as a U.S. Army officer in Special Operations and Special Missions units. My recommendation rises from sitting alongside Margiotta and her wife in expectant, waiting Quaker worship, blessed to be a witness as divine influence nudged her to condense decades of social activism experience into a 272-page guide for social change leaders.
How did this happen? God only knows, but Howard Brinton offers a clue to the transformative process. In Quaker Journals: Varieties of Religious Experiences Among Friends, he wrote: “Unification in silence happens during worship. The soul becomes more sensitive. New requirements may be laid upon the soul, and peace removed until that requirement is met.”
Friend Margiotta listened deeply, heard Spirit, and faithfully followed Love’s new leading.
This author writes conversationally:
On the bright side, my own experiences of marginalization around gender identity and sexual orientation have given me the superpower of being able to quickly sense when a person or environment feels safe (or not).
She unpacks big issues—drama, power, context, commitment—with warmth and humor: “Was that person rude to me because I’m gender nonconforming or holding hands with my wife, or are they just having a bad day?”
Friend Margiotta writes playfully: “What do you do when you’re feeling scared?” In chapter 6, “Feeling Your Feelings as an Act of Subversion,” she introduces “Blurt/Breathe/Move and Journal,” a practical exercise that works wonders in just six minutes. She also writes inspirationally: “I commit to contributing to repairing the world in a way that feeds my own aliveness and well-being,” and she invites us to follow suit:
Write [your commitments] out in your own handwriting with any friendly amendments you want to add. . . . How will you celebrate your new commitment? Make sure it’s something you can complete before the sun goes down today.
Best of all, she writes challengingly:
[I]n its essence, social change is about facing and changing implicit societal agreements, together, in solidarity. It is one of the most wildly creative and joyful things you could possibly do with your life. And it will challenge you to your core. My greatest hope is that this book will guide you in being able to reliably bring your whole and best self to making whatever dent in the universe you are determined to make.
Impact with Integrity ends with these words: “you in your wholeness . . . are ultimately what repairs the world. May we all thrive in answering the call. Onward!”
Judith Wright Favor is an octogenarian Friend who—like the Margiotta family—lives “on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded Indigenous land of the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples, in what is called by some Claremont, California.”