our brand transition

A Letter from our Executive Director

Becoming THE INNERWORK CENTER with a “Junkyard Jam” led by Dr. Ram Bhagat and his son, Shyamuu Bhagat. May 2, 2019.


May 2, 2019


Dear friend,

Joan Garrabrandt, poet and longtime friend of ours, wrote:

But we do know how essential
The chrysalis is,
This place that holds
Gentle and firm
For the mystery to play out
As we get our wings.

On the momentous occasion of our 25th birthday, we bring you the historic announcement of our new name (!!!). Some of you may be thinking, “oh my gosh - but I love the name Chrysalis!” And let me assure you - we do, too!

However, the Board of Chrysalis set the intention to become a wide-reaching, high-impact nonprofit organization. Part of that transition involved moving from an all-volunteer organization to a staff-driven one, increasing the number of programs we offer, our reach, our partners, and our budget. All along the way, we asked ourselves some hard questions about our intention for this little organization. It became very clear that while Chrysalis is a beautiful and poetic name, not a lot of people actually know what a chrysalis is. Or how to say it. Or how to spell it. Or that it serves as a metaphor for personal transformation. So it became very obvious to us that if we wanted more Richmonders to have an opportunity to do their inner work with us, if we wanted to provide more access, then we would have to pursue more clarity in our language - including our name.

In 2018, Elaine Kiziah helped us run a wildly successful crowdfunding campaign to renovate our new space. Based on language she knew was important to our founder and integral to our work, she named our campaign Richmond’s New Home for Inner Work. Then we had the incredible fortune of hiring Elizabeth Smartt, a former corporate naming professional, as our Brand Storyteller. Elizabeth carefully and leaderfully engaged Board, Faculty and Staff through a comprehensive branding process, embracing THE INNERWORK CENTER as our new name.

I know you all have experienced many changes in your lives. Change, as they say, is the only constant in life. While change may be difficult and uncomfortable, it’s also a critical element of transformation and evolving.

In the words of our founder Nancy Millner,

Chrysalis time is a time of change. It is a vulnerable time. It is a sacred time. It occurs when we reflect on the meaning of our life stories and the Greater Story of which we are all a part. It is a time when we may discover what it means to form and live a meaningful, creative, compassionate life in the everyday world - to give birth to action, grounded in our own true self. Chrysalis has been and always will be committed to providing opportunity and hospitable time and space for this process.

In closing, I offer a few thoughts for us to hold…

  • May we — together — be a catalyst for well-being in RVA.

  • May we reach people who are thirsty for this work.

  • May we awaken into our mission to inspire curiosity, cultivate mindfulness and awaken the spirit.

  • May we find abundance.

  • May we all live with compassion, authenticity, and meaning.

  • May we create, together, a wiser, and more compassionate RVA.


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Rachel Douglas, Executive Director