The Coco Canary Newsletter – December 2020


The Coco Canary Monthly Newsletter

December 2020


Welcome to the Coco Canary Newsletter!

Hello from Molly O’Connor, the CEO and founder of Coco Canary Consulting, LLC (CCC), an evaluation & communications firm based in St. Paul, MN.

Our Mission is to use our expertise to inspire inclusion, support social justice, and promote anti-racism culture in all the work we do.

You may ask, how do social justice and racial equity relate to evaluation or communication? Well, from our experience, we have seen evaluation be designed, and communications reported in ways that harm, undervalue, and take advantage of the communities being served. This is our current status quo, and it is not okay. It has to change. This is why we do our work differently because we want to be apart of the solution, not the problem.

Please visit Community Centric Fundraising for more information. It is a new movement that has inspired thousands (including Coco Canary) to do better. For extra credit, visit Consulting With a Racial Equity Lens too.


Business Updates

[TONIGHT, 12/16 7 PM CENTRAL] Listen to my Business Pitch!

In the last couple of newsletters, I have mentioned that I have been a part of a 10-week business development cohort run by CO.STARTERS and hosted by The Coven. Well, TONIGHT is pitch night, and I want you to join us! Eight other amazing women and I will be sharing our stories, pitching our business ideas, and competing to win prizes. Each of us will get 3-minutes to pitch and then 2-minutes for Q&A. You can register here OR reply to this newsletter, and I’ll send you the Zoom link.

Let me briefly introduce you to these amazing women. All of which are based in the Twin Cities area.

Sweet Troo Vī Waffle

Meet Bobbi Jo and her wife Rebekkah. They co-own Sweet Troo Vī Waffle, a Liege waffle shop. Their mission is to Eat Deliciously. Love Freely. And with every transaction, a portion is donated to local causes in need. Follow them at @sweettroovi

Jamais Vu Photography

Meet Deja, the owner and lead photographer of Jamias Vu Photography. Their mission is to highlight your business and create a visual connection between you and your clients. To me, your legacy is more than just an image. It’s a feeling, a memory, and a conversation starter! Follow them at @dej_did_it.

Lucent Blue Events & Experiential

Meet Michaella, the founder and principal producer of Lucent Blue. They are nationally known for their event planning, and now due to COVID, they are trying something new. BEAM BOXES. With Beam Box, they invite you to brighten your day, and unwrap some sunshine. Follow them at @lucent.blue.events

Women Empowered

Chriselle is the owner of Women Empowered, an online clothing boutique that focuses on sustainable fashion for women. Every dollar earned at the company gets invested right back into their business to develop business programs for underprivileged young women. Follow them at @WomanEmpowered.us

West Point Auto

Carrie is the co-owner of West Point Auto, a soon-to-be brick-and-mortar car resale establishment in the West St. Paul, Area. They utilize their skills and connections to fix up auctioned cars for reasonable prices. Solid lady, great business! Keep an eye out for their business grand opening!

Anastasia Galka – Holistic Health Coach

Anastasia is an Integrative Holistic Health Coach, Yoga Instructor, Wellness educator & and mother of 3. Her mission is to Live With Joy. Live With Energy. Live With Purpose. And Live on your Terms. Follow them at @anastasiagalkahealthcoach 

Vermillion Ink Press

Meet Jordyn, the owner and founder of Vermillion Ink Press. Proudly BIPOC owned and operated, Vermillion Ink Press is a literary multimedia collective and independent book publisher of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from underrepresented voices. They seek to increase empathy, foster discussion, and cultivate community through the power of the written word. Follow them at @VermillionInkPress

She is Love: Locally Global

Meet Emily, the owner, and founder of She is Love: Locally Global. Their mission is to create a healthier global community by supporting local artisans and brands and Fair Trade businesses. We proudly feature Twin Engine Coffee, a Fair Trade specialty coffee grown and roasted in Nicaragua. Follow them at @sheislovemn

Lexington Writing Firm

Meet Grace, the owner and founder of Lexington Writing Firm. Her team creates humanizing content for healthcare organizations. Their innovative, equity-focused approach makes content that truly connects. Their mission is to change how healthcare content is imagined, strategized, and written.

Other Business Updates

My 3-minutes of fame. I was on Minnesota Public Radio!

MPR had a news special called Starting a new business during the pandemic. I called in to share my story and was interviewed by Chris Farrel. You can listen to my brief snippet at this link. Fast forward to 36 minutes and 20 seconds for my bit. I’d recommend listening to the whole episode too!

I co-presented at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Annual Conference with AR Lopez Consulting, and we got glowing reviews!

In my last newsletter, I announced that my colleague, AR Lopez, and I were presenting at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Annual Conference. Our session was called “Centering Community: A Radical Discussion for Nonprofit Change.” Well, I am happy to report that our session went VERY well! We received some great feedback, and everyone left the meeting wanting to discuss more. Which, I always feel like is a good sign. Thanks to all who joined our session AND to those who joined my newsletter after attending!


Personal Updates

1. Why It Is Important to Ask People You Don’t Know To Give Money To Racial Justice Causes

Here’s a funny story. Every year, I participate in Reddit’s worldwide Secret Santa. If you didn’t know, Reddit’s Secret Santa is the most attended Secret Santa (SS) in the world, even breaking a Guinness Book World Record. When you sign up, you write a bit about yourself, and then you give your SS some gift ideas. For example, I told them I was interested in trying new spices, coffee, or cooperative board games. Also, I said to them that they could donate to a local racial justice cause.

Well, my Secret Santa did something very special. I got matched with someone who lives in India but lives part-time in Washington, DC. They sent me a message last week saying that their gift wouldn’t arrive until after the holidays. They then sent me an image of a donation they made to a nonprofit called Girls for Change. And they donated $1000!

Isn’t that amazing?? Lesson learned: Ask strangers if they’d consider donating to racial justice causes. The worst they can say is no or ignore the request. The best-case scenario is that they say yes and donate!


Let’s Stay Connected!

To keep up to date with my business news, connect or follow me on Linkedin. Don’t forget to follow my blog, as well! And, of course, if you know of anyone who may benefit from my services, send them my way. Referrals are always welcome!

Be well and Happy Holidays,

Molly O’Connor (she/her/hers)

CEO – Evaluation & Communications Specialist
direct: (612) 868-0364
email: cococanaryconsulting@gmail.com
website: https://cococanaryconsulting.com/


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The Coco Canary Newsletter – November 2020


The Coco Canary Monthly Newsletter

November 2020


Welcome to the Coco Canary Newsletter!

Hello from Molly O’Connor, the CEO and founder of Coco Canary Consulting, LLC (CCC), an evaluation & communications firm based in St. Paul, MN.

Our Mission is to use our expertise to inspire inclusion, support social justice, and promote anti-racism culture.

You may ask, how do social justice and racial equity relate to evaluation or communication? Well, from our experience, we have seen evaluation be designed, and communications reported in ways that harm, undervalue, and take advantage of the communities being served. This is our current status quo, and it is not okay. It has to change. This is why we do our work differently because we want to be apart of the solution, not the problem.

Please visit Community Centric Fundraising for more information. It is a new movement that has inspired thousands (including Coco Canary) to do better. For extra credit, visit Consulting With a Racial Equity Lens too.


The theme for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits conference this year is Persistence though (R)EVOLUTION

Business Updates

1. Co-Presenting at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Conference with Anna Rebecca Lopez

I am excited to announce that my colleague, Anna Rebecca (“AR”) Lopez (she/they), and I are presenting at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ (MCN) annual conference. Our session is titled: “Centering Community: A Radical Discussion for Nonprofit Change.” The theme for this year is titled Persistence through (R)EVOLUTION. When I saw the call for proposals, I immediately thought to contact the Community Centric Fundraising’s lead evaluator, AR. This is because we had talked over the phone a few weeks prior about our shared frustration with museum and nonprofit culture and how it needs to change. I pitched the idea of hosting a session promoting CCF and offering a space for radical discussion about donor-centric and community-centric culture using a race by caucus format. In the end, AR thought it was a great idea, and the rest is history.

Anna Rebecca (AR) Lopez and Molly telling MCN conference judges why their session should be chosen for their annual conference

Our conference session is titled: Centering Community: A Radical Discussion for Nonprofit Change. If you are planning to attend MCN’s conference, make sure to register for our event. It is scheduled for Thursday, December 10th, at 8:30 am. See below for a summary of what we will be talking about. We hope to see you there!

“Many nonprofit professionals are grappling with the sector’s white-dominant culture problem. People want someone to tell them what to do to fix it, but there isn’t one clear solution. The only way to truly create change is to tear down our current system and rebuild it using a framework based on social justice, equity, and community centrism. We think using Community-Centric Fundraising’s (CCF) 10 principles is a key step to this process. Why now? CCF changed our work for the better (we’re not even fundraisers, we’re evaluators!). We want others to know about this movement and to get inspired. We also recognize people are craving discussion, which is why we want to offer a safe space for radical conversations using the Caucus By Race format (separate breakout rooms for white folx, Black folx, etc.). This format provides spaces where BIPOC participants can converse without the white gaze.”


CO.STARTERS & The Coven is hosting a pitch night on Wednesday, December 16th at 7:00 pm and you’re invited! 

2. Come Watch Me Share My Business Story!

In my last newsletter, I mentioned that I am a part of a 10-week business development cohort run by CO.STARTERS and hosted by The Coven. I’ve had the fortune to hive-mind with nine other amazing women many have become dear friends and colleagues. 

Please join me on Wednesday, December 16th, 2020, at 7:00 pm for our pitch night. I, as well as my cohort, will spend 3-minutes sharing our business story, and then we will have a few minutes for Q&A with each business owner. You can register here. Feel free to send it along to people who may be interested.

If you can’t make it, look to my next newsletter for spotlights of these nine strong, independent female entrepreneurs!

3. Other Updates

The Remember Project Dementia Awareness Tour is in full swing!

If you have been following me for a while, you’ll remember that I am the evaluator for an aging-in-place initiative called The Remember Project. We are just finishing up our first cycle, and I am excited to report that our virtual programming (which was initially meant to be in person) is going well!

If you want to learn more about this project, watch the video I helped make. You can find it here!. If you are interested in partnering, sponsoring, or donating to help us build a more dementia-capable Minnesota, please visit our website, or you can contact me at moconnor@rememberproject.org! I’ll connect you with the right people. 🙂

New Trainings Incoming From Rebecca Schueller Training & Consulting!

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and collaborating with Becky Schueller, a seasoned nonprofit professional who deeply cares about building capacity and equity within her community. She is an excellent facilitator and thought partner, and I highly recommend checking out her website for her upcoming trainings! They are engaging, useful, and affordable. 

December 2020:

Conflict Management & Communication Skills Webinar

Grant Writing Readiness: Building Your Team’s Capacity – Online Webinar Series

January 2021

“Managing Up:” Strategies for Direct Service & Administrative Support Staff

Supervision & Performance Appraisals Skills to Support Effective Teams

I didn’t get the MNEA Communications Board position, BUT other opportunities to come!

If you recall from my previous newsletter, I was on the ballot for the Communications Co-Board Chair. I ended up not winning the election, but the women who did will be fantastic for the MNEA team. There is a possibility I will be brought on to the MNEA team in another role. I will keep you all posted!


Personal Updates

1. Thanks-giving or Thanks-taking?

Tomorrow is the federal holiday, Thanksgiving. For the past few years, I have reflected on how to enjoy food and company while also recognizing the deep-rooted pain, loss, and injustice done to Indigenous people around this time of year. And, let’s be real, all year round. It is a constant uphill battle they are still fighting to this day! I’ve heard the term “Thanks-taking” within my social justice circles, and I’ve come to like the term.

Social justice friends and indigenous organizers have recommended that people support indigenous efforts by buying from Native-led businesses or donating to Native-led causes.

Please take a moment to reflect on our dark history around Thanksgiving and consider giving back in whatever way you can. Either it by buying, donating, or following (and then promoting!) indigenous causes via your social media. I’ll list a handful of Minnesota organizations that are native-led or support indigenous causes. Check them out!

Birch the dog is sending his cute puppy cuddles your way!

Let’s Stay Connected!

To keep up to date with my business news, connect or follow me on Linkedin. Don’t forget to follow my blog, as well! And, of course, if you know of anyone who may benefit from my services, send them my way. Referrals are always welcome!

Be well and all the best,

Molly O’Connor (she/her/hers)

CEO – Evaluation & Communications Specialist
direct: (612) 868-0364
email: cococanaryconsulting@gmail.com
website: https://cococanaryconsulting.com/


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Upcoming Events and Moderating Webinars!

Upcoming Events and Moderating Webinars!

Hello everyone,

This post will share a couple updates about some new services I offer and a virtual event that you should try to attend (I’m biased because I am moderating it). Oh, and if you hadn’t heard, I am officially a published researcher–hooray! If you want to read more about that, visit this page.

New Services from Coco Canary

It has finally happened. I have jumped on the webinar train and am now a bonafide Zoom webinar moderator. For my most recent project, I set-up the Eventbrite page, organized the email automation, and did the behind-the-scenes tech work for the Zoom event. I also can moderate the event, which means I introduce the facilitator, problem solve technical hurdles, and sort through the questions that come through. It is crucial for any successful webinar to have at least one person behind the scenes. I know because I have been the facilitator of a webinar gone wrong and I had wished that I had someone with me to problem solve.

If you are interested in learning more about the process or would like to hire me to do it for you, then let’s connect!

We’re in a Crisis: Learn How To Talk About It With Your Employees – *FREE WEBINAR*

Thursday, June 18th, 2020 – 10 AM Central

Heather Heefner, communication expert and couch, of Dart Studio will share her expertise about crisis communication. She will be focusing on how leaders need to be using empathy and authority to build trust within their organizations. I will be moderating the event. If you are interested in learning more about this event or if you want to register, please click the link below. It will take you to the Eventbrite page.

Click here to learn more or to register

We hope to see you there!

Until next time,

-Molly O’Connor

CEO | Evaluation & Communications Specialist
Coco Canary Consulting, LLC

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