In the most recent episode of The Woodard Report podcast, I had the pleasure of speaking with Ingrid Edstrom, an amazing human, personal friend, and co-founder of the Accounting Alchemy Network (AAN). Our conversation centered on the innovative idea of using accounting as a tool for positive transformation.
In 2022, Ingrid, alongside Mathew Heggem, initiated AAN with a bold vision: to challenge and reshape the traditional narratives surrounding money, finance, and capitalism, which often lean towards extraction and exploitation. Ingrid poses a thought-provoking question to our community:
"Why not leverage our work to foster and drive the change we wish to see in the world?" -Ingrid Edstrom
Curious about AAN? Keep reading to delve into this transformative movement and the pivotal roles played by Ingrid and Mathew.
What is the Accounting Alchemy Network?
AAN stands as a decentralized leadership movement, inviting accountants to collaboratively rethink economic systems and business methodologies. Its foundation rests on five critical "pillars":
- 1. Humane governance
- 2. Our economic and money story
- 3. Personal and collective well-being (referred to as "WELLTH")
- 4. Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI)
- 5. Planet and climate
The partnership of AAN with the Pachamama Alliance further shapes its philosophy. This environmental non-profit offers the "Game Changer Intensive," an 8-week program exploring the intersection of climate and social justice. AAN members engage with this curriculum through an accounting lens, contemplating ways to pivot financial narratives toward regeneration instead of depletion. You can register for the next round of the Game Changer Intensive here. The program is free and open to all!
In its commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI), AAN launched a pioneering program last year to facilitate race-related discussions in a respectful and safe setting. Co-led by diversity educator Jina Etienne, the "Jedi Training" established a compassionate space using specific ground rules and code words. Plans for a second iteration of this program are underway.
How can you get involved?
AAN's upcoming events are accessible to everyone. These include a January mobilizer call encouraging members to lead new projects and a February forum with Kevin Bayuk, a key figure in the LIFT Economy and co-founder of the Next Economy MBA School. Register here.
AAN offers accountants a unique chance to align their professional endeavors with their personal values. Rather than separating their beliefs from their work, they can contribute to shaping an economy that nurtures both people and the planet.
Ingrid beautifully quotes Rev Deborah Johnson: “Pain pushes until vision pulls." AAN extends this vision, inviting accountants to be a force for justice.
Listen to the full podcast (and subscribe!)
To gain deeper insights into AAN's inspiring mission, listen to the full episode of The Woodard Report podcast. Don't forget to subscribe to The Woodard Report on your preferred podcast platform!