About Me: Karryn Olson-Ramanujan
I believe that permaculture, social justice, entrepreneurship and women's empowerment are all interconnected.
I believe in the power of regenerative entrepreneurship.
I am a regenepreneur.
If you landed on this page,
You too, are probably a regenepreneur.
More coming soon
Regenepreneurs know that “business as usual” has degenerated the interconnected webs of life—bringing them to the brink of collapse.
Regenepreneurs reject the degenerative, mechanistic paradigm of the industrial growth society.
Regenepreneurs believe that the economy is a subset of society, which is embedded in our life support system—our living planet, Gaia. We believe our livelihoods must be in service to the whole, to life.
Since an economy is a human construct, Regenepreneurs believe that, together, we can build an economy based on compassion and equity. We believe that our own ability to thrive should enhance everyone’s ability and capacity to thrive.
Regenepreneurs use systems thinking and ecological design to innovate solutions for urgent problems. There are few job openings or job descriptions for the work we do. So we are creating our own right livelihoods.
Regenepreneurs claim the tools of entrepreneurship to fast-track deeply ecological and socially just solutions—to regenerate ecosystems and communities. Instead of business models, we harvest the value of our work with “Abundance Models.”
Regenepreneurs go beyond myopic approaches that only consider financial capital, and invest in living, cultural, and other forms of capital. This helps us transcend purely economic considerations as we design for our own thriving livelihoods and for a surplus that we reinvest in regenerative solutions for us and future generations.
Regenepreneurs know that diverse ecosystems are more resilient and innovative, and that the same is true for human systems. We support the agency and leadership of those that have been historically marginalized.
Regenepreneurs respectfully recieve guidance from indigenous communities about how we come into right relationship so that the web of life may heal “Ki”-self.
Regenepreneurs reflect deeply on the dynamics of power and oppression, and hone the skills necessary to cultivate diverse teams—knowing that together, we will make better decisions, find new solutions, ensure more equitable outcomes, and improve our triple bottom lines.
Regenepreneurs explicitly support the leadership of people who identify as women, and people of color. We use our strength in service to Beloved Community.
Regenepreneurs revalorize the caring work and emotional labor of the CORE economy that grows thriving humans. We are birthing the WEconomy.
Regenepreneurs know that entrepreneurship is about embracing risk, and can be scary. It’s also a hard but fast path to personal growth.
Regenepreneurs cultivate support systems and embed ourselves in a community that is deeply reflective, connected to embodied wisdom, rooted in mentors and mutual support, and grounded in a deeply regenerative paradigm.
Regenepreneurs also hone our entrepreneurial and professional skills, so we can offer exceptional value to our clients (whom we consider Beloveds!) and thrive.
Regenepreneurs bring our whole beings to our work, so we honor time for self-care, personal growth, cultivating loving relationships, nature connection, connection to Source, recharge, fun, and inspiration as the reason for living—and design our entrepreneurial ecosystems accordingly.
As Regenepreneurs, we claim our power to co-create our regenerative future.
I am a coach for entrepreneurs who want to embed Earth Care, People Care, and Surplus Share into their business models.
My approach is based on permaculture.
Permaculture is a set of design solutions for the world’s urgent problems. But let's face it, folks who haven’t heard of it don’t wake up in the night thinking “I need permaculture!”
For permaculture to be truly effective, we need to break out of “permavangelizing” out of our blind allegiance to the term, and instead get really good at designing solutions that meet the needs of our communities and allow us to earn a sustainable living.
My approach adds the tools of entrepreneurship to your toolbox, so we can co-create our regenerative future.
Many of us in permaculture lack entrepreneurial skills because we understand the impact of “business as usual” and so have been “allergic” to learning the biz skills. I sure was. Heck, I got a Masters of Public Affairs (MPA), not an MBA, for a reason!
But after studying the Natural Step Framework for strategic sustainability planning in 2011, I realized that whole sectors will shift quickly towards greener and more socially just practices if we can speak their language. I realized that until now, permaculture has lacked a clear way to explain the business case for ecological design.
Around that same time, I was also starting my own permaculture design consulting business and understood too little about the business end.
Since then, I’ve trained in entrepreneurial leadership, and worked through an entrepreneur accelerator program where I studied and worked with the Business Model Generator canvas, and Lean Startup.
As a result, I tweaked my design work so that it combines coaching and consulting (to better serve my clients, who are women who either don't have time or money or life situations that enable them to do a PDC and they want to design their sites without getting overwhelmed doing it on their own).
My approach is eco-feminist.
In undergrad, a whole new way of understanding opened up for me as a women’s studies minor and a rape prevention educator. Later, when studying natural resource management and comparative/international affairs in my Masters, my research and papers focused on women and sustainable development.
Did you know that much of women’s work in Africa happens in the “informal economy” that’s not on the books, thus rendering their economic contributions invisible and skewing aid away from them to the “formal economy” (which can only exist, even in industrialized economies, because it is supported by the unpaid caring work done mostly by women?)
OR that most of the food that feeds families in Global Majority Nations is grown by women smallholders, who receive little aid, again because they are considered “too small” to support?
OR that agriculture is the most environmentally detrimental activity humans undertake?
Living and working in Ghana and India, I was always drawn to the daily realities and learning the wisdom of the women and farmers.
Vandana Shiva, who combines astronomical intellectual power with indigenous ways of knowing, became one of my sheroes. And Joanna Macy introduced me to Deep Ecology, the Great Turning, and the Work that Reconnects.
In 2005, I co-founded the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute, and have served as a lead teacher for PDCs, and Board President. I learned a LOT about permaculture and business models, and the challenges for women in this field (even if you have awesome supportive men on your team, like I do).
In my attempts to cobble together a living, I teach as an adjunct in the Environmental Studies and Sciences Dept. at Ithaca College. And I used to co-coordinate an annual professional development workshop on "Integrating Sustainability into the Curriculum" and taught an online course on a similar theme. And I lived for 14 years in Ecovillage at Ithaca, and I'm partnered (my husband's family is from India) and have two wonderful daughters. Like many women, I've had a super meandering path towards my livelihood!
In 2012, I co-organized the first Women in Permaculture Gathering in the Northeast, and have regularly attended these gatherings, and see firsthand the impact of folks who identify as women having their own spaces to connect bravely, and have space to show up audaciously.
In 2013, I interviewed several women about women’s leadership in permaculture, who faced similar challenges.
I subsequently wrote “A Pattern Language for Women in Permaculture” and attended the first North American Permaculture convergence to organize women's tracks, and subsequently compiled “Best Practices for Supporting Women’s Leadership in Permaculture.”
I'm dedicated to an intersectional approach to feminism. I work with anyone who identifies as a woman, all identities and expressions are welcome.
Because I’ve seen lots entrepreneurship programs focus “from the neck up,” and I know that women often struggle with "invisible structures", I started group programs where we learn the foundations of entrepreneurship and build our audacious leadership, and launched Regenepreneurs.
Here's what I'm working on:
In late Fall of 2017, I'll reopen my Pathfinder group program.
I teach folks how to design regenerative business models in an intensive course that I call Abundance Models.
If you need assistance before those programs start, I work 1:1 with folks, and you can connect me for a free strategy session, so we can see if my approach is a good fit for your needs.
If you need inspiration about how other women are figuring out their regenerative right livelihoods, join me as for the next interview in my Regenepreneurs Interview Series. It's not your usual interview, we focus specifically on how our guest figured out their niche, pricing, offerings, and marketing, to design their Abundance Model.
Here's how you can connect with me:
I send out emails, that are more like love letters. I write about why it can be hard to thrive in permaculture, especially as a woman, and emphasize the tools that help us thrive. I also cultivate our big audacious visions for the regenerative future we want to create. Use the sign up form below to receive those emails.
On social media, I have general Regenepreneurs page on Facebook. I also host a closed Facebook group for Regenepreneurs, where folks can share their challenges and their successes for mutual support. This is a great place to be heard around the various "-isms" that we deal with. I'm there at least once a day providing mentorship, and a few times a week I seed thought-provoking topics for us to hash on. I'm on Instagram @regenepreneurs.com
I'll look forward to connecting with you. Thank you for the good work you do in the world towards co-creating our regenerative future!