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The Newsletter | Edition 102
Progress Report is dedicated to providing inspiration for action. In this special takeover newsletter series, we highlight our team members and the ways in which they achieve progress in the day-to-day.



Senior Strategist


Richmond, VA


Woodbridge, VA

Hi, I’m Sheila. When I’m not planning my next trip, thrift, or comedy show to attend, I like to be outside in my garden, window shopping other people’s gardens, or running around Richmond.
What “progress” means to me:
A win-win for all.
True progress is about the greater good — it shouldn’t have winners and losers. It's about making sure that change benefits everyone involved for the long haul. That means looking out for not just ourselves as humans, but also the environment that'll feel the effects of our choices as we move forward.
Recent podcast that expanded my worldview:
Act Two from This American Life’s Greetings, People of Earth episode

Humanity needs a good humbling once in a while. In this short piece of fiction by Terry Bisson, two aliens who’ve been scouting Earth find it inconceivable that humans are made of meat. It’s a funny reminder of our limited perspective and what it may mean to be human beyond earth.

Alien 2: "That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."
Alien 1: "I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in the sector and they're made out of meat."
Idea I can’t get out of my head:
Survival of the Friendliest
In Human Kind, Rutger Bregman discusses Dmitri Belyaev's 20+ year experiment where he transformed foxes into dog-like creatures not by selecting for intelligence, but friendliness. The foxes not only became friendlier, but as a byproduct, they became more intelligent and underwent physical changes that made them cuter: curled tails, spotted coats, and more youthful faces. Dmitri theorized that a similar behavioral and physical transformation occurred in humans, suggesting that our survival is due primarily to our unique ability to form social connections.
Cool fact I learned this past week:
Dolphins get high on pufferfish.
My feed has been flooded with all kinds of spy animal TikToks over the few last days. In efforts to get never-before-seen animal behavior, they even put cameras in fake dung. I was intrigued to learn from a spy pufferfish that that dolphins will playfully pass around a terrified pufferfish, taking small doses of its deadly toxin, to induce a “trance-like state.”
Tactic I use when I need to make progress:
Call on community.

Whether it’s asking a friend to train for a marathon with me, or turning to family to get through a tough time, community can hold the knowledge, accountability, and sense of belonging to make all kinds of progress easier.
Current musical fixation:
Iconic accordionists

I purchased a diatonic accordion earlier this year using my SYLVAIN Culture & Learning budget, and I have been trying passively to learn La Del Moño Colorado, a classic Norteño song that many novice accordionists interested in Mexican regional music start with. Thanks to this new pastime, I’ve been relistening to iconic accordionists like Ramon Ayala (Snoop Dog’s a fan) and Ricky Muñoz from Intocable, and discovering new accordionists thanks to TikTok, like Irany Divad Martinez who recently joined Karol G on her tour and Tiny Desk Concert.
Movie that’s stuck with me:
If you love weird movies and shows (think Black Mirror) watch Vivarium. It explores the pressures of societal expectations, taking inspiration from the peculiar parenting practices of the cuckoo bird. I can’t share much more without spoiling it for you.

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