HomeVolume 7August 2022 Building authentic communities

EMILIE MOGENSEN attended STEVE MACADAM’s module as part of The Inner MBA, and she is deeply inspired by his way of building authentic communities. Steve is an MBA from Harvard, a Baker Scholar, and currently an independent director for Louisiana-Pacific Corporation and Valvoline Inc.

Although I have been on a sincere spiritual path for 29 years, I tend to be very impatient. When I feel inspired or see a need for change, I often find myself wanting to execute before thinking. This tendency led to extreme boredom at school, and it has stayed with me throughout life. At the same time, I believe it is what makes me move forward as an entrepreneur and in life. I am a “street achiever,” often rather fearless, with a strong drive. It serves me well most of the time, especially when my actions come from within, based on wisdom, or from knowledge inspired by great thinkers and entrepreneurs.

I share this to emphasize how much I appreciated Steve Macadam’s module at The Inner MBA immersion program. If I had to choose one module as the most useful take-away, it would be Steve’s on how to build authentic communities. I feel the future call for these authentic communities and synchronicities whispering to me, “This is true,” and hope to share why.

Steve has a very practical approach, and his messages resonate with the go-getter entrepreneur in me. His model has worked successfully at EnPro, where he was the CEO. I am not the right person to go into the corporate story of EnPro, a publicly-traded US company with 8,000 employees; what makes my heart sing is to investigate the essence of human beings – in this case, Steve Macadam.

Steve shares that building authentic communities is often based on the visions held by very passionate visionaries. They can be organizations, businesses, schools, or grassroots movements. It seems to be essential that someone holds the vision firmly in order for the communities to expand.

Steve’s model of building authentic communities is simple and based on 4 phases:

Phase 1, the pseudo community

Phase 2, the chaos community

Phase 3, the emptying phase

Phase 4, the authentic community

Before diving into this, let’s explore what is a community and what does it mean when something or someone is authentic.


To be “authentic” means to be
genuine and real. It’s about
alignment between what happens inside
and what is expressed outside.

“Community” refers to a group of people with shared interests, whether those interests are based on culture, spirituality, values, customs, or identity. Communities may share a geographical space, like a village or a church hall, or they may connect virtually, such as an online social network.

Characteristics of a community include friendship, support, growth, shared attitudes, interests and goals. Some communities form naturally, such as those in specific geographical locations, while others form consciously with a shared purpose and goal.

For example, a Heartfulness community is a gathering of people who wish to practice Heartfulness in a convenient and supportive space: a space where people can be themselves, meet with others, share experiences, and gain support and understanding. Essentially, a Heartfulness community provides the space for people to meditate together, share stories, and find love and support.

To be “authentic” means to be genuine and real. It’s about alignment between what happens inside and what is expressed outside. Authenticity helps us feel safe. We are more aware of what is going on, instead of having to second guess and use various strategies to get what we need.

I feel this is one of the most needed traits for humanity. It’s worth exploring how we can become better at being authentic together, at work, in spiritual communities, and elsewhere. In fact, I feel it is one of the missing links in our eagerness to co-create a more compassionate world.

The most powerful message from my conversation with Steve is that there can be no authentic community without conflict.

As someone engaged in a spiritual community, this can be difficult to embrace. I think many spiritual seekers tend to be pleasers by nature – we thrive in peace, and that is honorable!

But can we try to dive deeper, and cultivate communities that fill us with even deeper connection and meaning? Talking to Steve helped me to learn that we can speak our own truth from a place of sovereignty and dignity, while holding space for others, especially when we don’t agree with them.

We can speak our own truth
from a place of sovereignty and dignity,
while holding space for others,
especially when we don’t agree with them.

Next month, I will explore the four phases of the model Steve used at EnPro with remarkable results. EnPro is a multiple bottom lines company, placing equal value on people, planet, and profit, where the CEO reads fairytales to the workers, and everyone is allowed to express their inner truths. It comes from a very authentic place in my heart to share how Steve has inspired me to build and expand authentic communities. I hope it will inspire you too.


Steve Macadam and Emilie Mogensen

Steve Macadam and Emilie Mogensen

Emilie Mogensen

Emilie is Danish born with design and spirituality in her DNA. Besides being a designer, she holds an Inner MBA, a Masters in conscious business and entrepreneurship, from NYU. She is on a... Read More