When I decided to start my own business, one of the first things I thought about was what to call it. After all, it would be the first thing that potential clients would see and identify with, so it would have to be something meaningful. I gave a lot of thought to it, elicited help from my two children, brainstormed, researched and still could not come up with anything I felt resonated with me.
In sheer desperation one night, I meditated on receiving the perfect name for my new consulting business. I fell asleep not quite knowing what to expect, if anything. That night was no different from any other night — I had a peaceful, restful sleep. But when I awoke the next morning, a word was there!!!
That word was Foxfire. Hmmm, I thought, Foxfire. I liked the sound of it, but wondered what it meant and how it would apply to what I was offering my clients. Excited, I jumped out of bed and began my research — research that led me on a journey of discovery.
Googling my newly discovered business name, the initial results surprised me. Foxfire, it seems, describes a type of special fungi that grows…and actually glows, in the Appalachian Mountains! Could Foxfire be described as “lighting your pathway to change”? I continued my research and came across another discovery.
Foxfire was also a 1996 film based on the Joyce Carol Oates novel Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang. It covers the coming of age of four high school girls who meet up with a mysterious drifter. As it turns out, the gang’s symbol was a red flame! But could entice me to link my business name to this girl gang? The search continued…
Just as I was beginning to feel a bit doubtful, I found it! The real reason that I knew Foxfire was it. It resonated with me immediately!
In 1966, there was a high school teacher in Rabun County, Georgia, named Eliot Wigginton, who tried to teach his students good English skills. After a lot of frustration…and not much progress, Wigginton approached the students, themselves, and asked them to tell him how they’d like to learn. Together, they decided to create a student-produced magazine from the students going out into the community interviewing Appalachian homesteaders about how they lived and survived over generations.
The magazine was named after the fungi in the area – Foxfire. The magazine was a huge success and eventually expanded into a series of books that were nationally recognized because of their candid portraits of these Appalachians and the success the program had with teaching students.
Foxfire became an educational philosophy and continues to train educators in its methods, which begins with the realization that students must construct meaning for themselves, rather than memorizing information a teacher feels is important. By constructing their own meaning, establishing relationships, and seeing the connection of what they do in the classroom to “the real world,” students learn a lot better.
I take this philosophy to heart in terms of working with businesses and organizations, and the employees they lead. When employees are informed, involved and engaged in change, they feel more connected and empowered, and that leads to greater acceptance. This collaborative approach has worked to drive real progress and successful, sustainable change by using its inclusive philosophy early on in projects and decisions that impact people. And believe it or not, more than 45 years later, students at that high school in Rabun County are still going strong publishing Foxfire magazine!
So there it is — the reason I believe I chose the perfect name — Foxfire Consulting. And, no, contrary to what some have thought, it has nothing to do with “Foxy”, although I must admit, I have been a bit surprised…and flattered by the thought.
Foxfire Consulting helps people feel good about change so the best change can happen. Whether is transition coaching or change management advisory services, we provide the tools and strategies needed to make transitions more quickly, smoothly, and with greater meaning so they become long lasting and sustainable. We also offer workshops in managing the people side of change for leadership development, project managers, managers/supervisors, and employees.