20 Apr Strategic Director Randy Morse Talks Virtual Sentinel
Randy Morse providesThe Sentinel with communications and strategic advice. He’s excited to announce the debut of The Virtual Sentinel, a one-stop-shop for all of your favourite Sentinel courses, classes, workshops and products. We talked about what the impact that moving The Sentinel community online will have on our future endeavours, and how this shift will create more accessibility and transformation worldwide.
By Lina Konovalov
Lina: Hi Randy. To begin, can you tell us a little bit more about your role at the Sentinel?
Randy: Hi Lina, sure. I am the person who is leading the charge when it comes to communications. I also work with the founders and general manager to develop strategic initiatives for The Sentinel.
Lina: I’ve learned working here that we have to be very adaptable to our environment. That said, COVID definitely rocked our world here. How would you describe how the pandemic has affected the Sentinel?
Randy: Well initially, like with so many other organizations, it affected us massively. We were forced to completely shut down for months. Then, as restrictions gradually eased, in a very careful way we were able to slightly open our doors again to very small numbers of people, maintaining strict COVID protocols. That had an obvious impact on The Sentinel’s operations in terms of the business, but also caused us to think about the future and our ability to reach folks who were not able to physically come and attend courses and retreats here in Kaslo.
Lina: In order to survive, we’ve had to learn to be adaptable, and I think that is true for many businesses, especially in the travel and wellness industries. So, this is a very logical next step forward for the Sentinel. Can you tell me a little bit more about The Virtual Sentinel?
Randy: Yes, you’re absolutely right. As we look out into this brave new world, post-Covid, we can all agree we’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We asked ourselves a simple question, and that is, if in the future we’re going to have to continue being very restrictive in terms of actual numbers of people on site – how can we continue to operate in the future? That led to thinking around this concept of the Virtual Sentinel. At the heart of it is a cloud-based platform on our website, allowing many of the incredibly talented and gifted people who in the past have held live sessions, to share their wisdom, and in some cases their products, with people around the world – who perhaps even in pre-Covid times would never have had the opportunity to come and visit us. I guess I would say that in that sense, COVID has had a very positive impact on us, because it’s really inspired us to move aggressively to establish Version 1.0 of the Virtual Sentinel.
Lina: As difficult and painful the pandemic has been, a lot of good did come out of it. We really could look at our business model and tease out what it is that we really want to give people no matter what. I guess that is the mission of the Virtual Sentinel, to distill down the core knowledge we want to impart on the Sentinel Community. That said, who are some of the early Virtual Sentinel contributors, and what are their products and offerings?
Randy: You will be able to take an amazing, literally mind-blowing, 10-lesson course on quantum exploration of mind, language and reality led by Justin Robinson. This guy is amazing, and this course is going to be mind-boggling. Then, we have a 5-part video series by experienced Somatic Movement educator Kim Novotny for people who go through their lives plagued by aches and pains to discover a gentle and effective way of dealing with that. We’ve got a series of amazing organic skincare products coming from Red Fox Botanicals on Vancouver Island. This stuff is absolutely amazing! We’ve tried it, and our folks are just raving about it. We’ve got a series of limited edition original photos exclusively for The Sentinel by Czech-Canadian photographer Jan Novotny, called ‘Mandala Natura’. These are astonishingly beautiful photos, all of them taken in nature. It’s not nature photography like you’ve ever seen before. There are 12 photos in this series, 5 examples each, signed and numbered by Jan Novotny. When the 5th one is gone, it’s gone forever. For those readers who love dogs, are interested in saving dogs, and are interested in doing a downward dog correctly, we have the perfect opportunity for them. They can make a donation and access an exclusive 5-part video series, beautifully shot at the Sentinel and on Kootenay lake, by none other than the team behind Boho Beautiful. Boho Beautiful, aka Marc and Juliana, have almost 2 million YouTube subscribers on their yoga video channel. Looking forward, we are looking at e-books, more classes, live streaming events, and webinar series with amazingly creative people from all over the world.
Lina: What a diverse array of amazing contributors! It seems that the unifying feature behind all of these offerings is that they are designed to help us realize our full potential, as per The Sentinel’s mission statement.
Randy: That is exactly right, they are all about personal and global transformation.
Lina: Is the Sentinel is planning to release any of its own original content? If so, how would you describe the themes and topics that will be covered?
Randy: The answer I’m happy to report is an emphatic yes indeed. We are in fact, thanks to some generous support from the BC government, in the process of bringing in absolutely top-end AV software, and video and audio recording hardware. That will allow us to create a studio on site, and we are going to be able to start producing our own content. That content will include video series shot on location here at the Sentinel. It will allow us to stream video events live, produce live audio streaming events, as well as podcasts. In terms of actual subjects and content, we’re still working on that. You can tell by those references I gave for products and services that are going to be available right away through the Virtual Sentinel, that we work with some of the brightest, most thoughtful and inspirational people in the world. Those are the people who we’re going to be featuring as we produce our own Sentinel branded content. We feel that if we look out five years from now, a majority of our programming, and therefore a majority of the impact we’re going to have on folks around the world, is going to happen through our own original programming. Luckily enough, because we’re located in this extraordinarily talented little corner of the world, we’re absolutely crawling with creative talented people. We’re going to be able to tap into that pool of talent. I see over the next 5 years Kaslo, with the Sentinel playing a very pivotal role, becoming a really comuni-cultural hub for the creation of this kind of content, that has at its very core, the intent to help humanity transform itself for the better.
Lina: What a blessing to be here from the start of it all, and just to be able to bear witness to The Sentinel’s virtual growth. This ties into my last point, which is what the entirety of the Sentinel’s growth means. I’ve heard rumours about the Sentinel 2.0. What is the Sentinel 2.0? How does the Virtual Sentinel tie into that?
Randy: The Sentinel 2.0 is the overarching strategic vision that is guiding the next 5-10 years of the Sentinel’s evolution. At its core is a very thoughtful and careful build-out of the campus. So, we know we need a place to have a studio for all of that AV equipment. We’re going to make a co-lab where original digital productions can be produced. We want to make it possible for the creatives and the very limited number of guests who we can host on site to be as comfortable as possible. So, we’re looking at adding some rooms to the site to accommodate that. In addition to that, there is going to be an aspect to the Virtual Sentinel that is going to be a place where people can gather and have discussions on transformative topics in a safe, protected, and respectful way. We are piloting some software right now that is going to allow us to do that in our area. At the end of the day, the conversations, the learnings, the explorations, and the discoveries that a handful of people are able to enjoy and experience on site, are going to be shared with an unlimited number of people around the world. It’s going to be about building community, so that Sentinel 2.0 and Virtual Sentinel combined will allow that Sentinel community to be truly global. It’s very cool and I’m very excited about the future.
Lina: I’m very excited too – these are some big dreams that are sure to make some profound changes globally. If anyone can execute it, it’s the Sentinel. I have full faith in you and the rest of the team in making this happen. I’m very grateful to be a part of that. Thank you for your time Randy!
Randy: I enjoyed the conversation, take care.