All posts by Jeremie Miller

ILF Rebrand: Getting Through the Bad Names

A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet…

…unless that name is “Brella”

ILF renaming process rejects BRELLA

Ok, maybe I am jumping too far ahead in the telling of this part of the story. Maybe I am just making sure not to bury the lead. You can decide.

The short version of this post is: the first naming presentation with Rethink didn’t go very well.

The creative process isn’t easy (in fact it is HARD). Rethink, the agency helping us through the rebrand process, was a brave agency for taking on the challenge of renaming Indrani’s Light Foundation. They were tasked with dreaming up names that weren’t quite right, names that didn’t fit, and names that kind of, well, stunk.

Getting through the bad names was all part of the steps we needed to take on the journey to the good names, and Rethink did an amazing job of being patient, managing our emotions, taking our critiques, and continuing to move forward. 

A big thank you to Rethink for helping us through this process and discovering our new name.

Rethink broke the names up into themes, which we loved. The themes they identified were a great match for Indrani’s Light Foundation. So, let’s take a look at some of the names organized by theme (with a bit of commentary on each name):

Light and Positivity

From Rethink: Light as a theme is an excellent metaphor for the positivity and resilience required to be a domestic violence advocate. These names represent a guiding light for these people:

Everlight: Felt a bit too cultish, like maybe we would come to the training wearing robes.

Project Daylight: We didn’t feel like “Daylight” was very clear, but we did like the use of the word “Project.”

Project Lighthouse: we were worried this felt a bit religious, and we support advocates regardless of affiliation.

ILF renaming process rejects PROJECT LIGHTHOUSE


From Rethink: This theme is about restoring balance – convincing advocates to take a little bit back for themselves after all they’ve given to others.

Libri: From “Equilibrium.” This one made us think, and some of the team didn’t mind it, but it didn’t make our brand much clearer than “Indani’s Light”.

Project Balance: We liked the “Project,” but we don’t really feel like balance is something any of us can obtain. Harmony between work and life, maybe, but not balance.


From Rethink: This theme represents the wisdom of accepting help. It’s about dispersing the pressure in a way that makes advocates stronger, and in turn better able to help others.

Project Triangle: Triangles…triangulation…not the greatest shape in social work type situations.

ILF renaming process rejects PROJECT TRIANGLE

Kolmio or Silta: Finnish words for triangle and bridge. We didn’t feel using Finnish words would feel inclusive to our target audience.

Olev: An alternate spelling for “olive.” As in “Olev the other reindeer.” Nope.


From Rethink: This theme represents the inner strength and pragmatic defences the program provides to domestic violence advocates.

Brella: From “umbrella,” this name resulted in the most amazing facial and verbal expression from Indrani. When anyone on the team makes a confused or disgusted face we now call it “Brella Face” (so we kept this name…sort of).

Elo: Malagasy for “umbrella”, also Electric Light Orchestra, so, no. Also it didn’t feel right to appropriate another language’s word to which we have no connection or history.

Shelter Shield: The name of a condom company…maybe. A new name for ILF…NO! 

A lot of “NO!” names…so now what?

The team loved the different themes but the names were all just wrong. No one on the team could imagine introducing ourselves and saying that we worked for any of these new names. The team left the meeting feeling confused and unsure if renaming ILF was even a good idea.

Luckily, Rethink assured us these feelings were normal, bad names were part of the process, and their team, with the feedback, could head in new directions. We scheduled a second renaming meeting, and gave Rethink some time to get creative.

H.A.A.A? How About An Acronym?

The second meeting arrived and Rethink presented 10 more names, including the possibility of sticking with Indrani’s Light (and dropping the “Foundation”). However, there was no need to share 10 names, because after they had shared the very first name with the team, we were positive they had nailed it.

From Rethink’s presentation: “Renaming ILF is an opportunity to bring clarity to the organization’s purpose upfront. An acronym can help us clarify the lofty mission of ILF without adding too many words to the name. If you’re in the water, sometimes the water gets rough, and even the best swimmers among us need something to hold onto.”

And so ILF became: RAFT – Resilience for Advocates through Foundational Training

Visit our new landing page:

Advocates are dedicated to their jobs, they are passionate about their jobs, and they are good at their jobs. But all of this, like rough water, can fall apart when compassion fatigue and burnout take control. The training we provide at Indrani’s Light Foundation (RAFT) is something advocates can hold onto when things get rough, and pull themselves out of the rough water and back onto something more solid.

This name, we think, is clear, evokes emotions, is benefit driven, and matches the tone of how our team wants to be seen by the advocates we support.

What do you think of the new name? Let us know in the comments.

This is Part 6 of our rebrand story. Read previous articles about our rebrand below:

Part 1 Rebranding ILF: A Story of Change
Part 2 Our Brand’s Highs and Lows
Part 3 A Solidified Brand Profile
Part 4 Playing in the Visual Sandbox
Part 5 Naming is HARD

ILF Rebrand: Naming is HARD

Type “baby name books” into Amazon and you get over 10,000 results.

Baby name books on Amazon help us realize that naming is hard.

Type “baby names” into Google and you get 1,460,000,000 results in 0.65 seconds. Let’s take a moment to think about how crazy it is that Google can do that.

Naming a baby, a business, or in this case a nonprofit is hard.

Actually, after going through the process, let’s capitalize that:

Naming is HARD.

This capital letter HARDNESS of finding a new name for Indrani’s Light Foundation became even more challenging when we realized how emotional, especially for Indrani, the renaming process was going to be.

Indrani’s Light Foundation has had its name for 12 years, so deciding to change that name brought up a lot for Indrani. The team wants to honor and show deep gratitude for Indrani and her willingness to go through this process.

So, before we share a blog post about the actual renaming process (and some the of names we went through….there are a few doozies), we want to share this video of Indrani talking about the renaming process. Below she shares some examples of why this new name is such a great fit for the work we do at Indrani’s Light Foundation.

So yes, our new name is RAFT, Resilience for Advocates through Foundational Training. We all know what resilience means: the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. The foundational part is the stuff we teach, like the following:

  • How to set and keep a boundary. Brené Brown defines boundaries in her book Rising Strong as “simply our lists of what’s okay and what’s not okay.” Once we know how to set a boundary, then we have to set boundaries with everybody, especially the people who love us and the people we love.
  • How to say “no.” Many of us were taught to say “yes” to everything, even the things that aren’t good for us. Saying “no” brings freedom and joy.

This is Part 5 of our rebrand story. Read previous articles about our rebrand below:

Part 1 Rebranding ILF: A Story of Change
Part 2 Our Brand’s Highs and Lows
Part 3 A Solidified Brand Profile
Part 4 Playing in the Visual Sandbox

ILF Rebrand: Playing in the Visual Sandbox

This is Part 4 of our Rebrand Story
Part 1 Rebranding ILF: A Story of Change
Part 2 Our Brand’s Highs and Lows
Part 3 A Solidified Brand Profile

With the stakeholder interviews and brand profile complete, our team was getting in the groove. We were actively ticking off the checkboxes of the rebranding process with the help of Rethink (the company helping us through the rebrand process).

Next up, Rethink presented us with what they call “visual sandboxes.” This process involved …

Wait a second. This step was all about the images, colors, and design that would inspire the new ILF look, so let’s not make this post overcomplicated with a bunch of words. 

Instead, let’s jump into the sandboxes we liked, the ones we didn’t, and the ones that made us go “hmmmm.”

The Sandboxes We Wanted to Play In

ILF Sandbox 1

We loved the multiple colors, the simplicity of the name, and how the pattern separated onto different elements translated into a single image.

ILF Sandbox 2

We liked the, well, blockiness of this one, the multiple colors, and the way the font also matched the blocky theme.

ILF Sandbox 3

We liked the contrast of the stronger blue color with the softer pink color. We liked the rounded “R.” We also realized that given this, the previous blocky example might be too blocky. 

The Sandboxes That Were More Like Kitty Litter Than Sandboxes

ILF Sandbox 4

We actually liked the darker green in this one, but everything else was too soft and reminded us a bit of 80’s pastels.

ILF Sandbox 5

We felt this was too confusing and hard to read. Plus, we wanted some color in our brand.

ILF Sandbox 6

While it’s true that our team wants to move towards more evidence-based practices, this felt waaaaaay to clinical and scientific to represent our work.

The Sandboxes That Made Us Ask, “What’s Happening Here?”

Working with a big team of creatives at Rethink definitely has been interesting at times. Rethink always gave us a wide range of ideas and visuals to process. These design inspirations were …. well, you decide.

ILF Sandbox 8
ILF Sandbox 8

After the presentation and our feedback, Rethink sent off our chosen visual inspiration to their creative department to start working on the colors and visuals that would represent Indrani’s Light Foundation for 2019 and beyond.

Except there was one twist in the plan before we could move forward:

We decided to explore changing our name.

Wait, what?!

Get ready for the next post in our rebranding story. It will be filled with misfires, emotion, panic, blocks, and eventually a brand new name for Indrani’s Light Foundation.

ILF Rebrand: A Solidified Brand Profile

This is Part 3 of our Rebrand Story.
Part 1 Rebranding ILF: A Story of Change
Part 2 Our Brand’s Highs and Lows

With information from our team, the stakeholder interviews, and all the material on the current website, Rethink (the company helping us through the rebrand process) took the next step by building and presenting a Brand Profile to the ILF Team. 

Our Driving Insight Sums Up the ILF Mission

Everyone on the ILF team experienced a shiver down our spines when Rethink presented “ILF’s Driving Insight” for the new brand:

Advocate well-being is the crumbling infrastructure that holds up sexual and domestic violence organizations across North America.

This broken bridge represents the crumbling infrastructure that holds up sexual and domestic violence organizations across North America

Our team has struggled to explain clearly and simply why our work is important. And now, here it was, right in front of us, written in a way we never would have discovered on our own.

This one sentence felt like a complete reset in how we could talk about the importance of ILF’s work. Our team doesn’t only help with self-care. We don’t only teach boundary and communication skills.

Our Mission Supports DV Advocates

Our mission is to find ways to strengthen the advocate infrastructure that supports the survivors of sexual and domestic violence so they can rebuild and return to better lives.

With this amazing insight to kick off the Rethink presentation, the ILF Team felt like we were seeing our work again for the first time. But Rethink had more for us, and continued to share the new brand profile.

Our Brand Profile Supports the ILF Message

Wait, what is a brand profile?

A brand profile, we learned, is the foundation that our brand is built upon. This brand profile serves as guide for the creation of everything — from the colors on our website to the language used to express what we do.

Without going through the whole process and presentation, here are some of the highlights from our shiny new brand profile document:

ILF Brand Foundations

Care workers are selfless agents of change who are obsessed with helping others. “Maintainers” are the unsung heroes of society. ILF is unique in providing comprehensive, practical self-care training at the lowest overall cost.

ILF Brand Profile Venn Diagram

ILF Brand Belief & Ambitions

We believe that the most effective Advocate is one who is thriving. This is our Brand Belief. We seek to inspire all Advocates to take the time to care for themselves. This is our Brand Ambition.

ILF Brand Profile Brand Belief and Brand Ambition

Everything Extends From the ILF Brand Profile

The combination of our driving insight, brand foundation, brand belief and ambition, combined with our brand voice (positive, empathetic, calm, candid), target audience, emotional benefit, and reasons to believe is our complete ILF Brand Profile. This will become the solid foundation that the new ILF brand will be built upon.

Moving forward, everything — including colors, fonts, logos, wordmarks, images, and eventually a brand new name — is held up by this Brand Profile. It provides the structure and strength.

Anticipating Our Next Steps

Everyone was excited and emotional, anticipating what would happen next as we moved forward in the process. Soon we would be looking at visual sandboxes to determine what the new Brand Design would look like.

Join us in the next post as we share some of these visual sandboxes (the ones we liked and ones we….meh), then continue reading as we move forward to see how all of these different pieces come together.

Discovering Our Brand’s Highs and Lows

[This is Part 2 of our Rebrand Story. Read Part 1 here.]

After the “Listen and Learn” call, Rethink (the company helping us through the rebrand process) continued learning about our brand.

They had already heard from us, so it was now time to interview the various ILF stakeholders: 

  • Sexual violence Program Director
  • Domestic violence Shelter Manager from a shelter we trained
  • Domestic violence shelter Director of Development & Community Outreach
  • Executive Director of a domestic violence coalition
  • Indrani’s Light Volunteer 
  • Vicarious Trauma Researcher
  • Director of a Domestic Violence women’s shelter who said “no” to our training
  • Indrani’s Light Board Member
  • Indrani, our Founder

Hearing from our stakeholders, and most importantly, from the people we are helping was both heartening (when we heard the good news) and frustrating. (Bad news is never great, even when helpful.) Rethink compiled everything into a report and presented it to our team.

The Good News

The people who have taken the training believe in the work and find it helpful and important:

  • “Brings unique training to centers that may not have that expertise.”
  • “For a lot of them it was new. They didn’t know what to expect but they liked how it was presented and the activities they used.”
  • “It’s the level of focus they put on things that makes the difference.”
  • “I came into this training feeling as though I knew all there was to know about self-care. In fact, I was a little annoyed at the idea of having to attend yet another self-care training. But this was so much more than that.”

There is no doubt that the training is needed in shelters:

  • “We need to start stepping back and seeing how we take care of the advocates.”
  • “Organizations don’t build self-care into their culture, which is something that needs to be change.”
  • “When we first started, I felt guilty to close my center for 2 days. But at the end, I feel like it was dearly needed.”

The Bad News

Although the work is inspiring and beneficial, no one knows about the training:

  • “I worry a lot of advocates don’t know about it. I mentioned it this morning and no one knew what it was.”
  • “People don’t know about ILF.”
  • “Not enough people know about it.”
  • “Until I met Jeremie, I had never heard of ILF.”

People are confused when speaking about what ILF does:

  • “I don’t even know what their brand is. I don’t even remember a logo or what it looks like. The colors I remember were a purple envelope that had their stuff in it.”
  • “I would describe it as a Canadian based organization designed to help victims of abuse, specifically from India and countries like Trinidad and Tobago.”

There is confusion around the name Indrani’s Light Foundation:

  • “It’s limited because as the name suggests it’s Indrani’s Light Foundation and it stays as Indrani’s foundation. It doesn’t become more generalized. It doesn’t become more neutral.”
  • “The foundation becomes tied to a personality and that may be part of the issue.”
  • “I think the name suggests the focus – Indrani’s Light suggests a call to CERTAIN people.”
  • “The title of the agency doesn’t say what they do. They could be about anything.”

There are barriers that prevent people from committing to the training:

  • “Barriers include finding the time and prioritizing the need for self-care.”
  • “If they’re not clear on what they’re trying to sell, no one else will be.”
  • “Time constraints. If it was a 2-hour training then we would do that, 100%. I cannot commit two to three days or even one full day.”
  • “Self-care is still in its infancy. Just because we know about it doesn’t mean we’ll do anything about it.”


What we learned and what needs to change.

Let’s start with the most important piece of learning from this process:

The stakeholders confirmed that tools for building resilience to compassion fatigue and burnout are needed, and that ILF’s curriculum make a difference.


Next, and although we know this, it was still hard to hear: 

Indrani’s Light Foundation isn’t doing a great job of building awareness around who we help and how we help them. In fact, we have been doing the opposite, creating confusion about our work.

Our team has a lot of passion around the work we do. We want to make a big impact on the advocates we help, and through them an impact on their clients, family, and friends. We are keeping that impact small by confusing the very people we’re trying to help.

This absolutely has to change. Thankfully, the rebrand will help.

We also discovered that there are some changes that we may need to make that go deeper than our brand. Looking at the length of our training, reviewing the curriculum and making necessary changes, getting our language clear, doing a better job of gathering evidence that our work is making a difference,…

Wait, that’s a completely different post, and if we are learning anything from this process, it is that we tend to get off track in our communication and create confusion. Ignore that last paragraph, let’s get back on track.

Next Steps

With all of this stakeholder information in hand and the meeting with Rethink wrapped up, it was time to move on to the next big step in the rebrand process: The ILF Brand Profile.

What is a brand profile? We had no idea, but we were going to learn all about it in our next meeting with Rethink. You can learn all about it reading the next post in this series…

ILF Rebrand: A Story of Change

The Early Days of ILF

It all began during the team retreat in January 2018 as a discussion about making changes to the Indrani’s Light Foundation (ILF) website. It seemed so simple as the team sat in a condo in Portland, Oregon. Stacie called in via Zoom after bad weather grounded her flight.

Indrani's Light Foundation story

Our website had been created in 2014 to represent Indrani’s global work to end gender-based violence. In the following years, the team added and tweaked pages as our mission shifted towards supporting domestic violence shelter staff. Although the core pages remained, the ILF website and message was becoming cluttered and confused.

People, especially those we were trying to help, didn’t understand what we actually did. That was a big problem. No problem, we thought. We will rewrite the copy, change images, fix some navigation, and everything will be clarified. 

Of course, nothing ever turns out to be as simple as we think, does it?

The Donation that Made an ILF Rebrand Possible

2018 brought about big changes. ILF’s very first team member, Stacie Cassada Kenton, moved on to follow an amazing opportunity for her business and Amy Jaffe reduced her role at ILF to help in her family’s Portland pie shop. 

These changes put the website project on hold until late 2018, when ILF received a donation to use for a full rebrand. This gift meant something very different from the original website renovation project we had envisioned. What had begun as an idea to reorganize and rewrite the current website had evolved into the opportunity to recreate the ILF brand to better represent our work.

We had to think even bigger now! We were excited, but to be honest, we were also a bit terrified. What did we know about rebranding?

The ILF Rebrand Adventure Begins 

Lots of learning, lots of proposals and meetings later — including one proposal for a full rebrand and ongoing publicity at $25,000/month, which we said “no” to — we made a decision. On February 7th, 2019, the ILF team (Indrani, Jeremie, and newest team member Mariam) met with Rethink, a marketing agency in Vancouver, British Columbia for a “Listen and Learn” call. This kicked off the branding process.

The story continued from that Thursday in February with many twists and turns. And it continues to wend its way forward as we finalize a new brand and website, scheduled to launch in September, 2019.

We’re sure you’re eager to know what the new Indrani’s Light Foundation brand looks like. Join us over the coming weeks as the rebrand story unfolds in the following blog posts. (SPOILER: The whole process leads to an exciting new name as part of the rebrand.)

The ILF Rebrand Story

Part 1 Rebranding ILF: A Story of Change
Part 2 Our Brand’s Highs and Lows
Part 3 A Solidified Brand Profile
Part 4 Playing in the Visual Sandbox
Part 5 Naming is HARD
Part 6 Getting Through the Bad Names

Recognition feels amazing, but isn’t worth worrying about

On May 3rd 2019 Indrani was recognized as a champion of gender equity and justice for both her global work to lift women and girls out of poverty, and her domestic work to improve the level of care for domestic violence survivors by teaching front-line advocates resilience against compassion fatigue and burnout.

Indrani was so excited to receive her award from Vagina Monologues writer Eve Ensler.

After the event Indrani recorded this video for you to talk about how it feels to be recognized, whether that recognition is something small or something big, and to encourage you to take a tiny step forward with whatever goal or dream you are envisioning.

Now it is your turn to answer Indrani’s questions:

What is it you want to do?
Why do you want to do it?
What are a few first steps you can take right now?

Leave a comment below with your answers to these questions so Indrani and the ILF Team can share your journey.

Sakhi for South Asian Women (Sakhi), New York City’s first South Asian American women’s organization and an award-winning nonprofit that combats domestic and sexual violence in NYC’s South Asian community, celebrated 30 years of service and advocacy at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine at its gala ‘Honoring the Power Within’, on May 3, 2019.

How to help everyone at once, without overwhelm (SPOILER: You can’t!) – Episode 28

Does this sound familiar: you are rushing to leave for work, helping your partner find their keys, packing lunches into backpacks, trying to put dinner in the crockpot, trying to remember your keys, then finally making it out the door. Once you arrive at work you have a meeting with your supervisor, are asked to get something from the supply room (which leads to three more people wanting something), then one of the residents asks you to talk about a big challenge they are facing.

How are you going to do all of this at once, and make everyone happy?

The short answer: you can’t.

The long answer: listen to this episode of the Caring for the Caregivers podcast and learn some important tools you can use to control the overwhelm of trying to help everyone at once.

Episode Time Codes

00:00 Intro
01:16 Scenario
02:36 Indrani – Make a list, and learn to grow your self-empathy bucket
13:52 Discussion
17:42 Amy – using your values to say a positive “No”
28:13 Jeremie – applying these lessons to your organization (and to puppies!)
35:26 Discussion
38:05 Summary and conclusion


LINK: Kristen Neff’s Self-compassion test

LINK: Dan Siegel’s Hand Model of the Brain

BOOK: The Power of a Positive No – William Ury

Caring for the Caregivers: A Self-Empathy Meditation – Episode #26

Often, in life, you will find yourself stuck between two versions of yourself: the “you” that wants peace and to be satisfied doing the best you can, and the “you” that is crazily trying to do everything for everyone. In this episode Indrani will lead you through a short meditation to help you become a compassionate witness to your own self and your own energy.

00:00 Introduction
00:53 Self-Empathy Meditation
04:21 Outro