Courage is often a concept born of privilege. Many of the people that we work with, that would be considered courageous, are acting out of necessity driven by the situations in their own lives and communities. Resilience is a skill set born of survival, then. It isn’t a training they attended or a theory they studied, it’s a lived practice.

Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tuesday Ryan-Hart & Tim Merry, Systems Change Strategists and Co-Founders of The Outside.

The Outside brings together constellations of people from disparate teams, organizations, and jurisdictions to solve problems and scale impact. We have the missing piece of the puzzle: a practical understanding of the process and infrastructure of equitable systems change.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?

Thanks for having us! We have been colleagues and friends since 2006 when we worked on a national initiative for food justice in the United States. In response to demand from our clients, we founded The Outside in 2018 to tackle large-scale systems change. Formative to our relationship and the business we launched together is our very different backgrounds: Tim is a white, boarding school educated, British man who comes from a long-line of colonial administrators and armed forces officers. Tuesday is a Black biracial woman, who was raised by a single mom on ketchup sandwiches, within a family constellation of folks of African and Irish descent. Both of us are childhood trauma survivors who now work in shifting large systems toward more equitable outcomes for all.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

We spent 2.5 years working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva, Switzerland on their global operating model. This initiative required us to rapidly innovate our own methodology and theory of change in a high stakes, very complex environment.

One of the key things we learned was that long-term problems require long term solutions and growth — or simply doing more — is not an adequate response to systemic challenges. Programmatic, siloed solutions, like launching a new department/committee, hiring a DEI officer, creating an innovation hub, even redesigning budgets and wealth distribution does not address the fundamental problems.

We have to get to the core of the beliefs and culture as well as the crux of the structural issues to remove the obstacles for forward movement.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We’re different in that we are deeply committed to, and embody, what we ask others to become. Each of our teams is cross-racial, cross-gender and cross-class. Our team hails from 6 different countries of origin, including colonized territories, and speak 7 languages.

We’ve done the hard work of reviewing our own internal structure, culture, and compensation frameworks to progressively address current and historical inequity. When many others were shrinking their teams at the beginning of COVID, which had a disproportionate impact on People of Color, we intentionally invested in our team to ensure that those who had the least access to generational wealth would be able to remain with our company.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

The Outside has a broad constellation of mentors, supporters, and partners. In particular we’d like to highlight our relationship with Frances Baldwin. Frances has been an elder, mentor, and coach to Tim and Tuesday as they’ve gone through the vicissitudes of launching and sustaining a visionary start up.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

We think of resilience as the ability to work across difference over time on some of the most intractable challenges facing our communities, countries, and planet. We think that diverse groups can be resilient when individuals can’t.

Groups that are resilient persist against often seemingly insurmountable odds. They have an ability to continue to act, learn, and maintain forward momentum. They lean into conflict, confusion, and uncertainty allowing new solutions to emerge. They have an ability to strategically navigate hierarchical systems and reach out broadly to stakeholders.

Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?

Courage is what keeps you coming back to the problem. Resilience is the skill set that allows you to persevere.

Courage is often a concept born of privilege. Many of the people that we work with, that would be considered courageous, are acting out of necessity driven by the situations in their own lives and communities. Resilience is a skill set born of survival, then. It isn’t a training they attended or a theory they studied, it’s a lived practice.

When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?

Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years imprisoned on Robben Island. To come out of prison and torture and be able to lead the ANC in its negotiations with the minority government for an end to apartheid and the establishment of a multiracial government, is an astonishing act of resilience.

Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?

The founding of our company, The Outside. We were told that a small consulting agency would never be able to compete against global powerhouses like PwC and McKinsey. Yet, here we are, three and half years later working with some of the largest, most entrenched systems in Europe and North America.

Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?

One of the toughest setbacks we had to recover from was when we spent 2.5 years building the relationships, will, strategy, and structure for a major transformation of municipal systems. A month before lift off, the entire initiative was shut down because the Premier of the province wanted to teach his minister a lesson. The goodwill and hard work of everyone involved was cast aside at the whim of fickle political decision-making. The Outside learned the hard way the importance of engaging all the way to the top of hierarchies before we launch long-term work. No matter the power or intent of the senior leader who instigates the initiative, we are now incredibly thorough in making sure all of the key power brokers are aligned (enough) and have appetite for change.

How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?

We’re both lifelong athletes, and the lessons from sport of friendship, toughness, and enjoyment all contributed to our resiliency.

We are also strong advocates of self-reflection and believe that everybody should go through a period of therapy in their lives. It’s been game-changing for us to keep us grounded as the scale and scope of our work has grown over the years.

Both of us also have a really strong relationship to the natural world. We called our company The Outside because that is where we both recharge and reflect.

Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Know yourself — learn to love your multiplicity.
  2. Keep good company.
  3. Listen to your ancestors.
  4. Act for your grandchildren.
  5. One step at a time and learn.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Re-design an equitable global system of exchange and distribution of wealth. We understand that to create the conditions for all of us to thrive, we have to fundamentally shift the conditions in which we all live and interact.

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

Brené Brown or Christiana Figueres.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Readers can visit us on all of our various platforms:

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Thanks for having us. It’s been a pleasure!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.