You're there for your people.
Help them be there for each other.
If you lead a:
you probably already know that, statistically, your people are navigating mental health issues, family deaths, financial stress, health scares, world events, tension at home, and huge life changes (or all of the above at once).
In this world, struggle is not an if – it’s a when. As a leader, you can give your team tools to work through those struggles together.
Time and time again, research tells us that the biggest factor in health and wellness is our support system.
No, really. Bigger than exercise. Bigger than diet. Even in a professional setting, Gallup found that, “having a best friend at work is strongly linked to business outcomes, including profitability, safety, inventory control and retention.” Specifically, employees who have a best friend at work are significantly more likely to:
engage customers and internal partners
get more done in less time
support a safe workplace
innovate and share ideas
have fun while at work
Complete our “fit quiz.” Shouldn't take more than about 10 minutes – we just want to make sure we’re right for you and you’re the right fit for this community.
Humans bring their full humanness to every table.
We don’t turn into robots when we sit down at our desks. It’s incredible to know that we’re normal. We’re not the only ones navigating this thing called life.
Fear? Normal. Imposter syndrome? Normal. Pride? Normal. Burnout? Normal.
You have already gathered people together towards a common goal. Now the task is to create a safe environment that rewards vulnerability.
Connection is Human "Glue"
And we specialize in glue – bringing people together with tools for support, empathy, communication, and mental health. Even over Zoom. Here's how:
Our 12-point framework is a guide for communicating vulnerable things in a way that won't make things hurt more. If it's not safe, it's not going to work.
We'll teach you our REAL tool, which gives everyone a chance to say what's really on their mind, get the support they want, and avoid feedback they don't want.
You'll hear us say "go first" a lot. As leaders, we share our feelings, tell our stories, and talk about our struggles first. We can't lead anywhere we're not willing to go.
We encourage everyone to be as open as they want to be – if they feel safe. They are in the "vulnerability" driver's seat at all times, and there's no pressure.
This is not a rah rah "team building exercise", it's a new way to do relationships in your organization.
Bringing people closer together.
Rewarding authenticity and vulnerability.
Building trust and safety within teams.
Getting everyone the support they need.
Giving everyone a safer place to express struggle.
Connection can be hard to define, but we know it when we feel it. We can be ourselves. We don’t have to hide. We feel seen. It’s warm. It’s cathartic.
And with it, we're more resilient, more engaged, and more invested in success.
So often, we bring people together thinking camaraderie and support just happens.
It doesn't, but that's why we're here.
How does it feel to know that your team has your back? That trust? That means your teams go further, faster.
Studies show that our brains calm down when we give a voice to our stress...and even more when we can tell someone else.
Connection and support creates lasting bonds quickly. If you're looking for "staying power" in your org...this'll do it.
What would happen if everyone felt safe to raise their hand and call out problems without wasting time? Think about it.
Our format gives everyone an equal time to be heard. This diversifies your pool of ideas, and widens your awareness.
We hope you're already making time for connection and support. This will help you get straight to what matters.
Sometimes a format is the best way to have hard conversations. We can also learn boundaries, empathy, and tact.
Social support is the number one factor in mental and physical health. This is a lay-up for wellness benefits.
Ask us all the questions.
We know you won't subject your people to anything you're not sure about, because we wouldn't either. Conversations are our no. 1 favorite thing in the world, so ask us all your pressing questions.
Hi, we're the Izards.
Founders + Facilitators
We are authors, speakers, founders, and facilitators changing the way the world does connection. Along with creating a safe space for real conversations in The Raft Project community, we've poured our hearts into our Amazon bestseller, Good, and You? How to Get Real Support Instead of Faking It.
After Andy’s prolonged mental breakdown in 2017 led him to lean heavily on 12-step programs, we stumbled into the life-saving power of good community. In 2018, we doggedly pursued an open support group concept to process what we were experiencing as entrepreneurs as well. We knew we needed support – what we didn’t expect was to find so many others looking for the exact same thing.
Having completed five years of testing and practice, we officially founded The Raft Project in 2022. We cannot express how much the people in this community have changed our lives for the better, and now we're taking what we've learned into organizations who are looking to create more social support.
While Kayla has BA in Communications and Andy in Psychology, this movement is built mostly on lived experience and an unwavering passion to do good for other people and ourselves. Thank you for being here...seriously.
Andy + Kayla
"This project is amazing. I love you. Now excuse me while I go scream from the rooftops about The Raft Project! Because we the people need it."
This looks different for everyone.
But here are a few ways to bring us into your world.
We'd love to validate and encourage your community.
Let's talk about:
how important connection and social support are to human thriving
how we can build safer, more connected teams with more trust
our personal journey with community and mental health
We can also host interviews to help leaders "go first" and set an example.
Let us walk large groups through our trademarked REAL format so they can get support in real time.
This is great for community events, support groups, team-building days, or any time the goal is more connection and support, especially with tough objectives or circumstances. In under two hours, we can give everyone the tools they need to be real, and form genuine friendships.
Let us spend a few weeks with your organization, training your leadership to create spaces for connection, support, and trust.
Learn how to use our format and framework as a normal part of your organizational culture – in 1-to-1s, check ins, and community meetups. Truly changing culture is a marathon, not a sprint, and we'll be there to troubleshoot leadership growth opportunities as they arise. We'll also want to gather data to show improvement – how comfortable people feel opening up, if they do feel more connected and supported, etc.
Fair warning, this is not for you if...
✔ You're just looking to sign a check and check a box.
✔ You don't care what happens to your people when they leave.
✔ You're not willing to go first – open up, and ask for support.
✔ You can't handle the truth! (a la Jack Nicholson).
✔ You're not in this for the long haul.
We are a good fit for leaders and managers who really give a shit about the wellbeing of their team (and their organization). You're about to ask people to do a big, scary thing (safely, but still).
If you're committed, so are we.
This is how you change your corner of the world.
Read our manifesto!
Our Amazon bestseller, Good, And You? How to Get Real Support Instead of Faking It, is a relatable walk through social support and the role platonic relationships play in our health (mental and physical).
But it's not just a thought piece. We walk readers through our format and framework for safe connection, and address common fears and pitfalls around emotional support.