I have known Stephen as a work colleague since summer 2018, when I joined the Psychedelic Society. I am now one of the co-directors and one of the owners of the Workers Coop Dandelion Collective, the organisation behind the Psychedelic Society,
I have never been in his social circles and we have kept our relationship on a purely professional level. I cannot comment on anything about Find The Others, as my only involvement with the group is by being a non-active member of their facebook group. However, I would like to share my experience of Stephen to provide a greater depth of perspective to some of the allegations against him.
On the day when Stephen approached me to join the Psychedelic Society in June 2018, he told me of his plans for the Psychedelic Society to become a decentralised, workers-owned organisation. In the lead up to officially becoming a workers coop in 2020, Stephen has been very passionate and active in creating a working culture that is collaborative and non-hierarchical.
I have observed his progress as he was stepping down gradually from power in the Psychedelic Society and being the main force in transitioning and registering as a formal coop. It is not easy to let go of one's passion project, but even though there were bumps along the way, Stephen has and continues to put enormous effort into further decentralization and spreading of the power to all workers.
Stephen has put a great deal of trust in me and enabled me to launch a few major projects. I have witnessed him encouraging other team members to step into their power and run projects they are passionate about. He has been passionate about enabling and encouraging many women by bringing them info to our field of work and offering them a platform. He is putting a lot of effort into projects that serve important causes, and he constantly tries to make a change for the better in this world.
I am aware that Stephen is a controversial person, and that in the past he has displayed some reckless behaviour. Additionally, in my experience his communication skills often fail and he might sound/appear hurtful to people around him. I myself have been hurt a few times with his communication, or lack of.
All of the above has been a subject of a conflict between me and Stephen in the past. However, I’ve given him feedback about my concerns during work appraisal/feedback sessions and I have seen Steve taking my concerns seriously, admitting and apologising. In the following months I’ve observed major positive changes in his behaviour.
I can tell that Stephen has significantly grown as a person and a leader and he continues to put effort into growing more and becoming a better version of himself, and for that I have big respect for him. I recognize he is not perfect at all, but he has a big heart and a strong will to leave a positive impact in this world.
I am sorry for the hurt felt by all involved on both sides of the conflict. I sincerely hope that we can find a resolution that enables us all to heal and grow.
— Anya Oleksiuk - Co-director of the Psychedelic Society, Co-owner of the Dandelion Collective