Tag: leadership

Connectors Program Builds Community Power

In a place as diverse as Tukwila, where over 80 languages are spoken, it’s not easy for the city to engage all of its residents—particularly communities who face language and cultural barriers. In 2013, the city began working with G2L and Forterra to create the Community Connectors Program to help boost civic engagement.

Through this partnership, we recruit Community Connectors from groups that the city has a difficult time reaching through traditional outreach. Tukwila Connectors include members of the African-American, Latino, Somali and Burmese communities who have deep connections in their communities, and who are committed to facilitating outreach and communications.

Connectors join “City 101” trainings where they learn about things like how the city is structured, what different departments do, how the budget is developed, and what city council does.

“Knowledge is power — especially for people who are new to the country. They need to know the processes,” said Leadership and Engagement Manager Niesha Brooks, who runs the Connectors program.

Next, G2L and the city work together with the Connectors to identify priority projects that the Connectors can support, reaching out to their communities to seek input on things like the comprehensive plan, housing, safety, and economic development. Connectors also provide guidance to city staff on how to design and undertake comprehensive and effective outreach. These efforts ensure that the priorities of previously underrepresented groups are heard and incorporated into city work.

Community leadership advances community health

The Community Connectors program is key to G2L’s efforts to advance health equity in our region. We started our work in 2010 by asking community members to describe what a healthy community looks like to them. Many talked about feeling connected to their community, being able to access and navigate systems, and having a voice.

“This program is letting the Connectors and community members know that their voices are valid,” said Niesha.

As the Connectors program builds community voice, it also invests in the capacity of individual leaders.

“We want for the Connectors to gain experience and skills,” Niesha said. “They can take what they learn here, and join task forces and boards, and take on other leadership positions.”

Learn more

  • After pioneering Community Connectors in Tukwila, we partnered on a similar program with the City of Burien. Cityvision Magazine recently highlighted Burien’s Connectors program in an article on the city’s efforts to better serve its residents. You can read “A Right to Be Heard” online; the article starts on page 16.
  • Read Community Connectors program descriptions on the Tukwila and Burien city websites.
  • Keep visiting our website, where we’ll feature stories of Community Connectors. To receive updates about all things Global to Local, subscribe to our email newsletter.

A New Adventure for Executive Director Adam Taylor

G2L staff share their ideas about leadership

G2L staff share their ideas about leadership; Executive Director Adam Taylor’s sign reads, “Leadership is a voice for all.” Having spent eight years helping to build leadership in South King County and at G2L, Adam is moving on to new adventures. Image credit: Ken Tran.

 

After leading G2L for eight years, Founding Executive Director Adam Taylor will step down from his position on June 29 to begin a yearlong travel adventure with his family. In his announcement, Adam wrote, “Global to Local has never been stronger, which is why I have decided this is the right time for this transition. Our staff of over 20 is exceptional, our funding is solid, our partnerships are deep, and we are seeing the impact of our work every day.”

G2L Board Chair Dan Dixon highlighted some of Adam’s accomplishments in a message to our newsletter subscribers:

“A few examples of Adam and the G2L team’s work include development of a nationally recognized diabetes management program that utilizes highly efficient and cost-effective health promoters and a smart phone app that dramatically improves the wellness of users with diabetes. This program is now being launched in the Swedish System. Adam has also worked tirelessly with dozens of community partners and with support from the Seattle Foundation and King County to develop a Food Innovation Network that is launching new food businesses and improving access to healthy foods.

“Adam has engaged corporate and government partners along with universities and community groups to pursue distinctive avenues of innovation, from economic literacy and job training and placement to primary health care. One of the signature achievements of Adam’s tenure, in partnership with HealthPoint, was development of the Connection Desk that enabled thousands of individuals to sign up for the Affordable Care Act and other important services ranging from housing to employment and much more.”

Identifying G2L’s Next Leader

G2L’s board has already launched a national search for our next executive director, with the goal of having someone in place by the end of June. Details about the position are posted here; we hope you will share this opportunity with your networks.

We will keep you updated through our email newsletter; if you aren’t already subscribed, we invite you to sign up now.

How is inclusion practiced?

How is inclusion practiced?

I came across this wonderful article recently, “All Voices on Deck: How Inclusiveness Can Help Define Your Leadership Style” by Rebecca Shambaugh. I highly suggest every person read it. Especially those who want to be leaders practicing inclusion.

Inclusion has been on my mind a lot lately (hiring processes will do that). It’s easy to think as non-profits that we’ve got this covered. And of course, we all use the words equity and inclusion so often that, why wouldn’t we? But these words are such a totem in our industry. I wonder what we miss by throwing them around so casually. The Shambaugh article isn’t written for non-profits but applies all the same – if not more since our work is in the name of social good.

Inclusion Confusion

From my experiences talking with many other non-profit professionals, our

Turns out inclusion is a lot like a community conversation…just everyday.

industry is pretty good at giving clinical definitions of equity and understands inclusion as a way to practice equity. But what does inclusion really look like? How do we practice it? Does it exist in both our programming and our organizations? When asking these questions, I’ve found it much harder to get a clear and tangible answer.

Recently asked what equity and inclusion means to me, I gave the same canned and romantic response I often hear from colleagues. I talked about bringing people to the table and said something about my shoes not fitting all feet. This re-played in my head for the next few days until I realized what was off about my answer. It was a regurgitation of definitions that didn’t speak to mindfulness or action. Many of us solidly understand the concepts and it certainly isn’t hard to intend to be inclusive. It does, however, take action and commitment to actually practice them.

When asked again, this is how I will answer:

Equity must go beyond intent (although intent should be examined–  doing this work out of privileged guilt makes it about you and not equity). It is not enough to be intentional. True equity requires us to engage in constant awareness, have humbling conversations, and most of all – create transparency in our actions. It is a constant cycle of listening, adjusting, and recognizing patterns of behavior and history.

But at any given moment, it should be easy to point to concrete actions – as a person or an organization. We are all, each and every human being, responsible for doing this. And this should be the ultimate requirement we have for our leaders. One of my concrete actions is my commitment to asking for and giving honest feedback – especially the hard kind that digs at my ego.

Taking actions

The article linked above outlines 10 solid actions for leaders to take. Shambaugh includes actions to increase equity across race, gender, cognitive styles and more.

If you prefer listening or watching to reading, try Chimamanda Adichie’s TEDTalk – The Danger of a Single Story. Another great resource that goes hand in hand with the Shambaugh article.

 

-Allison Mountjoy

The First Step in Expanding the Leadership Program

Global to Local - News

We are all very excited at G2L to announce that our Leadership Engagement Manager position has been filled! Please join us in welcoming Jojo Gaon to the G2L family. Jojo comes with much experience in leadership and art, including starting Youth Speaks, a youth arts and leadership development organization.

This position was created in response to several community conversations we hosted over 2016 that indicated the desire for more pathways toward leadership for underserved communities. The Leadership Pipeline program will be a collaborative process of bringing together key stakeholders to assess needs and develop solutions. Where our existing Connectors Program works toward training and employing community members to provide equitable community engagement, the Leadership Pipeline will be focused on equitable access to both civic and professional leadership opportunities.

From building the job description to the interviewing process, we have been all hands on deck – staff and community partners combined. Thanks to the whole team for your support on this process. We can’t wait to see Jojo in action!