Let's go in to my time capsule, the year is 2004. I am in a hotel conference room with dozens of other would be union organizers from across the country being taught labor history and the mastery of a one-on-one. That week, in retrospect, ushered me into the movement.
Early on in my organizing journey, I made two observations about the culture of the movement: professional development pipelines are limited overall and for women of color it's almost non-existent.
If we want to make progress and win on social justice, we must invest in our team members. This is my way and the Groundswell Fund (GF) way. Through regularly scheduled coaching calls, I focus on skill building and IVE prep, planning, and execution for key staff members from New Voices (Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Cleveland), Mothering Justice (Detroit), and Women With A Vision (New Orleans).
GF hosted it's bi-annual IVE convening, which brings together all organizations with coaches and GF staff, in Petaluma, California. This year, I co-created a workshop training series, The Power of the One-on-One and Building a Strong Volunteer Program, for the most recent convening. The first helps IVE staff understand the strategic role of 1:1 beyond the "ask" and develop new skills in preparing, planning, and conducting a 1:1. The latter engages staff to reflect on challenges and opportunities related to traditional electoral and movement building campaigns. In doing so, the session is designed to help participants identify the best practices, systems and procedures that should be in place to support building a volunteer program.
As a result, Women With A Vision and Mothering Justice have created a base definition that is now allowing them to put in place new procedures to support volunteer recruitment and data management. All organizations have revamped their scripts, incorporating best practices from the convening. Lastly, they also developed nine campaigns ranging from health care, criminal justice, affordable child care, earned sick time, and local municipal elections. Two of these campaign are well underway and the next one kicks off next month.
Now that we have returned to present day, the course of my time capsule, comes full circle. Yes, my role in the movement has evolved. Instead of running campaigns, I share my tactical, managerial, and emotional experience to invest in the leadership of women and women of color.
Stay tuned for brief client updates this Fall!