Groundswell Fund

Invest in Your Team, If We Want To Win ....

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!

People, Planning, and Politics: From Subscriber to Feature

Over the last few months, my clients have reached key milestones in the advancement of their work. This means that  I have logged many miles on foot, bus, train, taxis, and planes taking me from Petaluma, CA, Santa Ana and San Felipe, Panama, and now back again in Brooklyn.  My conference call line takes me to Detroit, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans while Boston, in fact, is the home base.

When I launched Rivera Consulting, Inc, two years ago, I believed steadfastly that my approach to people, planning, and politics is exactly what is needed and necessary to produce the results we need to achieve. Over the next two weeks, I will be highlighting interesting, important, and innovating stories from my clients that range from integrated voter engagement capacity building, learning hubs, tactical urbanism, and cross-sector driven innovations on issued related to bus rapid transit and sustainable development.

Spring rolled out with an invitation to be featured in the Boston Spirit Magazine's May/June issue in an annual piece called "Let Us Introduce You, ” which highlights LGTBQ people and allies making a splash in their respective industry and career. To think, that my work took me from a long time subscriber to a feature in New England’s largest and most prominent LGBTQ magazine - May/June issue. The article talks about my background and highlights my sources of inspiration.  In the interview, I shared the following when asked:  How do you view your role as a leader? 

“For a whole new generation of leaders...our view of leadership is different than traditional models. We don’t need to be the big boss to lead. I don’t need to be the CEO or president.You don’t even need to see my face! People are breaking things apart and finding different forms of leadership: decentralized models where people step up and step back depending on when you need to lead. That’s different than previous generations and cult-of-personality leaders. There’s a higher consciousness.”

I share this, yes, as a shameless plug for my work, but more importantly, as a reminder that leadership and collaboration in this century, must look, feel, and talk vastly different. As I publish the upcoming body of work, this is the thread that ties and frames my clients and my approach.