What is our role and responsibility as impact conveners in a rapidly shifting socio-political landscape? From travel visas to new areas of rapidly developing content, impact conveners are faced with the growing task of responding to the micro and macro implications of the new U.S. administration and growing populist movement across the globe.
Creating a space for dialogue, Conveners.org co-hosted a webinar on March 15 with Liz Maxwell, SOCAP 365 Product Manager, during which fellow impact conveners shared how they are addressing issues that are arising during these changing times.
Webinar participants explored the following questions: how do we understand the function of our work at this moment in history? What types of local, national, and global contexts might we (reactively) integrate and (proactively) shape through our convenings? In the most ambitious and hopeful scenarios, what sort of strategic alliances might we build as a field to rise to the challenge of these changing times?
As fellow network builders, system thinkers, and professionals dedicated to positive social change, participants shared the following strategies during the webinar:
- Ensure diversity of thought: One webinar participant shared the importance of recognizing the value of diverse thinking at convenings, and that everyone should have a seat at the table.
- Set norms for communication: Another participant mentioned that to case a wider net, conveners must learn to moderate language to bring others into the fold. One participant also mentioned the need to have patience with other point of views and refrain from categorization, recognizing that everyone has their own unique experience, and being mindful of words we use to describe groups or ideas.
- Inviting people into the fold: One webinar participant shared that it’s important to make sure that we’re bringing people together that would normally not be together, and that we’re pulling in people who would not normally go to impact conferences. For example, NGOs may have never thought about attending an impact investing meeting, though could learn much and add much value to such meeting.
- Take risks: Another participant shared the importance of not being afraid to take risks in terms of audiences reached and formats that are tried.
In addition, participants shared the following resources that may enable leaders to be better equipped with dealing with current events:
- The New Grand Strategy, great new book on vast road ahead with or without Washington, particularly all that can be led by private sector investment and businesses
- Strangers in Their Own Land, the renowned sociologist Arlie Hochschild embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, California, deep into Louisiana bayou country—a stronghold of the conservative right—and gets to know people who strongly oppose many of the ideas she famously champions. Hochschild nevertheless finds common ground and finds lives ripped apart by stagnant wages, a loss of home, an elusive American dream—and political choices and views that make sense in the context of their lives.
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