Design Retreats: As we were first developing the programs, we gathered the core team for a series of multi day retreats aimed at naming the core outcomes and activities of the programs. (See Section 4: Envisioning & Design) Another explicit goal of these retreats, however, was to get to know each other deeply as people and as teammates. So our design time was intentionally punctuated with centering practices like Tai Chi to ground us upon arrival, long meal breaks that allowed for laughter and casual conversation, exercises that revealed our strengths and triggers, and whenever possible, we took retreats in and near each others’ homes so we could get to know each other's' families and lives beyond the program.
Regular Check-ins: Design and facilitation is an ongoing, adaptive process so we pre-scheduled and committed to regular check-ins through the course of the programs. Frequency depended upon role (i.e., program staff, such as Aida and Trish program staff, met twice weekly). Outside collaborators met monthly to check in and more frequently in the lead-up to a retreat.) The purpose of these spaces was to create intentional opportunities to share reflections on how the program was developing, give each other feedback about our facilitation and how we were showing up, and to design upcoming sessions.
WoC Pedagogy Conversations: Our evaluator and compass, Zuri Tau, helped us recognize our role early on as knowledge-creators in addition to being program facilitators. So we created a separate space monthly from our regular check-ins where we would bring in other people in our circles with an understanding of or interest in WoC leadership cultivation to place the program experiences we were having in broader historical and sociological contexts. Whenever possible we would translate what we were learning or observing into learnings for publication or frameworks that could be applied to different areas of organizing and leadership development.
Reading & Reflection: In addition to connecting with other individuals who were cultivating WoC leadership, we also shared and reflected upon readings with one another to help create a shared understanding of what we were trying to create and rooting ourselves in a legacy of thinkers/learners.
WhatsApp Group: Our WhatsApp group became and remains the place where we build and deepen our relationships on-the-go. It is the in-between space to ask the team for a tool or for advice on how to handle a situation. More importantly, it became the space to let our fellow teammates know that we were thinking of them - whether it was sharing good news, updates on how a plant that had been gifted was progressing, videos of each other's families, or a photo of a beach sunset we wanted the others to enjoy along with us.
4 Questions for Leaning in With Your Ride or Die
Our Team's Go-To Resources & Inspirations