Blog FPO

Racial Equity Statements: Eloquent Words, but Do You Mean It?

2020 was the year no one could have predicted. We endured two crises simultaneously in COVID-19 and the ongoing racial tensions within our country. Perhaps for the first time I noticed a significant increase in organizations providing statements and reflections on diversity, equity, and inclusion. And they were appreciated. But it also prompts a series of actions from me.

The questioning period. Do you mean it? The words that you have taken the time to eloquently share. How are you demonstrating that commitment?

Let me check the organization’s leadership. Perhaps the answer rests in the composition of the individuals required for making decisions. Nope.

Okay how about the Board of Directors? Not one person that looks like me. So how can I believe you? How do I know these words mean anything to you?

And again, I’m less interested in the statement and more curious about how it is being applied. As individuals and institutions, it is time to start thinking deeply about what it means to be white and how race has shaped your life - interactions with others, opportunities in work, and the list goes on. And how flat your messaging falls when you speak about diversity and none is reflected within your organization. I hesitate on talking about equity, inclusion and belonging because we should start with the basics.

Taking a stand is nice, yet insufficient. How will you walk? Where are you going? And who is coming with you?

Gardian of the Month: Andrea Starmer

Our Gardian of the Month is Andrea Starmer! She shares how she might help a wallflower loosen up at a networking event, the way she prepared for the CMP, the resource she can't live without (you probably can't either) and just who's life she'd like to live for one day. 

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Applying Our Understanding of Personal & Social Identities Within Associations

During the pandemic, I was introduced by my colleague to the University of Michigan Inclusive Campus Collaborative which seeks to foster a campus climate in which all community members feel respected, valued, and empowered to engage in the life of the university. Among the resources developed and shared by the Collaborative are two identity wheels, which I’ve found useful in helping association staff, volunteer leaders, and/or members better understand themselves, one another, and how they can improve their interpersonal relationships.

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Are Too Many Meetings Wreaking Havoc on Your Employees’ Mental Health?

Are you have too many meetings and it's causing you (and your team) mental health issues? Find out here.

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A Practical Guide to Stakeholder Mapping & Why It’s Important

There are two primary groups of people involved in your organization’s strategy work: participants and stakeholders. Depending upon their lived experiences, tenure in your industry, engagement with your organization, and a host of other factors, the opinions, insights, and recommendations of your members are going to vary greatly. Want to test it out? Ask a group of 10 members how to solve just about anything and you’re likely to get several dozen suggestions. And that’s because how people see the world, including the blocks and barriers impeding our organizations from achieving their preferred visions, varies.

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Gardian of the Month: Rachel Kuntzsch

Our Gardian of the Month is Rachel Kuntzsch! Check out her tip for balancing work and studying with family time, why the New York Times is her go-to resources and why she feels Spring truly represents her!

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Navigating Difficult Conversations Using Nonviolent Communication

During a recent strategic planning session, participants were working in small groups when Aaron overheard a participant make a comment that didn't sit well with their colleague.  Aaron and his co-facilitator brainstormed a course of action and turned to nonviolent communication.  This is how it went.

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