Boston Civic Leaders Summit
Boston, MA — On Saturday, almost 400 Bostonians came together for the 2019 Boston Civic Leaders Summit hosted by Andrea Campbell at the JFK Library. I had a great time and thought I’d share what I learned. A few things that I left with include:
- A stack of 100 contact cards (what a a great idea!) and a bunch of new contacts
- The idea of being “in service to each other” — to respond to people who need a reason to get involved, but can’t find one.
- The idea of “cathedral building” meaning that what we do might be just building a foundation of something great that we’ll never see to completion
- The idea of “self-care” as 1 of “Five Pillars of Sustainable Neighborhood Engagement” meaning that we should avoid burnout by capping the time we spend (the others are: leadership/action, kindness, fun & technology)
Additionally, I wrote some notes from the workshops I attended.
I attended a sustainable leadership panel, and learned a few exercises for evaluating how and where to seem improvement.
- Write down: What gets in your way?
- Think about: Striking balance
- Communication Channels vs Communication Needs – You can publish newsletters, post to social media, get into the newspaper, etc and certain types of members will respond to each differently
- Established vs New members – Established members can make joining intimidating, but usually they also are seeking the involvement on new members.
- Good leaders vs accountable volunteers – Volunteers struggle with ambiguity and lack of mentoring; mentors struggle with seemingly unreliable volunteers
- Write down: love/hate/meh (in the context of civic engagement)
- Write down: what do you think success is?
- Write down: what would have to change to be successful? (Especially what new skills are needed.)
Network Night Format
Many Neighborhood Association meetings have been bastardized into dry presentations devoid of interaction and frankly, devoid of anything neighborly. The “Network Night” format was a fun seeming alternative, that goes like this:
- Welcome: Good food and music while people enter, get settled, greet and chat with each other.
- New and Good: People are brought into a circle to share name and something new or good that has happened in their life in the past few weeks, giving everyone the opportunity to speak or pass. (Max 30 seconds per person)
- Table Talk: 20-25 minute small group conversations. Individual participants are invited to propose conversation topics that they want to have and would agree to host. 3-4 of these are selected and participants choose which conversation to participate in.
- Marketplace: Convened back together in a circle, participants bid for time to make specific offers and requests of skills, talents, capacity, advice and stuff.
- Bump and Spark: Fun energetic ending as people are invited to close the deal on any new matches or connections they made, and to help clean up the space.