For me, attending the CenterLink Leadership Summit was nothing short of life changing. I am honored to have won the scholarship to attend this year’s event and what I took away from the experience will no doubt have a lasting, positive impact on Compass Ventura and our counties LGBTQ community.
From framing conversations with our donors, sponsors, and volunteers, to program development, to inspiration, and networking, the summit has made CenterLink a pillar in our organization — a pillar I didn’t know we needed and now I can’t see how we ever got along without it.
We Are Not Alone
When I first stepped into Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona, where the summit was being held, I felt at home. These were my people. Ventura County has a shortage of services and people fighting for the LGBTQ community and being around so many like-minded organizations and their people was a breath of fresh air — we are in this together. Small organizations and centers with multi-million dollar budgets alike were all sharing the same space and helping on another all the same.
The first thing I felt and the largest thing I took from the summit was a vision for what Compass could become, that the dream could become in even greater reality, and that many others were there to guide us all along the path that had already been made and taken.
A Much Needed Positive Change
It goes without saying just how trying our current times are. It is so easy to point fingers at politicians or other peoples failures. The CenterLink summit though, was about solutions, working together, and overcoming obstacles to be able to meet the needs of our LGBTQ community — the homeless, the sick, the suicidal… We are all here together to change lives one story at a time.
One of my favorite sessions of the summit was “Leading the Conversation: A New Narrative for Human Services” by Ilsa Flanagan. Her session was focused around steering away from engaging our community with crisis and fatalism and moving towards building well-being.
Here are two examples from Ilsa Flanagan’s lecture:
Framed with Crisis and Fatalism
As lawmakers wrestle with each other and the budget, funding for vital services are being gutted and people are suffering. The proposed budget would shut the door to critical services for hundreds of thousands of families across the state. But then what? Families in need are not going away. Our elected officials need to do their jobs.
We need a budget that is smart, reasonable and doesn’t end up costing more than it saves. Cutting in the dark is never a good idea.
Reframed with Building Well-Being
As our policymakers use our most important civic tool for peering into the future – our public budget – we must make it a priority to attend to our nation’s most important asset – our human potential. When we build a foundation of well-being, we ensure that everyone can contribute to our communities.
Call the governor today and tell him: A good budget meets our needs today and plans for the future – we need everyone’s potential for the civic, social, and economic well-being of our communities.
See the difference?
The first one is only bringing up problems and pointing fingers at people we actually need to be working with, not against. The second message is bringing value to the surface and a positive call to action that everyone can get behind and benefit from.
This is just the kind of attitude I wish for myself and for my colleagues, friends, family, and community. Hearing this at the CenterLink Leadership Summit was refreshing to say the least.
The Future is Bright
There were many wonderful talks at the summit, including one of my favorites “Branding Your Center to Drive Value” by Jayzen Patria and also a favorite “From Good to Great: How to Become a High Impact Board Member” by Marta Miranda-Straub, CEO of The Center for Women and Families — both deserving their own blog posts and the summit would be worth every penny just to see them.
Did I leave the CenterLink Leadership Summit ready to tackle the needs of the community? Yes.
Will I be using the CenterLink resources that I knew little about and now can’t wait to start? Absolutely.
Is attending the next CenterLink Leadership Summit a must for Compass Ventura? You betcha!