22 January 2018

Happy New Year! We’ve Got a New Member Meeting Plan Thanks to You!

Happy New Year from Thread STL! We hope 2018 is off to a great start – we’re hard at work fine-tuning our program offerings for this year after we received some terrific feedback from our membership in December (you can review the results in the Thread STL December blog post).

In addition to an array of proposed learning topics to explore this year, we heard from our members that they’d like to: 1) have dedicated networking and relationship building time, 2) hear from local collaborations that excel at one or more aspects of the process of collaboration, and 3) continue learning how to strengthen the role of community voice in St. Louis’ community organizations and collaborations.

We’ll be continuing bi-monthly Member Meetings in 2018 and are adding featured speakers to our agenda. This will be an opportunity for Member Meeting attendees to hear more about the broad array of community partnerships and coalitions in the St. Louis region from the perspective of those who are leading them as well as those who are impacted by them. Featured speakers may be current Thread members or can come from outside of Thread membership. Thread’s Guiding Principles – Authentic Community Voice, Equity & Justice, Strengths & Assets, and Continuous Improvement – will guide featured speakers in what they share at Member Meetings.

To stay true to our guiding principles, we’d like to know who you’d be interested in hearing from at our member meetings this year. We created a form for you to recommend individuals or collaborations in the St. Louis region you admire and want to learn more about. This form will remain open throughout the year as new people and coalitions come to mind!

Finally, we’ve made a small change to the calendar for 2018. Our bi-monthly member meetings will move to the third Wednesday of the months we hold member meetings. Our first member meeting of the year will be Wednesday, February 21, 11:30a – 1:30p – As usual, lunch will be provided. We’re hard at work securing a speaker for the first member meeting. As soon as we have a final decision, you’ll hear from us. See you in February!

25 October 2017

October Member Meeting asks, “Why Do You Do What You Do?”

About a dozen Thread members gathered together on October 17 for the October Member Meeting. The meeting focused on storytelling, particularly through the lens of public narrative. According to the work of renowned community organizer-turned-academic Marshall Ganz, public narrative is comprised of three parts: Story of Self, Story of Us, and Story of Now. According to Ganz, being able to tell an authentic public narrative is an important part of organizing and leadership, inviting others to be in relationship with you, to join your community, and to take action.

After getting a brief introduction to the concept, meeting attendees broke into groups to practice identifying and sharing elements of their own stories:

  • Challenge: What challenges and major tipping points have shaped, changed, or clarified your personal values? Which of these personal values show up in the work you do as a Community Partnership leader?
  • Action: How did you process these challenges or major tipping points? What choices did you make as a result? What actions did you take?
  • Now: What is your personal mission? What is your current role? Why do you feel called to serve in your current role?

A debrief discussion revealed several themes. Although many meeting attendees felt challenged in identifying the specific moments and turning points along their path that led them to the work they do today, they each felt that their work is deeply personal. Many named the values of justice and community as guideposts in their work and it likely comes as no surprise that meeting attendees thus feel compelled to act and lead in ways that make the St. Louis region more just.

A copy of the facilitation materials used for the Member Meeting is available to Thread members on the Resources page. Thread encourages its members to incorporate these concepts into their own work as a means to build and strengthen relationships among their stakeholders and to begin to build public narrative muscle. Thread looks forward to building off this meeting and the Story of Self into future member meetings and activities.