As I have spent the last two and a half years travelling and visiting throughout our organization, I have become convinced that the strength of our organization depends on the strength of our connections. The soul work of spiritual care and education requires that we tend to our own souls and spirits and education, and nurturing the connections with our colleagues is vital to this endeavor.
Communities of Practice provide us with a powerful and flexible frame to support and develop our vital connections with colleagues. Through them we dream together, we solve problems, we risk, and we grow. I’m a passionate believer in the power of CoPs to strengthen our professional practice and identity. And so it was easy for me to say “Yes” when the opportunity came to serve our organization as Director of Communities of Practice. I am excited to devote my full time work to strengthening these connections that are so vital to our work. I see this work as a pastoral work that will require a healthy dose of creativity and administrative skills. We have got a lot of work to do, my friends!
The bulk of my work over the coming months will be getting to know the CoPs better – especially those that are beyond the East Coast, where I’ve been serving as DCPM. I will be meeting with CoP leadership and attending CoP gatherings. Look for more communication from me in your inbox.
Many of our CoPs are already doing amazing work. They are asking important questions, engaging conversation, and building community. Part of my role will be to help tell these stories. We will be rolling out The Sandbox – a CoP-focused blog that tells the stories of our CoPs and provides tips and resources for those who participate. My hope is that through interviews, articles, reviews, and more, the Sandbox will become a place to share ideas about the questions we’re asking in our communities, and the ways we’re building the conversations. Look for information about the roll out soon!
There are CoPs that are struggling to find their place. Several have decided not to continue as a CoP. Perhaps one or two passionate leaders have had to bow out, or finding a regular time to meet via Zoom has proven too difficult. I’ve begun doing some consultation with these communities, and plan to do more. If you have questions along these lines, or would like some help thinking through roadblocks that your CoP is facing, please reach out!
There will also be some behind the scenes work that many of our members won’t see, but will hopefully feel the effects. We’ll be streamlining the financial reporting process so that we can provide regular and accurate reports to CoP leadership. Your event planning team – Terry and Tiffany – will continue to provide excellent service as they continue to learn about the wide-ranging needs of our various CoPs and enhance the systems that support these events. We’ll also be developing some training for our Professional Well-Being committee as they attend to the professional and organizational well-being.
As I said, we’ve got a lot of work to do. I am honored to have this opportunity to serve our organization, and I look forward to hearing from YOU!