Priorities & Projects

Diversity in Leadership Project

Diversity in Leadership

The Diversity in Leadership Project aims to increase diverse representation in voluntary leadership positions in the community using a two-pronged approach: supporting organizations/agencies/stakeholder groups to support board diversity & inclusion; and supporting individuals from under-represented communities to participate and engage in leadership positions. The following activities were offered during this project:

TCLIP in partnership with Vantage Point organized a Board Diversity & Inclusion workshop. This workshop engaged 25 senior leaders (Executive Directors, senior staff) and board of directors from different sectors across the Tri-Cities and Metro Vancouver, including arts, social service agencies, community support services, etc. The workshop covered strategies on recruitment and retention of diverse leaders including tools to support the selection process. Discussions from this workshop highlighted the need for more opportunities to connect current leaders with diverse leadership candidates. Strategies on how to deepen existing volunteer engagement within organizations were also discussed.

Storytelling workshops engaged two cohorts of leadership candidates from typically under-represented communities. Using a public narrative framework developed by Dr. Marshall Ganz from Harvard University, participants attended a series of workshops to learn how to be able to present their stories to Board of Directors. The aim of the workshop series is to increase participants’ confidence in sharing their stories and using the power of storytelling to support their leadership goals. Participants were able to access individual coaching sessions with the facilitator to refine their stories in anticipation of an upcoming networking event with current Board of Directors.

A Board Roles and Responsibilities workshop was also organized in partnership with Vantage Point. This workshop was intended to engage diverse individuals who are looking to participate in leadership levels; however, it attracted both the intended audience and existing board members who wanted more information on the topic. The workshop covered the fundamental fiduciary roles of board of directors. Participants were able to share their experiences and learn from one another. Leadership candidates were able to learn from more experienced board members and were able to network more meaningfully.

A virtual networking event was held between leadership candidates and current Board members/ senior leadership. Leadership candidates were able to present their stories which spoke to their passions, interests and goals. Thereafter, the group were divided into smaller groups to connect with current leaders for more informal networking. The group was able to rotate twice to enable more opportunities for connections. From this event, there was an interest to have more ongoing networking opportunities between current and future leaders, as well as the interest to continue offline conversations with individual future leaders. As a result of this feedback, TCLIP provided a contact list of the leadership candidates including their bios. The list was provided to the board members/ leaders in attendance.

Based on participant feedback, TCLIP created a private Facebook group for leadership candidates to continue to connect with each other. The candidates wanted to continue to stay in touch with each other and share their progress. TCLIP will also share local board opportunities within this group to further support their leadership goals.

In addition to the individual coaching sessions offered by the workshop facilitator in developing their stories, leadership candidates were also offered individual coaching sessions by TCLIP staff in preparation for their story presentations. Staff were able to offer constructive feedback on their stories and provide moral support to boost their confidence prior to the presentation.

The Diversity in Leadership project has demonstrated the desire and need to engage diverse voices in leadership roles in the community, but more importantly, it has shown the potential for systemic change when intent, commitment and opportunity are brought together.

From this project, we witnessed organizations re-committing their intention to engage diverse voices at all levels of their organizations. We learned that although board members were willing to include diversity at the leadership level, many didn’t have the networks to find these diverse candidates. There is a great opportunity for organizations to share these opportunities with the wider community in order for more diverse candidates to become more aware of them. There continues to be interest and need to further develop this project. The Tri-Cities Local Immigration Partnership, with the support of partners, intends to secure additional funding sources to continue to enhance this project.