WES Blog – Trust: Collaboration!

As was evident in my smile, I suspect, I had a great time spending this past Sunday’s platform in conversation with Jé Hooper, storaë michelle, and Elyse Ambrose. We spoke about trust, love, and how to repair broken relationships–and so many nuggets of wisdom came out. One takeaway for me was their commitment to approaching challenges with an attempt not to compromise, but to collaborate. It caught my attention because I’d just shared a quote about collaboration on Facebook a few days earlier: “Collaboration is not about gluing together existing egos. It’s about the ideas that never existed until after everyone entered the room.” 

I love that idea–which also resonates with a book I’m reading, “Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age” by Juana Bordas. Bordas emphasizes the importance of the collective, the prioritizing of community rather than, or in addition to, individuality or individualism. You know when something keeps popping up around you, it feels like it’s time to pay attention? 

So I have been thinking about all the places that I see collaboration happening at WES, and the places where we can bring collaboration even more fully into reality. L.A.’s work as Interim Director of Lifelong Learning definitely tops the list for me…or really, OUR work, as a community, during the interim time. We have an opportunity to work together, to share what we love about SEEK and about lifelong learning opportunities, and to think together about how we want to grow and deepen our connections with each other. You’ll be hearing more from L.A. and me about specific plans for that work together soon, but in the meantime know that L.A. is beginning their collaboration by talking with many of you, and welcomes conversations with even more. 

The Community Relations Committee has been collaborating, too, bringing together their ideas and meeting soon with the Board, and then with other groups at WES, as they get closer to a draft of a community-wide social compact about how we want to be together. That’s a place where collaboration will be needed in multiple ways, both in building the compact and also in making it alive in the community. Our being together in community is in some ways always a collaboration, looking for how the “we” that is created when we come together is bigger and different than even the sum of its individual “I’s.” 

The truth is, collaborating in this way, prioritizing community needs and health, is counter-cultural (and I’ll be talking more about THAT in platform on February 24th!). We have to build our skills to be able to do it. I hope that many of you can be with us this coming Sunday, when we welcome internationally-known speaker, author, and mediator Louise Phipps Senft to our platform; I think it will be a really extraordinary opportunity to hear from an expert. 

And at the same time, I think we are all experts on this work. Jé, storaë michelle, and Elyse certainly are. You are, or you are becoming one every time you set aside your “I know the way to do it” or even “you know the way to do it” and listen for “what way can we create together?” 
I love collaborating with all of you, and I’m learning to do it better all the time, just as everyone is. Thanks for being on the journey together. 


Amanda Poppei, Senior Leader