Tag Archives: Talent

Talent 2.0 in Baton Rouge

Crawfish in pot

via www.pamelaspunch.com

I attended the second Education Ecosystem Summit hosted by New Schools for Baton Rouge (NSBR) last week and was treated to phenomenal Southern hospitality and a glimpse into a city that’s primed for some serious systemic reform. The event was top-rate and the showing from education leaders from across the country was as impressive. NSBR’s convening power is another indicator that we should expect a lot of innovation coming from smaller cities in the near future.

I moderated a panel on the challenges, opportunities, and innovations in the talent world which included Elizabeth Shaw, CEO of Education First, Rich Harrison, CAO of Uplift Education, and Krysta DeBoer, ED of the Center for Urban Teaching who each brought very different perspectives to the topic.

The overarching theme was how to move from where we are now to the next “version” of talent practices. We called it the transition from Talent 1.0 to Talent 2.0. We defined Talent 1.0 as an era of talent practices and organizations overwhelmingly focused on building pipelines and improving evaluation. What Talent 2.0 will look like was an open question and my panel raised some excellent insights on what’s to come.* Continue reading

Let’s Talk About Race: An Uncomfortable Necessity for Education Leaders

Dialogue by Pedro Paricio

Dialogue by Pedro Paricio via Halcyon Gallery

When I’m in a professional setting and I see a conversation about race materializing, my heart beats faster and I become acutely tuned into the room’s social dynamics. My whiteness is top of mind. I interrogate my observations and comments before sharing them. I load my statements and questions with qualifiers the way you might pack a fragile vase to be shipped cross-country by freight.

And I shipped truckloads of freight on Tuesday night.

Education Pioneers (EP) hosted an alumni event called Black Lives Matter to the Education Community, where I joined about 20 education leaders representing EP’s diverse network to reflect independently and engage in small- and large-group “courageous conversations about race” prompted by the tragic deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

It’s my understanding that the event was first-come-first-served, so the demographics were largely a function of chance. Even so, the room was fairly racially diverse, although there were fewer black attendees than I would have expected considering the topic.

The Education Pioneers’ program team is full of expert facilitators so it wasn’t surprising to see a thoughtful agenda that began with introductions and brief check-ins on everyone’s feelings and expectations for the evening. “Eager,” “vulnerable,” “nervous,” and “open” were common sentiments.

But even with the best facilitation and when everyone’s part of a trusted and familiar professional network, there’s always a fair bit of hesitation to dive into a discussion about race with semi-strangers. Raising issues about race in a professional setting can be fraught with risks including personal discomfort, poorly received messages, and marginalization. As a result, public dialogue tends to be academic in nature and disassociated from lived experiences and feelings. In general, this was the tenor of the conversation on Tuesday too, but there were moments when people left their comfort zone to share their perspectives. In those moments, the room seemed quieter and participants were more reverent, sensing that something uncommon was happening.

“How incredible would it be,” I thought, “if these moments were the rule instead of the exception.”

I’ve recently vowed to be more proactive and vocal around issues of race and class in my work and am always looking for patterns, barriers, and opportunities to improve myself, my colleagues, Bellwether, and our clients. So here are my three big takeaways from the night:

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