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Conference Reflections: Break Silos, Learn from Missteps, Apply the Knowledge

8632425081_ab0fc83280_zThe following is written by Alexis King, Steering Committee Member of the EPIP-NY Chapter, and staff at Living Cities, Inc. 

Priding itself as a space that supports innovation in philanthropy, this year’s EPIP Annual Conference, LEAD!, did not disappoint in the range and depth of knowledge explored. There are three major points addressed during the conference that serve as great takeaways for attendees and the EPIP members unable to attend.

Breaking silos. Throughout the conference there were many references to silos that block resources, connections, and opportunities to various communities. This year’s EPIP Conference made strides to not only address these silos but to ensure that the conversation help the next generation of leaders in philanthropy break those silos. From the lunch Plenary Session on Thursday, April 4th that exchanged ideas on how foundations can think outside of the box, to the honest and candid, “The Personal  is Political: Race, Class, and Gender as Ongoing Conversation” and, “‘Doing Good’ in the Twenty-First Century” concurrent sessions, the conversations to create action tools included an emphasis on expanding  allies for your work and thinking with a cross sectored mindset for how to combat these silos were a stride in the right direction as a philanthropic community.

Different paths to being the leader you want to be: Learning from our missteps. EPIP attendees were eager to learn how to be the next generation of leaders. In addressing this question, there were several panels, knowledge and mentoring sessions that all gave great advice on how to make it to the top while learning from our missteps. During his opening session, EPIP Executive Director, Rahsaan Harris described how his life journey provided him with the tools to be the Executive Director. Everyone’s path will be different–but the consistent message was that we will all make mistakes. We must not be discouraged because these mistakes are lessons that will shape the type of leaders that we hope to become. Be fearless and make mistakes, because we’re a couple of mistakes away from a power move!

Applying the knowledge. This year EPIPers wanted more action. Chicago serving as the backdrop for the conference provided the perfect balance of questions that needed answers and actions to answer these questions. Attendees come from all over the country, and the conference this year made sure to highlight the city chosen, Chicago. Integrating location specific problems, this year’s conference allowed all attendees to go beyond learning new tools to finding actionable solutions. Placed based learning tours mixed with universal tools allowed attendees to focus on making everything that was discussed/learned during these jammed packed days actionable for when we all return to our respective places of work.

If you want to relive or get a sneak peek of the 2013 EPIP National Conference be sure to check out this link here for pictures, tweets and videos! Also, make sure to share the knowledge that was learned at the conference by staying connected to the EPIP network both locally and nationally.

This series, “Conference Reflections,” will feature a new post from one of our 2013 National Conference participants. To check out more of what happened during those three magical days, check out this site. And follow these posts to hear more from the fabulous leaders who made it what is was.  

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