We at Reach Partners are big Priya Parker fans. We devoured her book “The Art of Gathering” and even attended an event curated by her.
So when Parker penned an opinion column that ran in The New York Time before Thanksgiving, we paid attention. Titled “Abandon Your Thanksgiving Script,” the column addressed the need to think differently about holiday traditions during a year when nothing has been normal.
Parker challenged her readers to think imaginatively: “That begins with shifting our attitudes from fighting the current constraints to taking inspiration from them.”
As someone who studies and designs gatherings, she most often sees two responses to constraints on gathering: cancellation and rebellion. She encourages a third option: improv.
We’ve seen this play out in our own work and experiences over the last year.
Whenever we plan an event, an in-depth meeting, a social gathering, or virtual experience Reach Partners will always argue for the same thing. Every time.
This thing is the most important detail for every planned interaction. It is the life blood of our work and what drives us to do better every day. Most importantly it’s the power, the energy that fuels the work at hand.
How do you tap into this energy? How do you make it work for you? Draw the right audience? Craft the right marketing activities? Align stakeholders? Create value?
You start by defining purpose.
Project managers are good at risk management.
One of the things we do is identify what we can’t control and then find solutions or actions to mitigate these things. Typically, this means we’re thinking through things like potentially bad weather affecting an outdoor event or how to contain a protester at a women’s event.
These types of risk management plans are appropriate, necessary, and responsible.
And then along came the coronavirus pandemic. We’re not going to lie – this challenges even those of us who spend a lot of time identifying and planning for risks.
A new year – and possibly a new decade?! – will be here before we know it.
As we celebrate Christmas and New Year's with our family and friends, we also will spend some time reflecting on all that happened in 2019 and all we dream of for 2020.
No year is perfect. Frustrations and disappointments often walk hand-in-hand with beauty and exhilaration. Tears and laughter become close neighbors.
And yet, each new year stretches with the promise of possibility. Below are some of the possibilities we discovered in 2019. May you find your own in 2020.
Here’s your challenge for the month: Take on the difficult project that nobody else wants to do.
Or volunteer to handle the assignment that has been kicked back-and-forth between team members and do it with gusto.
Whoa … what?!
That’s right. Next time someone makes a request that nobody else wants to take on, make eye contact with the person and say, “yes.” Become the go-to person who solves problems and has an enthusiastic attitude.
Here’s how you can be the hero when facing a tough project:
In case you hadn’t noticed, we LOVE the color purple.
Since we began, our Reach Partners identity has been represented by shades of the color. We think purple perfectly represents our values of gratitude, integrity, beauty, possibility, and empathy. Plus, it makes a powerful, but accessible statement.
We never stop planning and setting goals. (We are project managers, after all).
We do it for our clients, our professional selves AND our personal selves.
This year, we’re even doing it for our summer.
We love Christmas.
The lights. The celebrations. The holiday wishes from partners and friends that arrive in our mailbox daily. Everything feels a little happier this time of year.
For us, it’s also a time to pause and reflect on the joy we experience year round. We are blessed and grateful, and delight in brainstorming ways we can share that joy with others.
In recognition of this, last year we decided at add a holiday tradition at Reach Partners.
My favorite conversation of this summer, by far, has to be the allusion that was drawn between what we do at Reach Partners and the support that Santa’s workshop provides him.
I measure success by growth. Success is less about accomplishing ‘x’ number of goals, but it is about being a more competent and capable person after the fact. It’s about being a dependable and reliable member of the team. This summer, especially my time as a project intern, has been successful.
I entered the summer with, what I would consider, marginal project management experience. Over my time in the office I took on tasks that appeared too large for me and committed myself to ideals that were definitely larger than me. I was awarded the opportunity to audit meetings and lead conversations. I contributed to ideas and decisions that will impact the community for generations to come. I took far more from this opportunity than I was able to give back and I am incredibly grateful for that. Thank you for taking me in, teaching me so much, and supporting me as I spread my wings.
Project Intern - Reach Partners, “We’re the elves.”
Artists, community organizers, program directors, designers, urban planners, large community developers, small HUD offices, mayors, directors, university fellows converged in Phoenix at the generosity of ArtPlace America to explore, share and learn from the observations of those involved in creative placemaking across the country. I was one of the grateful 250 to inquire and learn from the exquisite experts, poets, social organizers and disruptors who shared space.
Artplace America is 10-year collaboration of private and public funders with a focus on community planning and development with arts and culture at the core. I attended because of involvement as Communication Manager with The Fargo Project, a 2014 grantee of the National Placemaking Fund.
I don’t want to forget. So what follows is the summary of the connections I made from notes, conversations, and speakers at the 2016 ArtPlace America Summit. With openness and vulnerability each was willing to share their pieces of discovery and the passionate well of curiosity from which they draw and apply to the work (or is it play?) within their place. Together we learned some of the characteristics of great creative placemaking, the challenges, sources of discovery, the advocates, and distinguished the markers of success.