A Letter from a Design Team Member for our Spring Leadership Exchange

From left to right: Kristian, Kira, Lisa, and Shawn

Learning how to collaborate can be hard. Especially collaborating with strangers. This can make us feel uncomfortable, asking open-ended questions: What my style of process information? What am I doing here? Why am I working with these strangers? How can I trust these people enough to share my thoughts and feelings? Can you respect me? Can I respect you? Can we work effectively together? Why do I sense these feelings? What is really our purpose in working together? 

All of these questions can trigger negative personal feelings. Sometimes collaborating can make us uncomfortable, uneasy, or insecure. It can remind us of trauma that triggers remnants of our past. This is all hard, but don’t let it blind you from experiencing the beauty of collaboration!

The beauty of collaboration is that you get to challenge yourself and what you think is “normal” to you and take it all in as a new form of humility and learning. It influences our original perceptions by evolving a new “normal”. It challenges us to be open-minded and take a step out of our comfort zone; to question ourselves, our intentions and our abilities. It pushes people to come together, and helps people develop new relationships and ideas.

Which leads me to this upcoming Leadership Exchange: “Co-Creating Community for These Times”. In these times, there are many things that worry us, to name a few: automation and jobs, government politics, education, poverty, inequality. It is times like these when communities should come together and collaborate to find an outlet to overcome our pain and frustrations individually and collectively, as a community.

Yes, we are all different with different personalities, characteristics, values, beliefs, knowledge, and principles. Yes, we identify ourselves differently. Love differently. Learn differently. See things differently.  And do many more things differently. Yes, we are all beautiful in our own way, and embracing the beauty within ourselves and others will help us accept the challenges of collaborating to work in solidarity for a larger common cause or struggle.

At any time, it will be challenging to co-create communities, but there are many of us who are longing to connect and help for different reasons. Let us continue to build this dialogue and movement to lend a hand. Let us continue to share knowledge and wisdom. Let us continue to be open to vulnerability. Let us be a resource to each other. And let us empower each other.

So I extend my invitation to you, by inviting you to share the beauty of your differentness and see if we can co-create a community for these times. And I thank my leadership design team members, Shawn, Kira, and Kristian for signing up to be a part of this effort. I have attached a picture for you to see the progress of our collaboration in knowing each other for only two weeks!

Yours very truly,

Lisa Phan

Lisa Phan is currently working at Perkins Coie, LLP, and attending University of San Francisco for her Masters in Public Administration.

Come join us at the 7th Oakland Leadership Exchange and meet this collaborative Design Team!

Spring Leadership Exchange Event Details

Co-Creating Community For These Times

Saturday, May 20, 2017


~Registration includes a delicious lunch & light breakfast~

**RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY by registering through Eventbrite.**

Check out our event page on Facebook!


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