Leading Intentionally: A CM Retreat for Equity and Change

What are we doing and why should you join us:

Leading:  If you believe that the status quo is not good enough, if you believe that we live in a changing world and are called upon to participate in and engage others in making things better, then you are a leader.

Intentionally:  When we know ourselves, get curious about other people and take the time to think through how we show up in a collective effort to improve our communities and systems, we find opportunities to choose who we want to be and what we want to do with intent.

Retreat: We are not moving away from anything, rather we are slowing down, caring for ourselves and, in a nurturing environment, exploring who we are as leaders in diverse groups, what our work should be, and how we will take it on intentionally.

Equity: We aspire to live in a world where every individual has access, agency and opportunity to live the life they choose to. We know we have work to do in our systems, structures and society to get there and the path might be arduous.  

Change: There is comfort in the known.  If we believe that the status quo is not working for everyone, then we must be prepared to lead in the face of discomfort and hold a space for others to be uncomfortable with us in service of equity.

Over 3 days, participants will 1) reflect on who they are as cultural beings and leaders; 2) learn about leadership, historically and culturally, in order to be intentional about their practice; 3) become more intentional leaders in multi-cultural settings; and 4) experience and build skills as leaders in the midst of discomfort and change.  

The retreat will be held in beautiful Boulder, Colorado from October 9-11, 2018. Early bird registration is $750.00 + tax and fees. Starting August 1st, full registration is $850 + tax and fees. The registration fee includes all materials, breakfast, and lunch for the three days of the event.

Final day for registration is 09/14/2018.

CM Change Specialists have been working in the field of leadership for decades – from our earlier years at Georgetown University to our current work as capacity builders with leaders from different systems.

At Change Matrix, we see a need for new voices to emerge – ones that go beyond traditional leadership frameworks and approaches. We are offering our own take on adaptive leadership from a multi-cultural lens through a series of retreats. Our first retreat is focused on an area that is near and dear to us: Equity.

Join our retreat ─ Leading Intentionally: A Change Matrix Retreat for Equity and Change– to continue (or begin) your journey of reflection, observation, courage, and growth. Explore how do you show up as a leader when addressing issues of equity and disparities to promote change. Care for yourself. Take a risk.

Register now!


For logistics questions, please contact Jennifer Ratliff at 702-498-0056 or jratliff@changematrix.org

For training questions, please contact Suganya Sockalingam at 702-219-7379 or ssockalingam@changematrix.org

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Reflecting on LGBTQ Pride Month (June) and Anticipating National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (July)

According to my research via the internet, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Pride Month (LGBTQ Pride Month) is celebrated this month (June) to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan. The Stonewall riots refer to what happened when the New York City police force raided a popular Greenwich Village gay bar, the Stonewall Inn on Friday evening, June 27, 1969.  Though raids were not unusual in 1969, that night the patrons in the bar resisted arrest, fought back, and continued protesting for several nights now known as the Stonewall Riots.

My understanding is that prior to that summer in 1969, there was little information known of the lives and experiences of gays and lesbians. The riots marked the beginning of the gay liberation movement which continues to nip at the heels of the conservative social mores of US mainstream communities. The movement engages the community-at-large to fully face the oppression of gay and lesbian individuals and to take action to support LGBTQ  pride and action.

Today, PRIDE month encompass a month-long series of events. Today, celebrations include pride parades, celebratory events like picnics, parties, and concerts, and academic activities such as workshops and symposia.  LGBT Pride Month is now celebrated throughout the world, attracting millions of participants. Most importantly, during this month memorials are held for community members who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The intent behind this PRIDE month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning individuals in society on the local, national and international stage.

July is the National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (NMMHAM) and during this month organizations will create mental health awareness opportunities in diverse communities. The US House of Representatives proclaimed July as this special month in 2008, aiming to improve access to mental health treatment and services through increased public awareness.  Since 2008, many organizations have hosted a variety of events and activities in communities across the country each year. The National Network to Eliminate Disparities (a SAMHSA-supported initiative) hosts a Facebook page that provides information and resources for NMMHAM each July.

America’s entire mental health system needs transformation, including services to marginalized communities. We need to learn more about how we can get involved with the events connected to Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. If you are planning events to celebrate Minority Health Awareness, share your event, it’s purpose, and whom you hope to reach so that we can share broadly with other interested organizations.

Contributed by: Suganya Sockalingam
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Supporting Equitable Communities Through Technical Assistance

What is an “equitable community?” What role do social determinants of health, and inequalities or disparities in health, housing, education, justice, access to services, or in affordability, appropriateness, safety and stability play in building and maintaining an equitable community? Where does equitable and timely access to information fit in? And how does Change Matrix (CM) respectfully inspire sustainable community growth and change, build on expertise in the community, and keep power in the community?

“Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say ‘We have done this ourselves.”         -Lao Tzu

Since the 1979 publication of “Healthy People: The Surgeon General’s Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention,” the US Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) has focused on the reduction of health disparities. Nearly 40 years later, many of the same health disparities mentioned in that report persist. In fact, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee on Community-based Solutions to Promote Health Equity in the United States, recently noted that, “racial and ethnic disparities are arguably the most obstinate inequities in health over time, despite the many strides that have been made to improve health in the United States.”

(NOTE: We are broadly defining “community” – for example, a geographic community, an organization or institution, a diverse population, or a population that shares the same culture.)

Contributing to some of the observed health disparities is a racial divide in the US, where non-white populations – particularly African American communities – bear the brunt of individual, community and institutional biases, discrimination and racism. In such an environment it is unlikely that disparities will be eliminated. Rather, research demonstrates that toxic stress, such as that experienced when people encounter racism and implicit or overt bias, can lead to poor health outcomes and exacerbate disparities.

Knowing health and other disparities exist at disproportionate rates for some communities in our country, what are we doing about it? One thing (CM) offers is technical assistance (TA) to communities and programs – many of which have experienced and/or work to address the disparities described above.

For those who have limited interactions with the federal government, the term TA may not resonate. We have been asked if our work in TA is related to information technology (IT) services, or some other high-tech field. Actually, our work is grounded in local, state, tribal and territory communities and exists to support their goals and anticipated outcomes. We make an effort to meet people where they are at. We go to them, we listen and learn from them and we help them grow, while often sharing in that growth experience.

The way TA is delivered and the way it is received can and does look different for each individual program or community. For example, one program may require assistance locating information/resources on evidence-based, best practices in their field. For this type of request, the TA delivered is straightforward and relatively quick to deliver. Another program may require assistance developing a sustainability plan for their work. This type of request is much more involved and requires the TA provider to learn about the program’s current structure, staffing and services and their vision for the future. It also requires an understanding of the social, political and fiscal environments, project scope, key stakeholders, community buy-in/involvement, etc. – all of which can have an impact on sustainability and any related planning.

TA depends not only on a community’s needs, but also on its culture, as well as on a consideration of how the community itself wants and best receives information and support. Regardless of the need, request, or delivery, the most successful TA is received voluntarily, where a community or program truly asks for and wants it, and is willing and able to invest time and resources.

Consistent with CM’s core values and guiding philosophy, we believe that to be effective and sustainable, TA needs to be respectful, honest, responsive, and provided in partnership with the recipient. To work in partnership with a community or program, TA needs to be approached with humility, equality, and transparency. Humility that enables everyone to learn from each other; equality in power and expertise that values the community or organization as the experts about themselves, their context, their experiences, and that values the TA provider for their experience and skills; and transparency with information and expectations, and a fundamental principle of transparency is unfiltered honesty. TA needs to be bidirectional: not only can the community benefit from what TA has to offer, but TA providers can learn and grow deeply from the expertise and magic within a community.

Any other approach to providing TA, any other perspective about the necessary transparency involved in providing TA truly disempowers the community/recipient. It assumes that the community isn’t on equal footing, can’t “handle” certain information, or doesn’t deserve to or isn’t capable of making an informed decision about what is best for them. In fact, it is culturally destructive. Any lack of transparency in sharing information about or related to the community in a timely fashion serves to perpetuate and control a power differential. There is a saying, “how you do anything (or one thing) is how you do everything.” At CM we try not to make a distinction between our professional and personal philosophy — that philosophy is based on humility, equality, and transparency, and we aim to practice this philosophy in all we do, including TA.

Related Resources:

Contributed by: London Losey, Naomi Ortega Tein, Rachele Espiritu
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