Earlier this month, 21/64 Certified Advisors working at community foundations across the US joined us for a peer gathering. We wanted to create an opportunity to connect, to be in community with each other and quite simply, to be human among peers. We asked What have you learned about yourself personally and professionally in this last year to understand what they’ve learned, and the quotes above are a small sample of the illuminating conversation that ensued.
Regardless of the sector we work in, 21/64 Certified Advisors share a common purpose, to help folks be strategic in their decisions by understanding their humanity. This work can often be lonely and now more than ever, our own sense of self is paramount as we navigate change at every level. We think of 21/64 as a community of practice, where self and role are welcome and how to put the ideas, tools and frameworks from training to work evolves as the world continuously evolves around us.
The conversation focused on this moment and provided space to acknowledge what we had been hearing from the field over this last year. 21/64 Certified Advisors from coast to coast talked about a greater urgency of grant-making to support local basic needs. They shared how their white donors needed to talk about racial equity in more intentional ways. We heard how donors facing their own mortality are prioritizing legacy conversations. We heard about all the zoom fails, the texting that now passes for professional correspondence, monotony of days and challenges of bandwidth while working at home. Everyone has been forced to try new things, be adaptable and, of course, pivot. With the groundwork laid, the conversation shifted to what has been working and what new opportunities have been created.
I will admit that going into the session, my narrative was that last year was hard. I thought we would host a subset of 21/64 Certified Advisors and give them a space to lament, wrestle with their challenges or air their complaints. Instead, what I heard was resilience, purpose and a lot of hard work, resulting in silver linings. A few examples are:
The book, Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life by psychologist Susan David, was given to our team by 21/64’s Executive Director, Danielle Oristian York. Dr. David’s concept around agility was exactly what I was observing in this conversation earlier this month. She writes:
“Emotionally agile people are not immune to stresses and setbacks. The key difference is that they know how to adapt, aligning their actions with their values and making small but powerful changes that lead to a lifetime of growth.”
It is a privilege to be on this journey with talented professionals who illustrate emotional agility in their work with donors and communities all across the country and to observe their contributions to the field and the support of each other. This experience with a subset of our large and growing 21/64 Certified Advisor network reminded me of why we do this work with professionals leading change as well as with families experiencing it- change is inevitable and the more we can support one another to navigate it effectively, the better our world will be. I’m grateful to fellow 21/64 Certified Advisors whom I admire and learn so much from.
Senior Director, 21/64