by CCDA member, Lisa Ellis
Lisa Ellis is part of the CCDA Pacific Northwest Local Network & participated in CCDA’s organizational development series this summer. Our “Strengthening Your Organization” Series is designed to support, educate and equip organizations on current and best organizational development practices. Each class includes training, resources, and tools for implementation along with opportunities for participants to interact with peers and speakers. Read more of Lisa’s reflections on her time in the series below.
How did you get connected to CCDA?
My thread into CCDA began in 2000, with a service project while attending North Park University in Chicago, IL. My work-study job in the alumni office had a local reunion event for recent graduates to invest energy and heart into the Cabrini Green area of Northern Chicago which was going through a transformation process for community flourishing. We gave some TLC to apartments and sat with families and community leaders who shared their stories of faithful resilience through systemic housing and violence in Chicago. It was then that the John and Vera Mae Perkins Center was introduced with an invitation to learn more, so I signed up for their newsletter.
Years later, living north of Seattle, I was surprised to have a pastor invite me to gather a group to attend the 2015 Faith and Race series where Dr. Rev. Brenda Salter McNeil and Pastor Mike Thompson shared the realities of the work ahead in her new book, Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness, and Justice. We had just finished our own Faith and Race town halls and a Sunday morning group that went through her study and began a subversive movement called On the Journey.
Then, I met Rev. Dominique Gilliard in 2018 for the first time as he presented his first book, Rethinking Incarceration, with a church in Seattle. Soon after, in 2019, I attended the SPU John Perkins Center Lecture Series, where guest Dr. Michael O. Emerson shared on the upcoming 20-year anniversary of his book, Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America.
In 2020, when the COVID pandemic hit, I searched for CCDA opportunities and found a PNW regional network monthly zoom meet-up. Going to my first CCDA National Conference in 2021, #ccdaReimagine, in Kansas City was like a graduation or confirmation celebration for me!
Why did you apply for this organizational development series?
This series caught my eye with my new role on a leadership team for a new not-for-profit after-school teen center in NW Washington. I wanted to hear about current resources from others after serving on a church leadership team for 4 years where covid and other complications caused us to seek out effective resources. I hoped to gather current tools from CCD leaders on relevant topics to help build long-term organizational success. The hope was to learn about best practices/resources, and connect to people for problem-solving. We hoped, as a result, that our organization’s development toolbox would further benefit community partnerships.
What were some of the main takeaways you took from the series?
Organization development moves along well, when intentional care is given to all areas from staff development and care, to community partnerships, tech resources, and donor relations. The Diversity playbook tools were key for us to hear from and consider who is being served well and given agency and ownership in all areas of the organization.
How have you or how do you plan to start incorporating the things you learned?
I would love to see our organization engage in an initial overview or check-up for each topic. We could go from there by focusing on 2-3 areas that need more urgent attention to move our first years forward in health. Then we can schedule periodic reviews of each area thereafter.