GBEN Affiliate Week: GBEN’s Equity Plan and Strategies by Noe Medina and Matan BenYishay

Hello and welcome to the third in a series of articles from the Greater Boston Evaluation Network (GBEN) sharing what we have experienced and learned about running our affiliate. This article is focused on our efforts to incorporate equity concepts into our ongoing planning and operations. I am Noe Medina (he/him) and I serve as a co-chair of the GBEN committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). I am joined by Matan BenYishay (he/him), GBEN Vice-President, who also serves on the DEI committee.

GBEN established its DEI committee in 2020 to create a vision for diversity, equity, and inclusion for the organization and to develop a corresponding DEI Plan to advance this vision. With funding from the Barr Foundation, GBEN contracted with a consultant, Kimberly Truong, to collect relevant information and develop a preliminary plan. Over a 5-month period, the consultant worked with the GBEN leadership team to conduct a series of interviews, focus groups, and planning meetings with GBEN leaders, members, and non-members resulting in the generation of a DEI Strategic Plan. It incorporated a series of short-term and longer-term recommendations focusing on 4 themes: (1) Organizational Governance, (2) Organizational culture shift to focus on connections, collaboration, and capacity-building, (3) Increase diversity of membership and outreach efforts, and (4) Establish pathways to evaluation careers and culture.

The DEI Strategic Plan was only the first step in a longer and more complicated planning process that GBEN undertook to begin to implement these recommendations through our general strategic planning. This process was led by the Executive Committee (including GBEN officers and committee co-chairs) and also directly involved the GBEN standing committees (governance, communications, membership, programming, and DEI). We reviewed draft general strategic planning goals and help deep discussions to unpack the intent behind the goal statements, how they interacted with each other, and how they advanced DEI. These discussions also provided space for personal reflections and collective discussions by the Executive Committee members regarding their understanding of DEI, its importance to a volunteer professional organization like GBEN, and its place within the broader evaluation field. These discussions culminated in a new four-year (2022-25) Strategic Plan for GBEN that incorporated the recommendations of the DEI Strategic Plan and identified short-term and longer-term metrics of success that incorporated DEI considerations. 

DEI Strategic Goal: Embed DEI principles into the fabric of the organization.

Here’s what we mean:

  • Principle-focused approach: GBEN leadership develops, uses, and refines a set of DEI-informed principles for decision-making.
  • Reflective practice and improvement: GBEN leadership continually reviews, discusses, and improves our work to evaluate how it is advancing equity or perpetuating inequity.
  • Inclusive approach: GBEN leadership learns from and partners with GBEN members (in particular, members of color and new and emerging evaluators) to improve our practices, using the principle of invitation without burden.
  • Distributed leadership: GBEN leadership minimizes hierarchy within the GBEN Executive Committee, within other committees, and in GBEN community-building and programming efforts.

Within the DEI Committee, we organized a series of small work groups to work towards these goals. Two products of those work groups were the DEI guiding questions to help the organization make more equitable decisions and the Equitable Evaluation Discussion Group for member capacity-building and networking. Both products will be discussed in more detail in later articles in the series.

A workflow of the stages of GBEN's DEI strategy
GBEN’s DEI strategic workflow

Rad Resources:

Here is the complete GBEN DEI Plan/Needs Assessment and Recommendations.

Rad Resource:

The GBEN Strategic Plan is a living, adaptable document that describes how the organization will fulfill its mission to promote excellence, innovation and equity in evaluation among professional and aspiring evaluators, and those who align their work with the discipline of evaluation in Greater Boston. 

Rad Resource:

Here is the List of DEI Committee strategic objectives which demonstrates cross-committee collaborations within GBEN.

The American Evaluation Association is hosting the Greater Boston Evaluation Network (GBEN) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to AEA365 come from GBEN members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this AEA365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the AEA365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an AEA365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to AEA365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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