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IC TIG Week: June 5th is My Independence Day by Mindelyn Anderson & Geri Lynn Peak

Hi, I am Mindelyn Anderson, Ph.D.,  Founder + Principal Consultant of Mirror Group LLC, LEEAD* Protege, and IC TIG Program Co-Chair.  Hi, I am Geri Lynn Peak, DrPH, Chief Insight Facilitator of Two Gems Consulting Services and Itinerant Social Actionist, 3X LEEAD Mentor, Mirror Group Birth Doula. We are sharing our experiences of how our relationship of mentor (Geri) & mentee (Mindelyn) helped leverage independence for transformation.

As the nation celebrates Juneteenth and the 4th of July, in fact, June 5th is my (Mindelyn) Independence Day. On that date 3 years ago, Mirror Group LLC was born in the basement efficiency my husband, myself, and our 3 daughters ages 3 and under called home. It was a time of transition. I had submitted my letter of resignation closing the door on my first career as a tenure-track professor and opening the window to what lay ahead as a small business owner.

Hot Tip: Get a mentor. Mindelyn came to the LEEAD program with a mission to transition!  I (Geri) listened to her words and heart weekly, with her youngest daughter in tow, and supported creating goals that were professional and personal.

Cool Trick: Set a Goal Action Plan that accounts for personal and professional growth. My (Geri) engagement as a mentor covered everything from negotiating contracts to soothing her husband’s nerves.  I encouraged a level of orderliness I personally eschew, and counseled flexibility with the rules for founding a business.

Mindelyn Anderson’s LEEAD short- and long-term goals co-developed with Geri-Lynn Peak circa 2016:

Mindelyn Anderson’s handwritten LEEAD short- and long-term goals co-developed with Geri-Lynn Peak circa 2016

Rad Resource: Engage in Virtues companioning to surface your wildest dreams. I (Mindelyn) shadowed Geri “walking the talk” of running a business rooted in liberatory values in service of “transforming selves and systems” through evaluation, facilitation, learning and action grounded in community.

Hot Tip: Do what you love so you can love what you do. Geri set a living example of what it means to be a servant-leader in transformational work.  Whether uplifting communities or causes, there is room in evaluation to support meaningful change.

Cool Tricks: kick-start your portfolio apprenticing as a contractor so you can claim the gigs as consulting experience. Geri wrote me (Mindelyn) into contracts, introduced me to clients, and connected me to partners. We collaborated in complementary ways on all things from participatory budgeting and planning to culturally-responsive reporting and dissemination.

Lessons Learned:  Going back to where you know you don’t belong ain’t gonna work. Resist the urge to return to the familiar, and instead nurture Brave Space to craft what works for you in alignment with your values.

Lessons Learned: Practice a pace of grace, dream without boundaries, and make room for the inevitable stumbles. Leaning in with a “learning posture” as our colleague Amy Desai Graham would say is a prerequisite to the work. It is not easy, and it is necessary!

*LEEAD = Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating IC TIG Week with our colleagues in the Independent Consulting Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our IC TIG 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@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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