Growing up in the South with my name – Lovely Dhillon – assured me of a few things. One, people would likely remember me, and two, that I would have to try to live up to an often used Southern expression, “lovely is as lovely does.” After having moved back to the South last year after over 20 years away, I realize how much I missed the colloquialisms, the regularly warm hellos, the willingness to engage in insightful conversation, and the sense of community.
As my new hometown, Atlanta, welcomes the AEA membership, I know Atlanta will provide that warmth, knowledge, community and, truth be told, calories. I wonder, however, what we, as a membership organization, will provide Atlanta, other host cities and the larger community around us.
Please join us as we dig into just this question through a think tank, “Designing AEA’s Collective Impact” on Friday, October 28th in Room L505 (8:00 am – 9:30 am). Drawing from AEA’s mission to “support the contribution of evaluation to the generation of theory and knowledge about effective human action,” Beverly Parsons, Denise Roosendaal, Matt Keene, Susan Wolfe and I will engage with you about ways the AEA membership does, could or should work in collective ways to impact the communities in which we have our annual meetings, and/or work collectively on engaging in broad social issues. We will investigate what organizations in other sectors do toward collective action and consider what AEA members can design and set in motion in the next few months.
One example of AEA action is the Community Psychology TIG sponsoring “Walk the Talk” sessions at annual conferences. In Atlanta this year, the TIG will visit the Georgia Justice Project: http://www.gjp.org/. Participants will have a chance to interact with project staff and members and learn about their evaluation questions, challenges, successes, and needs. Other AEA members are highlighting small, local nonprofits in workshop sessions as case examples so that AEA members can provide insights and suggestions that might otherwise be inaccessible.
Lessons to Be Learned:
We expect there are many other examples of how AEA members are working together to contribute to organizations and issues outside of our clients, colleagues or institutions. This session will be a great way to hear all about those ideas and come up with others.
As you pack your bags for your trip to the city that was key to the civil rights movement, come with ideas of what we, as a membership, can do to collectively to advance positive social change.
Oh – and remember to come with a warm smile and an empty stomach!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.