Hello! My name is Rhonda Williams, and I am the Director of Impact & Evaluation for Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas in Dallas. In this role, I lead a small team working across the organization, focusing on the impact and evaluation of many programs and various strategic initiatives. The nature of evaluation requires teams that have different skills, functionalities, and strengths. There are many required tasks that more than one individual can accomplish. Collaboration with others is critical to developing stories you will share with stakeholders!
Collaboration is a personal and professional skill set that you must continuously improve as you grow as an evaluator. The excellent teams I have participated in have allowed each team member to ask questions and understand and examine rationales for choices made on the project. A mark of true collaboration that extends beyond email communication is when you can access others by having quick chats when critical information or clarification is needed. Being an excellent collaborator within teams allows you to learn more about each other’s preferences and approaches; this allows the team to become strategic in our decision-making and, ultimately, our storytelling.
Hot Tip: Reach out to peers
My local area has an emerging group of evaluators, primarily in education, who meet each month; I have met many involved in similar work to mine in other organizations. As a result, I can now contact others to collaborate via email or phone or even schedule coffee dates to learn from others. Also, I can reach out to others nationwide whom I have met through AEA to collaborate. These connections offer suggestions and examples of how they use storytelling within their organizations.
Storytelling in evaluation can take on many forms, and there are many ways to present and visually represent stories. However, your efforts to discuss ideas and make decisions without collaboration will severely limit the evaluation project. Utilizing your peers in your area and others across the nation provides opportunities to collaborate that will support storytelling within your evaluation projects.
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