YEE Week: The Wisdom of Emerging Evaluators for the Emerging 2022 Journey by Beverly Parsons

Welcome to 2022!! I’m Beverly Parsons, former AEA president, co-editor and co-author of Visionary Evaluation for a Sustainable, Equitable Future, and executive director of InSites.

On this first day of 2022, let’s draw on the wisdom of the YEEs (young and emerging evaluators) featured in this week’s AEA365 blogs and the related Presidential Strand of Eval2021.

Lessons for Veteran Evaluators

1.    Model the thinking and actions of YEEs. Note that I did not say “model thinking and actions for YEEs.” They are the models; we veteran evaluators are the followers. Follow their focus on the ethos of compassion, peace, healing, partnership, standing firm, recognizing intersectionalities, never becoming numb to suffering, soliciting different perspectives, and embracing diversity. (Compiled from this week’s seven YEEs).

Elizabeth Taylor-Schiro/Bildabinikwe challenged us to wrestle with our own privileges and contributions to “the strengthening of unequal power structures, systems of marginalization and harm, and colonized worldviews that perpetuate the erasure of people, of histories, of voices.” At Eval21, she said: “A radical global systems transformation … requires a radical reckoning within ourselves.” Taruna Gupta emphasized learning acceptance.

At Eval21, Jaideep Visave stated “We (as humans) are exploiting our planet to its very limits and leaving nothing for the next generations. Reversing the trend is a task for all of us…” In his blog post, Jaideep challenged us to eat sustainability and reduce our waste.

2.    Support and follow YEEs who are stepping forward. In his blog, Michael Ojo talked about a manager who backed him up when he stood firm in the face of a challenge to his report. “These political agendas mostly manifest themselves in the form of cherry-picking findings and a strong reluctance to engage with evidence because it did not align with preconceived assumptions. …but I had to stand firm— thanks to the support from my manager.”

At Eval21, JR Moller described being faced with an attempted theft on a NYC subway train. JR said: “It just takes one to stand up and say what’s right, to do what’s right, in order for others to follow along and do the same.”

3.    Find your place of renewal, healing, and reckoning. Adding to the above statements about radical reckoning and reversing exploitation, Phung Pham and Ann Marie Castleman reminded us to “…hold fast to an ethos that harmoniously brings out the best in ourselves and others.” All in all, as I listen to the YEEs, I sense that they are tapping into ancient wisdom that is expressed in nature’s complex sustainability.

I live in the Pacific NW of the US on the ancestral lands of the Coast Salish Peoples. The original forests of this area were some of the largest in the world. They were alive with diverse vegetation and animal life. The cycle of life working together as a complex system—not the cycle of markets—was supported. Such forests anchor and stabilize the soil so that heavy rains are absorbed. They protect the topsoil developing over thousands of years. Their canopies capture the fog from the Pacific Ocean and bring water to the streams. They sequester massive amounts of carbon. In their presence we sense the meaning and complexity of living systems.

Find a place in nature for your renewal, healing, and reckoning. The journey is long. The loving arms of Mother Earth are here to surround you on your journey.

Rad Resources:

Other guides for this journey are: Jeremy Lent, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Riane Eisler, and Fritjof Capra. Spend some time reflecting on their mind-expanding views of our relationship to all of life on this incredible evolving planet.

The American Evaluation Association is hosting the Young and Emerging Evaluators (YEE) Week. The contributions all week come from YEE 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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